It was brought to my attention via a really helpful facebook group I belong to, that last week's budget is going to make things a LOT harder for a lot of people.
We worked our socks off few years ago to get ourselves into the position where by the skin of our teeth, we don't receive any 'help' from the government at all. While I am proud of us for achieving that, it certainly does hurt, as the minute you are free and clear, you are also one of the seemingly vanishingly small number of people who actually pays for your prescriptions and dental check ups.
This seems to shock and fascinate the reception staff. I don't know if it's because almost no-one pays, or because I look destitute.
This means we won't be hit by the introduction of UC, despite being self employed.
I don't have a problem with those who need it receiving in work benefits,or the fact that from my barely above the line income, I must pay for them to have them. I do have a problem with people abusing the system by ploughing the gains from the sale of large tracts of land, inheritances, and other big chunks of cash into 'businesses' as 'investement' and then throwing their hands up in sorrow at their low income the next year, and living on tax credits which I have to fund.
So if the new system stops them, then hurrah. I do however feel for those at the lower end of the spectrum who get by on low earnings from self employment for years as they build, and will now find they get no help from tax credits.
Overall though, I do think things will get worse before they get better.
Neil currently works all the hours there are, and H is now working with him for a year, before going off to Uni. I work part time (2 days a week) as an administrator in a Christian Care Home, and struggle to be honest to keep all the farm work up together.
The biggest millstone round our necks is a huge-ish loan taken out to keep HMRC quiet when they made a monumental you know what of our taxes, and then demanded we pay for their mistake without delay.
We've often said we need me to give up working off farm. We really do. Someone should be holding all this together, but we never get to a financial place where I can jump. I'm wondering if really, I ought to go back to my phone work, and actually work more off farm, for a season, to help clear this loan, so that then I can work totally on the farm. Short term sacrifice for long term gain.
The problem is, being indoors too much makes me ill. It just does. I know it's weird, but there you have it.
Meanwhile, today, the adding up of little things will hopefully help us to stay in budget.
I spent a punishing hour in the polytunnel tending to tomatoes, and then managed to get stung, by a wasp I imagine or a horsefly. I go very funny indeed when stung, so had to locate an antihistamine. Unfortunately, I go quite funny when I take antihistamines. So the afternoon wasn't best productive.
This evening though after watering, I made more bread, which not only provides bread, but stops interim trips to supermarkets, and I made raspberry jam (one pot at a time as I pick them) and finished, but for the hem, a skirt I'm making out of an old length of lightweight denim.
Little things add up. Lets hope they add up to enough.
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