ColetteB….

not exactly work in progress…

On my soapbox (again) – with a Ten Bob note

6 Comments

What’s fifty-pence worth these days? Is it as good as ‘a ten-bob-note’? (UK currency)

In ‘old money’ in England, ‘ten bob’ is fifty pence. I’m not sure there was ever a ‘ten bob note’, perhaps in the days of crowns and sixpences and farthings etc. My good father’s use of the term ‘a ten bob note’ was often used humorously during my childhood, perhaps with potential underlying meanings I could never fully understand at that time.

I was born just before the imperial system was replaced by metric denominations of currency and measure. At school we had to learn, apply and be able to convert to and from both systems in our maths lessons – I still prefer the imperial system of measure but tend to interchange and use both. 

A sample fifty-pence option shopping list

  • at least one or two bananas most places
  • one apple if you’re lucky, but unlikely in many shops, depending on variety of apple
  • the cheapest loaf of bread in a supermarket but usually nowhere else
  • not even a postage stamp!
  • maybe not even a single disposable pen! perhaps a cheap HB pencil
  • not even one single packet of potato crisps!
  • a 500ml bottle of water some places, but not most
  • one long ice pop (frozen chemical flavoured coloured frozen liquid in a plastic tube)
  • not a packet of chewing gum
  • one of the cheapest packet of biscuits in a supermarket
  • two tins of cheapest baked beans in a supermarket, but not even one in most small shops
  • not even the smallest portion of chips (fries) in any take-away
  • the very cheapest jar of coffee in a supermarket, but not even a quarter of a cup in most cafes
  • a cup of tea and two slices of toast in a church charity subsidised community cafe
  • a very small child size chocolate or sweets (candy), but not most small packets of sweets in most shops
  • a box of economy cornflakes in a supermarket but nowhere else
  • not a pint of milk most places
  • one packet of cigarette papers most shops, two packets if you’re lucky
  • a small box of matches?
  • maybe one rubbish toilet tissue roll
  • maybe a small amount of fresh loose vegetables such as: two carrots, OR two medium onions, OR one garlic bulb, OR one medium baking potato, OR 6 to 8 brussel sprouts, OR half a small cabbage, etc.
  • no type of over-the-counter medicine most places
short answer, not much…

and nothing for a penny or tuppence, nor a shilling (5p), maybe one bubble gum for 10p (2bob), perhaps a small lollipop…

What else might ‘a ten-bob-note’ (fifty pence) pay for?

  • it doesn’t cover the running cost of my fridge freezer for a day, but it might for a modern one
  • it didn’t pay for 1kW/hr of mains gas at last check of unit prices
  • it covers one day of standing charge cost on either pre-payment meter for mains electricity or mains gas
  • not enough for the charge for one day’s supply of water direct to the tap ( includes sewage drainage etc)
  • only just enough for one hour of heat using an electric fan heater in one room
  • two showers, only in summer when no room heating is needed to use a shower
  • it’s not enough for a phone call from a public payphone
  • not quite half of what is needed to travel on a bus to the next bus stop (maybe only 200m) 

Multiply that ‘ten bob’ by eighty four and that’s the amount UK law states is the amount a person being ‘sanctioned’* needs to survive. That amount in many cases is not being paid to those needy people entitled to at least this much State asistance while by one use of legal rule or another claimant’s are entirely deprived of the means to live and left with no income.

*sanctions under the 2012
Welfare Reform Act = claimants demonised and persecuted for for failing to meet claimant conditionality for Jobseekers Allowance, JA. This is often achieved by employees of the State using dirty cheap tricks, hitting soft targets, vulnerable people with no or little way to meet unreasonable conditions imposed upon them.

UK citizens are dying of health-related issues and suicide as a result of this inhumane legislation. Some of those people are sick and disabled, but denied their due legal status. Many become sick or disabled as a result of such short-sighted abuses of power and budget controls.

The UK cannot claim to be a ‘developed society’ nor is this ‘civilisation’ while such inhumanity persists. The UK has no rightful place among world leaders claiming democratic status and adherence to fairness and justice. 

Of course, many people of the world survive with not enough food, lack of clean, safe water and no sanitation. These people probably work for their survival. There are many places in the world where state welfare assistance does not exist at all. We are not very far behind them. Opportunities for work and shelter as may occur in developing countries do not exist in the UK. Such types of living and work/livelihood are illegal.

