Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/752/16137

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2013

Low pay + high prices = debt misery

Carole Wood

I volunteer for an advice agency and deal with some people's debt problems. Clients from all walks of life come in because they're worried and need the free help and advice we can offer.

Despite what the government and the media claim; most clients don't get into debt because of frivolous spending.

Anyway, what is 'essential' expenditure and what could be termed luxuries? People all have different needs, priorities and problems to deal with.

In the Tories' eyes the working class gets itself into debt by overspending, sitting around at home all day, or being "feckless". The reality is very different.

A lot of debt arises from sudden changes in circumstances such as job loss, relationship breakdown, death of a partner or the onset of illness.

Look how quickly 1,300 Jessops workers lost their jobs. An announcement on the news about administration was followed two days later by mass redundancy.

I have seen people working two or three jobs trying to stay afloat. This lifestyle isn't sustainable and sooner or later they fall prey to exhaustion or family practicalities.

I did it myself; I worked full time in an office, together with an early morning cleaning job and weekend factory work.

In the end I gave up the factory work as I had no life and was physically drained. I now have a young child, so even if I could sustain three jobs I would struggle with childcare.

I regularly see fuel debt. Utility firms keep increasing prices despite massive profits (in August 2012 Eon announced half year profits of 245 million), leading to fuel debt for both working and non-working people.

Fuel arrears are termed priority debt, ie these creditors must be paid first. So if someone has numerous debts, often including at least one payday lender, they need to concentrate on paying off their gas and electricity arrears.

Unfortunately what often happens is a payday lender such as Wonga exerts huge pressure on the client to clear their balance, and they end up paying them first.

It is worse when clients have rent or mortgage arrears. With payday lenders hassling them up to 15 times a day by phone, text or email, clients naturally want to get these companies off their backs.

Rent and mortgage arrears are also 'priority debts', and non-payment can have serious consequences.

Anyone falling behind with these payments should talk to their landlord or mortgage company urgently, or risk losing their home.

A repayment plan can be negotiated, and payday lenders have to wait until the client's priority debts are cleared.

The media never mention the physical and emotional effects of debt. I have seen clients suffering from malnutrition after living on diets of pasta, rice and little else, in an effort to clear their payday loans.

They want to pay their creditors but their income level does not let them pay the amounts demanded. And with payday lenders charging up to 4,000% interest, a small unpaid loan can quickly spiral out of control. One of our client's 200 payday loans soon turned into a 1,500 debt.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 13 February 2013:


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

'Save our A&E' - Defend the NHS

Mid Staffs hospital scandal: Big business culture kills


Socialist Party news and analysis

GCSE U-turn shows all Gove's 'reforms' can be stopped

Smash the blacklist - not the unions!

Victory over 'workfare' sanctions

Horsemeat scandal: good for profit, bad for health

"Fully funded" social care plan - still needed

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

15 February 2003: A million on the streets to stop the war


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning against cuts

TUSC: 'No cuts' candidate in Eastleigh

Nottingham: Campaigning for comedy without misogyny

Support the fight for a socialist alternative

Socialist Party 2013 national youth and student meeting


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison region calls for general strike

Care workers fight cuts in pay and conditions

Workplace In Brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Martial law ends ferry workers' strike


Reviews and readers' comments

Low pay + high prices = debt misery

Film review: 'No' - an exercise in rewriting Chile's history

Spielberg's Lincoln by Tony Mulhearn


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 February 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Debt:

triangleMass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

triangleTheresa May admits tuition fees system is broken - but plans new attacks on students

triangleWhat lies behind the US-China trade war?

triangleCuts drive council tax debt

triangleTop unis threaten cuts if tuition fees

Pay:

trianglePay Deal: ACAS sides with management

triangleThe Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019

triangleNorthern Ireland: Health workers take action over understaffing and pay equality

trianglePCS union general secretary election

Low pay:

triangleCleaners strike over low pay at Haringey secondary school

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Low pay and the winter strike wave

triangleLondon - 'autumn of discontent'

Jobs:

triangleTata announces 1,000 job cuts - Steel unions must fight for every job!

triangleFighting for free education, jobs, homes, and a future worth living

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

4/12/19

Socialist Party

The Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019

27/11/19

Plymouth

Plymouth Blairites side with anti-tenant landlords

27/11/19

Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate

27/11/19

BT

The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

20/11/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

13/11/19

Theatre

Theatre: On Bear Ridge - an examination of loss, set in a post-apocalyptic world

13/11/19

Social Media

Readers' opinion: Twitter's banning of political ads threatens workers' voice

6/11/19

Minimum wage

Minimum wage debate: what should we be demanding?

6/11/19

TV

TV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism

30/10/19

Letters

The Socialist inbox

30/10/19

TV

TV: The Accident - Will capitalism be exposed in upsetting, true-to-life drama?

30/10/19

Film

Film reviews: Sorry We Missed You by Ken Loach

30/10/19

Economy

Life in the gig economy

30/10/19

Councillors

Opinion: Labour Party is structured to block left councillors

24/10/19

Liverpool

Tony Mulhearn - a Eulogy

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999