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Universal Food Benefit

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Interesting graph from the USA on the rise in food stamps. From 26 million on the program at the start of 2007 to 44 million at the start of 2011.

food_stamp_participation_4-3-11.jpg

I know the idea of a citizen's dividend is unpopular in many circles. The idea of giving everyone free money just doesn't sit well with the protestant work ethic, foundation of our society. But people may be far more willing to entertain the idea of a universal food benefit. Which would have the same effect since we all have to eat and money is obviousy fungible.

Sort of like how universal health care is a popular idea, even though technically we could say we are giving people something for nothing and discouraging work.

For example if everyone in Britain got £100 a month food benefit. A family of 4 would get £400 a month tax free from that and that would make quite a difference in their lives. The total cost of the program would be £74 billion a year.

In the US the food stamps are coming on electronic cards that get updated on the first of each month. Its cheaper to administer that way and there is less stigma associated with using the cards, which appear as ordinary debit cards.

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They've been banging on about child poverty again on r4 this morning.

Not once did they mention the role of high housing costs as a factor.

Exactly. If you accept the necessity of an address then basic survival in the UK looks something like Rent £300/month, everything-else £30/month.

£100/month for food alone is classic nanny-welfare: many times more than you need to survive, way less than campaigners would insist on. Don't they have some kind of voucher system like that for asylum seekers?

You want an earmarking principle, then start opening soup-kitchens. Much cheaper, and take away the risk of blowing it (and your childrens' allowance) on booze&fags.

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They've been banging on about child poverty again on r4 this morning.

Not once did they mention the role of high housing costs as a factor.

I'm not sure why we have a media since they will never seriously address any societal challenge we face. Thankfully more and more people are turning to online sources over time.

Young families spend an absurd percentage of their income just to have basic housing.

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Exactly. If you accept the necessity of an address then basic survival in the UK looks something like Rent £300/month, everything-else £30/month.

£100/month for food alone is classic nanny-welfare: many times more than you need to survive, way less than campaigners would insist on. Don't they have some kind of voucher system like that for asylum seekers?

You want an earmarking principle, then start opening soup-kitchens. Much cheaper, and take away the risk of blowing it (and your childrens' allowance) on booze&fags.

To eat healthily actually costs a fair amount.

In the US they have the EBT cards, which the system only allows certain items to be purchased on it.

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To eat healthily actually costs a fair amount.

Define healthily. Daily assortment of superfoods?

I could still survive on £2/week food budget. Value-line pasta and lentils make a very boring diet[1], but not obviously more unhealthy than many on generous food budgets.

[1] though you get some pretty-nice variants if you allow as much as £1/day and buy things like onions, mushrooms, chilli.

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They've been banging on about child poverty again on r4 this morning.

Not once did they mention the role of high housing costs as a factor.

They alluded to the high cost of childcare, but brushed over it.

They seemed quite proud that the govt spends £138k per child in childhood compared to an oecd average of only £95k - yet the sentiment seemed to be 'if only we could spend a bit more we would eradicate child poverty' never acknowledging that the high costs of childcare are caused by govt subsidies to working parents driving up the amounts the childcare industry can charge.

By failing to acknowledge this they fail to see that they do not eradicate the marginalisation in society - they simply moe it to a different group of people - those families one income level higher.

And no question of whether 'investing' £138k in every child is economically sustainable.

Edited by Caveat Mortgagor

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To eat healthily actually costs a fair amount.

That is a fallacy. You don't have to buy expensive imported blueberries, salmon steaks, etc.

The trouble is, a relatively cheap, healthy diet involves buying fresh, in-season veg, pulses, etc., making a little meat go a long way, and cooking from scratch. Which, let's face it, most of the cheap-oven-chips and Value-pizza brigade just isn't going to do. And even if they did, kids brought up on junk wouldn't eat it.

Just for starters, you can buy a 500g bag of smartprice pasta shapes in Asda's for 18p. Add a few cheap veg, onions and maybe grated carrots (if kids hate veg) . to a couple of cans of their smartprice tinned tomatoes and you've got a batch of perfectly good, child-friendly sauce that will keep in the fridge for a week. Add a little grated cheese for protein - how much does all that cost?

There are loads of things anyone with a little time and imagination can make from relatively cheap, seasonal produce and dried or tinned storecupboard basics, but a lot of people just aren't ever going to do it.

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That is a fallacy.

There are loads of things anyone with a little time and imagination can make from relatively cheap, seasonal produce and dried or tinned storecupboard basics, but a lot of people just aren't ever going to do it.

...they will not do it because they don't know how to do it, their mothers did not do it, so they were never shown how to do it, or the old excuse they don't have the time to do it....more like they have little imagination, they can't be bothered, or are unwilling to learn. ;)

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Well £100 a month only gives you about £3 pounds a day to spend. The most frugal people following your plan could actually have it cover their entire monthly food bill.