I realise that from the examples shown in my lists, it may appear that £42 is enough for most people to survive for a week. It might be considered that a person at such level of destitution deserves to lose their home and thus have no overheads of domestic service charges of water, electricity, council tax. However (a) that minimal amount is often not provided to people in extreme hardship with no other income or savings. (b) Small shops often don’t have economical food or water to buy and eat and might not sell fruit or vegetables that could be eaten raw (if no means to cook). (c) People deprived of the means to live may be so ill that they have no way of reaching markets, supermarkets, etc for economical shopping or food banks or other services for charitable assistance. (d) Church and community cafe facilities providing such a low-cost breakfast as 50p might provide are rarely available.(e) Food bank referrals are often reserved for those with children and do not exist widely enough that all have access. (f) Hardship provision from Local Authorities (councils) is only available to persons with a current open claim, not those denied a claim. Also those funds from local governement are not being spent on the designated use are used for other local budget shortfalls, as their is no legal duty to ring-fence those funds for individual hardship provision. (When well enough I might cite sources for reference).

NB: I am not currently of the category of welfare claimant described above. I am one of thousands of clamants entitled to disability support while medically unfi t for work. Under legal rules for my type of claim I may legally be left with no income for six months at a time while too ill to manage bureaucratic demands. Such deprivation is often dished out as winter approaches, increasing hardship and further ill health and disability. Court judge’s decide that if you appear at the court to defend your case you are able to work thirty five hours in types of employment that do not exist while not well enough to repeatedly and reliably turn up even two days a week and unlikely to last a full day. I am not alone in this experience, there are tens of thousands of us, not all able to claim alternative help and not all with borrowing capability or savings to fall back on. For claimants to be decided as disabled and unfit for work by an ignorant middle-class magistrate (as most seem to be) the claimant is expected to have legal welfare representation that also does not exist in reality for demand not meeting service availability. I am perhaps at continuing risk for persistence in daring to convey such opinion. NB: I write these things not for myself, there are so many more in such greater need.

The Writing101 day 2 task focusses on making lists – not ways of usings lists for purpose, which of course there are many. I started the day’s writing in ‘adverse to lists’ mode. As the day has progressed, I have more ways of making and using lists than I can probably work with today, but am likely to perhaps scatter my list posts around my blogging rooms throughout the day and who knows what might become of them next.

Throughout my writing101 course participation, anything I write on any of my blogs in response to assignment brief’s are being listed on my page index at this site. Word counts and summary of post-type is provided for additional reader selection or rejection. If as a reader you are confused by my use of different blogs, please try and see them as different rooms in my blogging home, each decoratedly differently and of different size and purpose. Hope that helps 🙂 I write for myself primarily and do not expect you to read everything, if anything at all. 😀

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Author: Colette B

Amateur creative (artist, writer) ...

6 thoughts on “On my soapbox (again) – with a Ten Bob note

  1. Ten bob notes were in circulation into the 1960’s, but who cares right now. I have something more important to say. I feel a bit overwhelmed, so I hope i get it right.
    Thank you. Thank you for this brave and truthful post. I know – you probably don’t think it’s brave, but there are a lot of people out there who voted Tory. A lot of people who think that those on benefits should be drowned, that ‘they could get a job if they wanted to’, that they’re ‘ripping off the honest worker’, that most people on ESA are conning the government, blah blah blah.
    About 18 months ago I found a list online, of the people who WERE KNOWN to have died from terminal illness soon after being refused ESA, or committed suicide as a direct result of being refused ESA. Since then, (although when I applied for ESA I was asked if I was terminally ill and whether I had been told I had less than 6 months to live – I’m not) the situation seems to have become worse.
    And as for sanctioning people on Jobseekers, many of whom are not fit for work, and others who know they’re not going to find work anyway, it makes me furious. It’s all just a cruel game, and I think that those responsible should be imprisoned for manslaughter at the very least.
    Now I think I should stop telling you things you already know.
    I write about addiction, and when it gets too much for me I write about pretty flowers and soppy love. Sometimes I write about me, and sometimes I just shove in some daft humour for the hell of it.
    I won’t feel so guilty about not dealing with this subject in detail (and a few other nasties that are going on in this country) now that I know someone who does.
    It’s a great, GREAT post. I didn’t expect anything like this on this course.

    Like

    • That means a tremendous amount coming from such a talented writer as yourself Jane. I always worry about venting such things but also believe very firmly that these things so desperately need saying. While I can’t get out and get protesting etc it’s very small something I can do sometimes. I think I had in mind the global suicide awareness day on 10th, in part. I reblogged a post about it on The Wishing Well. I also distract or destress with more pleasant topics once the biting issue churning me up is aired. 🙂 Thank you so very, very much for your thoughtful comments and openness and honesty. I’m actually amazed anyone would read it so thoroughly, so thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to visit the different blog ‘room’s, and gain a perspective on a place quite different from where I live. Thank you for sharing these rooms.

    Liked by 1 person

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