Here in the UK we are seeing a surge in families living below the breadline. These families struggle to keep a roof above their heads, the heating on and food on the table. They quite often have to choose between 'heat' or 'eat', and so are highly likely to come to use a foodbank to supply enough essential foodstuffs to feed them for a week.
The big question is "who is to blame for the huge rise in poverty ?".
You could blame the Eastern Europeans for coming over here and taking our jobs and forcing our wages down, but I won't. Why not ?, well, because for years British workers have taken high-paid jobs abroad that the locals could have filled. Now, as we are part of the EU, citizens from other member states less well-off than us can freely come and work here.
We might moan about the pittance of the NMW, but to them it could be twice what they would earn back home. You can't blame them for going where the money is.
What about the Chinese ?. Yes, they take a lot of work from us as they are cheaper. However, they now have the situation over there that there are now more jobs than people to fill them with the end result that wages are increasing by huge amounts and as a result, the Chinese are no longer as competitive as they once were.
What about the Banks ?. After all, did they not become reckless with their lending ?. Or how about the ConDem alliance and their austerity measures forcing loads of people onto the dole and into low-paid jobs topped-up with Working Tax Credit, or the previous Labour Govt. who failed to regulate the Banks, or should we go right back the the Tory Govt of the 80/90's who thought nothing of selling-off the family silver ?.
The truth is, we are to blame. We are all to blame for the mess we are now in, not the Govt., or the Banks, or even the EU, but US.
Up until the 1980's, credit was not easy to get, so if you wanted a large item such as a car or an extension, then you either had to save for it or hope the Bank would lend you the money. When my parents bought their house in the 1960's they could not get a mortgage from their Building Society as the Building Society had strict limits on how much of it's money it would lend-out. My parents had to go elsewhere to get a mortgage. Fast forward 20 years and the situation started to change as those on higher incomes found it easier to obtain lines of credit such as mortgages, loans and credit cards..
By the time I went for a mortgage in 1991, credit was very easy to obtain. With interest rates at 15%, My Building Society were more than happy to lend me 3.5 times my annual income without me having to do any more than show them my last 12 payslips.
With Banks & Building Societies happily handing-out loans like sweets & credit cards becoming commonplace, it was no wonder people started living beyond their means. After all, who would be prepared to let the little inconvenience of not having enough ready cash stop them from enjoying life's little luxuries when they could use their 'flexible friend' and pay-off the balance over the next year or so. Trouble is, as the balance was reduced, the card providers would up the limit, so encouraging yet more to be spent. With sky-high interest rates which only ever went up, the punter was on a slippery slope of being forever in debt. The credit providers were more than happy about this as it generated a huge income for them.
The big question is "Has anyone learnt from this ?". The answer it seams, is "no", with people now being screwed by payday loansharks such as Wonga, Chequecentre & quickquid to name but a few. There is a way out of the debt-mess. In fact, there are several. Ranging from 'Stoozing' (moving credit card debt onto cards with lower rates, fixed rates or 0% for a set term deals), debt consolidation loans, IVAs, DROs & even bankruptcy (an absolute last resort for when all else fails). The secret to success in coquering the debt mountain however, is 'discipline'.
Do you really need to replace your car/kitchen/TV ?.
Do you really need to have the latest games console, smartphone or kitchen gadgets ?.
I bet you don't, but then I'm not there to tell you that. YOU need to convince yourself.
Create a savings pot. Somewhere to put your loose change, or a separate Bank/Building Society account that you can add funds to for a rainy day. That way, if you have a large bill to pay, you should have the cash to pay for it. The people of the UK are responsible for their financial mess and only they can get themselves out of it.
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