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"Government says: Don't expect to pay your bills!"

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Thu 19/06/08 at 11:40
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
So the Government have suggested that you shouldn't be allowed to afford your bills. Well, ok, they didn't say that exactly, but the Bank of England and the Government have both suggested that wages should not go up in line with the price hike in cost of living.

Most of this rise in the cost of living is down to the rising cost of utility payments (Gas, Electricity, water etc) and the price of raw materials pushing the cost of food up. And yet the politicians, those people who get paid a ton of money and extra perks, suggest that wages should not go up by as much to allow people to afford these things.

The main reason for this seemingly strange outburst seems to be that the people in charge of the economy don't want to push costs up even more and drive inflation by increasing salaries. However, it isn't a direct correlation and one doesn't automatically affect the other without a fair amount of other factors being involved. As you would expect, unions are already raising pitchforks in anger, and fair enough really.

It seems that the current government either can't see far enough into the future, or they're determined for no-one on a modest or less income to be in a mortgaged house, perhaps they have shares in council houses?

So what do you think of the government and Bank of England advice to employers? Does it make sense to you or does it sound like the Government are panicking, as well as trying to get out of doing anything about it themselves?
Sun 10/08/08 at 19:22
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,536
Living in today's society is a minefield - best ignored.

Politicians should look at their own 'incoming' and 'life style' before they dictate what the 'nation' should or can afford.
Unfortunately I've earned a 'dictated' wage for the last 40 years of my life. I've not liked it, but I've still produced work far in excess of the wage received.

I've moaned, I've struggled but my wife and I have had holidays, the kids have had everything they needed and wanted, and both are now in employment and earning for themselves - they're your age.

No matter what is 'stated' within or by the national media, most people ignore it and get on with their lives in their own way - make do and mend - and funnily enough, quite enjoy life:)

This type of 'discussion' has run since the Ark. It will never be solved, but it just keeps coming around every time there is a perceived 'crisis'.

I read recently about two couples - one now living in a car and the other living in a shed - as a direct result of the present 'finacial climate'!

Get real, read further and they had no need to end up like that. Their 'lifestyle' was on a 'rollercoaster' before the present financial 'crisis' occurred - they were in debit up to their neck and now that the bubble has burst they are trying to shift the blame away from themselves, but yet again, aided and abetted by the national media - and getting paid handsomely for it aswell.
Sun 10/08/08 at 17:58
Regular
"Long time no see!"
Posts: 8,351
I agree with some of pb's points. I don't know what the solution is, but the government have to be seen to be doing something positive. There's too much negativity in the media and all around us, it's hard to avoid and it's not helping the nation.
Fri 20/06/08 at 20:26
Regular
"Brooklyn boy"
Posts: 14,935
As long as the pound doesn't suddenly plummet any further against the Chinese yuan in the next two months before i emigrate out there then it's all fine to me :-)
Fri 20/06/08 at 09:01
Regular
Posts: 14,117
Garin wrote:
> I'd actually argue that people need messages like this whether
> they are employers or not. Part of what is fuelling our current
> economic problems is irresponsible consumer spending.


Maybe irresponsible lending? I've had two letters from Balrcyas in the last couple of weeks saying that there is a pre-approved loan waiting for me to take. I believe each one was for around £25,000.

I put those letters in the shredder, becuase I'm not stupid*. Other people might think "Cor, that's a good idea, I'll have me one of those - I fancy a new telly & car & we can book that holiday we liked the look of."

Yes, they are stupid and they shouldn't take the loan out if they can't afford it. BUT if the letter hadn't come through, perhaps they wouldn't have thought to take a loan out.

I (as I'm sure the majority of the adult population does too) get several junk letters a week offering loans & credit cards etc. Plus all the adverts on the telly. Surely the banks / card companies should take some responsibility? Their attitude seems to have been "If it's got a pulse, we try and lend it money." Not particularly wise, I wouldn't have thought?


*This statement may be open to debate.
Fri 20/06/08 at 08:52
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
Garin wrote:
> Looks to me like what you're asking for is spin. :)

You know, I thought that when I first wrote it, but I couldn't find a better way of explaining it. Sometimes 'spin' is not an evil thing the press make it out to be. I guess the question is: when does PR become spin? It's about motivating the public, which you've rightly pointed out yourself. I think where we differ is that I believe the way that the Government and BoE put the message out wasn't quite the right tack to use.

So I'm making it sound even more like spin...hm.

Just to be clear: I'm not really disagreeing with what you're saying. I know that raising salaries will have an affect on the economy, but I think a) the government message could have been better worded (and, yes, received) and b) It's fine saying this, but you and I both know economics are much more complicated than this and c) call it 'spin', but it would still make people think about spending less even if the Government showed us they had an overall plan, which I don't think they're doing.
Thu 19/06/08 at 22:30
Regular
"Devil in disguise"
Posts: 3,151
Looks to me like what you're asking for is spin. :)
Thu 19/06/08 at 21:23
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
That's right, what was I thinking. We should all go back to living off the land, wearing sack cloth and forget about this technology business.

