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UK: Squeezed Britain
  • Focus is on one group that has been particularly hit - those in work but below middle income. With an average household income of only £20,500 after tax, theirs is a daily struggle to keep up with the rising costs of essentials and to meet goals such as saving or buying a home.






















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  • 30 Replies sorted by
  • I've had no financial troubles but then I don't smoke,drink or feel the need to own a car or buy the latest iPhone. Wont do credit cards either...if you got into debt its your own damn fault I say. Its funny what people think is "required" in a household. Apparently if you have less than £12 spare to spend a day (after utility bills,food and fags) you're considered in poverty. If you don't have at least one holiday away from home a year its considered poverty. No joke.

    Christ when I was a kid I was lucky to even get a holiday in 5 years. We've brought up a spoiled will they cope with the downturn?

    Brits have enjoyed and squandered the luxury now face the consequences.

  • Christ when I was a kid I was lucky to even get a holiday in 5 years.

    This is really bad. Work harder, harder and harder, it is not really a solution. Solution is to find proper balance.

    If you carefully look at all report and think you'll find that it is not this people we must blame.

  • @Mimirsan....I smell a Daily Mail reading Tory!

    This all started with the deregulation of the banking sector. Blame Maggie.

  • I think this is a problem throughout Western civilization. Funny, yet scary, is that no one forced into anything. In theory, everyone has free will, but since the only honest, the possibility of achieving a status of the material is a credit (for most ordinary people) sooner or later, their property will belong to a small group of people. What does this mean? Since, we have increasingly less influence on the rulers what they do and what we have does not belong to us I think it is a modern feudalism. Western world is slowly transformed into one described by George Orwell in "1984". I recently read a fantastic statement of Miss Piggy: "Pigs do not have voting rights, but may compete in the elections"

  • Indeed austerity isn't the answer. If you work hard for a living, you need leisure time. Far too easy to blame people for squandering their money on holidays and getting into debt.

    The answer to a poor economy is for people to have a more satisfying and productive lifestyle that doesn't involve MONEY and spending it, but rather creating it.

    Because people are stuck in shitty office jobs, they come home tired and sit in front of the TV. There is too much of that in Britain. The government needs to encourage people to set up their own businesses and make it easier to have lifestyle of creator rather than of a consumer.

    We have become a nation of bored consumers.

  • @itimjin Thats insulting! Im not tory matey...Im more of a anarchist if anything! ;-)

    @vitaliy Wasnt just because we had to work just that we could not afford it. :-)

    My point is my family (like many others) worked hard to get by in the 80s yet we still could not afford a holiday....wasnt a big deal. Many brits cant even survive without a holiday per year these days.

    I was brought up on if you didnt have the money you dont have it to spend. Too many just spend and dont have to money to but dumping it on the credit card is okay. Food on the table and roof over your head are main priorities.

    Eoshd "Because people are stuck in shitty office jobs, they come home tired and sit in front of the TV. There is too much of that in Britain."

    Too true our dear government likes it that way ;-)

  • @Mimirsan they need holidays because their regular everyday existence is so utterly boring and shit.

    In the 80's we still had pubs, communities and neighbours... Remember them!?

    Nearly all consumer spending is because of various social reasons, both in terms of happiness and standing.

    People buy because they are miserable. Nobody needs 5 holidays a year if they are enjoying daily work and life back home.

  • @Mimirsan

    System changed.

    If you remove goverment benefits and bank stumulus system will collapse.

    Just look at the charts.

    Right now goverments have three targets.

    Get free resources, in fact restoring colonies. Same things will be used to distract people. And you need to distract people if you plan to remove most social benefits made in 20th century. Removing benefits is necessary as they want to make global corporations and banks empire. Much more efficient, one that replaces it's parts instantly. Do not work for specified salary, have problems, boom, you are moved to less developed parts of the empire and will be happy to work just for food. And people who want to risk their lifes in persuite of better life of their childrens will be used hard, much harder than today.

  • @Eoshd Agree totally but in the 80s peoples regular existence was boring and shit also but the difference is that we have become consumer slaves and think we cant exist without it...and younger generations have become more reliant in it (The shit you own ends up owning you...fight club has a point!).

    In 70/80s we didn't have such "luxuries" as buying property or 3 cars per family but we got by ;-) And true communities and neighbours were stronger back then...bugger me we only had little wire fences between our gardens and watched out for each other now we have fortresses and don't even know each others names!

    I could go on but its going off topic. I say either adapt with the times or you don't. We have had a good run but made a wasted opportunity of it so time to face the music. Simple as really.

  • I hate nostalgia, I hate it desperately. I long for the days when nobody was nostalgic.

  • @Duncanario Germany, the year 1933, nobody was nostalgic. :-)

  • How to get UK back on track.... Invest in robot technology and 3D printers. The ability to manufacture stuff without a factory full of slave labour is the next step forward for capitalism.

    However it does raise the question of what to do with jobs. Already in UK, one of main first jobs for young people (service till at supermarket) is obsolete because of self service machines.

