£64.30 a week to live off. Or £278.63 a month. And you don’t pay any tax on your take home pay at the end of the month. Now most of us would rather not attempt to live off that amount of money a week, especially if you live in London. Yet those without a job and family have to. That’s a single person’s allowance a week or month if they are job seeking. An indebted Daily Mail journalist attempted to do this recently. She’s in debt to the tune of £150 000, and managed to spend £330 per week when attempting to spend £64.30. (I think this gives an insight into why she’s in that much debt).
The article raises the question as to whether you can live off that small amount. Ultimately the question would be: is it difficult to go without? Do you have the self control to limit your spending? Using DirectGov to input a fictitious 25 year old who lived alone it’s fairly easy to find out that living on benefits should be pretty straight forward when ‘all’ entitled benefits are taken into account. Presuming they live on their own, in an average single bed flat, in an average Band D property, in an average part of the world (rent £400 per month, council tax c.£1200 per year) the results are surprising. On top of the Jobseeker’s allowance, there is housing benefit of £92.06 and council tax benefit of £23.02 per week. A total of £179.38 per week.
So you don’t have to worry about who’s paying your council tax and rent? Fuel and food are the next essentials. Life in a single bed flat or studio shouldn’t consume much of either of those and it’s quite feasible to eek out a sustainable life on the remainder. You could even stretch to purchasing the internet/phone for £6.73 a week and a TV Licence costs £2.74 a week. You may have to kiss your rollies and beer goodbye, but you can live quite easily without them.
So to those who say it’s not enough. Oh it is. It’s more than enough.