Anyway, back to the point. Far from suggesting the Government are actually twiddling thumbs, I'm suggesting they actually provide a positive plan to move forward. Yes, I believe they probably have one, but they need to be looking like they're actually doing something. I don't think putting across a message to people that their employers to halt any plans for a rise is really the right message either. They've left employers alone to earn whatever they want and pay out whatever they need to in the past, so why start to act all fatherly now? It's not as if they encourage national business anyway. Of course, the general issue is a world wide one and cannot really be resolved by any one country, it will only get worse as fuel supplies become more scarce. But this is even more reason to look at our economy and find other ways to run it. No one mentioned government handouts. Besides, some of these all tend to go to those who donít really want to work and have found it easier getting someone else to pay, others have a conscience and they tend to be the ones who miss out.

I'm sure there are those out there who spend too much on frivolity or non-essentials, there always have been, but there are a pretty large number of people who have already cut back over the last few years or got a job further a field because their job had been taken away and have no choice but to use the car. Iím also sure there are older people who are subsidising their pension by having to work part time and still not being able to afford the bills, usually the same people who have refused to accept the Government payouts and subsidised housing in the past because theyíve been too proud to let someone else pay their way, while the council house tenants just laugh and carry on spending their money.

Iím not even saying that this applies to everyone; life is not as black and white as that. Iím suggesting that the government provide a much more helpful line of advice than Ďdonít bank on your salary covering your increase in billsí which doesnít really offer any advice short of general panic and gives the impression that the government are wringing their hands of the matter because they just donít have any answers.
Thu 19/06/08 at 19:33
Regular
"Author of Pain"
Posts: 395
Bills are going up, yes. But rather than attack the government for suggesting that people don't get big wage increases (and thus cost and spend more causing further inflation as per the argument below), perhaps instead it's an opprtunity for people to rationalise their spending. Cut out the fat:

Stop buying junk food, and cook something yourself.

Cut your Sky bill from £70 a month to £50 and live without HD, Sports or Movies or whatever for a while.

Walk somewhere once in a while instead of driving. You could even take your obese, underachieving children with you...

Take some energy efficiency advice and save yourself hundreds of pounds a year by making your home greener.

Don't let your wife/girlfriend buy 12 'current affairs' magazines that all run the same stories but with (marginally) different pictures of 'celebrities' looking ordinary.

Make sandwiches for lunch at work rather than eating at the canteen for 5 times the cost.

Look after your clothes - make them last longer (for women, try wearing them more than once before consigning them to purgatory in the back of a drawer, and no, you SO don't need any more shoes right now).

There are hundreds of quick and easy ways to free up your cash before you have to go complaining that whatever extortionate wage your employer grudgingly pays you to sit and play on facebook all day isn't enough to meet your 'needs'.

I'm totally and utterly sick of all this "Waaah, the world doesn't lie down and give me everything I want on a plate" whinging. The Human Rights Act seems to have given everyone the impression that they have a right consume products and services they can't afford, to live beyond their means and to expect employers and/or government to pull their worthless hides from the flames everytime they screw up.

Wake up and smell the damned coffee. The world doesn't owe people a living.
Thu 19/06/08 at 17:52
Regular
"Devil in disguise"
Posts: 3,151
pb wrote:
> Garin wrote:
> Seems we're all in agreement then. You, me, the government and
> the bank of england all agree that wage increases can create
> inflationary pressure. None of us have suggested its the only
> factor in inflation though.
>
> That's not the point, though. Well, it's not the point of this
> topic, anyhow.

> The question is, where they right to say anything
> in a public forum, knowing the response, and possibly not
> thinking quite enough about their wording.

What do you suggest then? Some clandestine operation where government officials meet in secret with all employers to remind them of the dangers of hiking wages too much in response to inflation.
I'd actually argue that people need messages like this whether they are employers or not. Part of what is fuelling our current economic problems is irresponsible consumer spending. Warnings that things are going to get difficult and not to expect employers to bail them out are entirely appropriate in my opinion.

> The other point was,
> should the government be actively doing something to lower
> inflation/help people who are having issues to afford to pay for
> bills itself, or at least outwardly be seen to be doing
> something.

You pose the question as though the government and the bank of england have been sitting there twiddling their thumbs and not trying to manage the economy. When clearly thats not been the case. Clearly you think there is something they should be doing that they are not, I wonder what that is though. Surely you dont think the solution is hand outs to anybody who cant pay for their mortgage or fuel bills etc..
Thu 19/06/08 at 16:40
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
Garin wrote:
> Seems we're all in agreement then. You, me, the government and
> the bank of england all agree that wage increases can create
> inflationary pressure. None of us have suggested its the only
> factor in inflation though.

That's not the point, though. Well, it's not the point of this topic, anyhow. The question is, where they right to say anything in a public forum, knowing the response, and possibly not thinking quite enough about their wording. The other point was, should the government be actively doing something to lower inflation/help people who are having issues to afford to pay for bills itself, or at least outwardly be seen to be doing something.

You could argue that there will be people who take advantage of any plan (as there are in the current housing association system) but we're talking about people who don't currently get benefits and wouldn't be entitled to them, but find themselves losing their house or not having bills paid.

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