    The need to have a talent that premium market can utilise has never been greater - otherwise face being enslaved or unemployed.

  • Invest in robot technology and 3D printers

    Won't work. 3D printers are extremely inefficient at any significant scale. And good sturdy ones cost a fortune. For a reason.

    Same with robotics. Manufacturing robots had been made for years and are efficient for many tasks. Man like creatures that could work ala humans won't happen in near future.

    Generally, problems of current system are exactly reverse. System tries to invent unnecessary jobs and keep high work hours count. If not the big military forces system had been destroyed already due to inability to hold enough energy and other resources.

    Yep. Energy and other resources, as well as technologies are real cause of prosperity and efficiency rise. So, moving factories to China had been not bad move, as it solved many problems. They found new people who'll be responsible for getting resources (and you'll control money and goods flow, this is much more easy), they also provided technologies, so existing resources can be used efficiently with large rising nations.

  • Energy costs are rising, and the European Union governments not doing anything to improve this condition. On the contrary, increase excise taxes on fuel because in this way they can squeeze out of the taxpayers more money. The success of the European Union, in the last century, we owe thanks to low cost energy. I know that I will repeat, but the World West lacks the guiding ideas. This idea could be the conquest of space. We need to invent new technologies, even those that now seem as if they were in the field of SF. This is a sensible future, but this system can only see a real gain, calculated over several years rather than tens. Apparently the sky is the limit, but in light of the political systems that limit reaches only a few hundred meters.

  • This idea could be the conquest of space

    Same problem. Efficiency of any serious project is in big question. And under serious I mean Moon or Mars.

  • Consumerism is the UK is the steady process of giving away our wealth to China. In 20 years the UK will be a poor nation with as much significance in the world as Malta, and China a super power. Because we used to be a well educated country, we could design and export, we could provide services and build meaningful companies. Our computer industry eventually let the US soundly beat it in almost every area apart from ARM's mobile chips, but we had a good run at it (BBC Micro, Acorn, Amstrad, etc.)

    The education system in the UK is now failing, and economic cuts will make it even worse. Whilst our military and technology sectors stagnate, China's are growing. Kids in Asia take education more seriously because knowledge is directly linked to social standing. In the UK something odd happened with popular culture and now knowledge is linked to nerds, whilst lack of knowledge is linked to a higher social class - celebrities.

    On a train going from a small town in Japan I noticed school kids reading text books on the way home. This would never happen in the UK, not since the 50's has such a studious attitude been common in the UK.

    I feel that the last 3 generations are mesmerised by consumer goods, warm sofas, television and comfortable office jobs.

    We have not yet found a way to break out of that lifestyle, which ultimately leads nowhere.

    I became a filmmaker to avoid the office lifestyle and I tried to break out of 'the system', it was a high risk 'all or nothing' approach and I am glad I did so, rather than do what so many people do - steady job, family, house, then death - not just of the individual but of a nation.

  • I think a real challenge is finding a better solution instead of finger pointings. But who defines "better"? Who implements and executes a grand new plan?

    I doubt the technology will save us from this mess. Maybe it's not coincident that sh!t began hitting the fan on the verge of more radical scientific and technological breakthroughs at unprecedented acceleration. Sorta destructive creation?

  • "Who implements and executes the new plan?"

    This is another problem in the west. Should a government bring about grand changes, they only have 4 years and if it isn't deemed popular, they get thrown on the scrap.

    Long term change is almost impossible to do, and so yet again, the nation stagnates and flip flops between two politically convenient extremes.

  • Then a long term strongman dictatorship?

  • Some of us miss the good old days. I'm sure some of us, possibly all of us, might miss today.

  • Yes. I dictatorship gets things done.

    If the dictatorship is intelligent and has good aims, it is always far more preferable to a democratically elected bureaucrat.

  • I love my 3 yo son singing,

    Today is my favorite day God made it in a special way I like tomorrow and yesterday But today is my favorite day

    Tomorrow is surely gonna be worse than today. So why not enjoy today? :)

  • Did anyone see the documentary "Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story" very intresting insight into a possible solution, if I remember rightly.. by reducing public sector spending which would allow invstment in business and using flat taxes, in much the same way that Japan has to boost spending. Ecconomics was never my strong point but it did sound interesting.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Same problem. Efficiency of any serious project is in big question. And under serious I mean Moon or Mars.

    Of course I agree with you. But is it in human nature is not overcome problems? The conquest of space is an idea, the same as the ability to start a fire by early man. If we learn to live beyond Earth we can create a better political systems than those which we know from Earth. We have to start with small steps, such as: elevator space, orbital power station.... Is economic efficiency is to send telescopes into orbit? From the perspective of the average person probably will not, but whether from the perspective of such a thinker as you are? Vitaliy, I am a utopian, I dream of a better world and I think that as long as thehuman will be subject to forces such as other animals, as long as we stuck in this shit. This is my "religion".

  • @Mihuel

    Great post. This sums up, for me, why imagination is important. Not just knowledge, expertise, logic and systems.