They then could use their other income for other things. No harm in rewarding the most frugal.

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That is a fallacy. You don't have to buy expensive imported blueberries, salmon steaks, etc.

The trouble is, a relatively cheap, healthy diet involves buying fresh, in-season veg, pulses, etc., making a little meat go a long way, and cooking from scratch. Which, let's face it, most of the cheap-oven-chips and Value-pizza brigade just isn't going to do. And even if they did, kids brought up on junk wouldn't eat it.

Just for starters, you can buy a 500g bag of smartprice pasta shapes in Asda's for 18p. Add a few cheap veg, onions and maybe grated carrots (if kids hate veg) . to a couple of cans of their smartprice tinned tomatoes and you've got a batch of perfectly good, child-friendly sauce that will keep in the fridge for a week. Add a little grated cheese for protein - how much does all that cost?

There are loads of things anyone with a little time and imagination can make from relatively cheap, seasonal produce and dried or tinned storecupboard basics, but a lot of people just aren't ever going to do it.

100% agree. I eat a lot of chicken and having eaten the meat save the carcasses and when I have 3-4 boil these for a few hours to make a stock. Chill and skim of the fat and I have a stock for making soup. Then add a variety low cost veg - potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, kale, spring greens plus seasoning for flavour.

very health and low cost.

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...they will not do it because they don't know how to do it, their mothers did not do it, so they were never shown how to do it, or the old excuse they don't have the time to do it....more like they have little imagination, they can't be bothered, or are unwilling to learn. ;)

Hit nail on the head ;)

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Money is a mechanism for exchanging goods and services, what exactly are you giving in return?

Nowadays peoples main job is to buy shte. For example modern farming produces so much extra food that westen governments are paying farmers not to grow food, limiting quotas, and burning 40% of the food to make bio-ethanol.

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Nowadays peoples main job is to buy shte. For example modern farming produces so much extra food that westen governments are paying farmers not to grow food, limiting quotas, and burning 40% of the food to make bio-ethanol.

Not anymore - set aside was scrapped years ago.

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Hit nail on the head ;)

...you also have to take into consideration that there is a lot of vested interests in the food industry......it is not in their interest for people to stop eating processed, microwave, all done for you, takeaway convenience foods....they would rather you were out there earning the money then go out to buy it. ;)

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...you also have to take into consideration that there is a lot of vested interests in the food industry......it is not in their interest for people to stop eating processed, microwave, all done for you, takeaway convenience foods....they would rather you were out there earning the money then go out to buy it. ;)

Thats the fallacy though isn't it. The chicken stock soup I describe doesn't take that long to make if you combine the task with other tasks. 3-4 chicken carcasses will easily give enough stock to make 16-18 portions of soup.

Tastes a million times better than ready made meals which generally give me indigestion

Edited by Kurt Barlow

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Thats the fallacy though isn't it. The chicken stock soup I describe doesn't take that long to make if you combine the task with other tasks. 3-4 chicken carcasses will easily give enough stock to make 16-18 portions of soup.

Tastes a million times better than ready made meals which generally give me indigestion

I don't eat meat, but I agree with you on the soup principle. Simple to make, and I always brew up a cauldron of the stuff then freeze some for future use. Especially in winter, when it turns all those seasonal root vegetables into something delicious.

Supermarket equivalents? Yes, once in a while. Gives me the plastic containers to wash up and re-use. But if I were really poor again I could dump that little indulgence.

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Thats the fallacy though isn't it. The chicken stock soup I describe doesn't take that long to make if you combine the task with other tasks. 3-4 chicken carcasses will easily give enough stock to make 16-18 portions of soup.

Tastes a million times better than ready made meals which generally give me indigestion

...yes, I try to simmer the chicken carcass with a bayleaf, onion, carrot and celery makes a brilliant stock base for soup and all sorts of other meals....freezes well also......you can't beat home cooking imo. ;)

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Thats the fallacy though isn't it. The chicken stock soup I describe doesn't take that long to make if you combine the task with other tasks. 3-4 chicken carcasses will easily give enough stock to make 16-18 portions of soup.

Tastes a million times better than ready made meals which generally give me indigestion

Ms cheeznbreed and I eat very well. Almost all cooked from scratch, plenty of fish although not much other meat. Looking at a few CC bills our spend is around £200/month between us, and that is without trying very hard. Could easily spend £100/month more on some excellent additions or cut £50/month out between us I'd say. Happy to spend more than baseline because we both enjoy food and cooking. Grow our own herbs which are an excellent source of flavours on the cheap.

I feel saddened that there are those who show little interest in cooking, especially those with children- it enhances all aspects of your life- social, financial, physical.

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Ms cheeznbreed and I eat very well. Almost all cooked from scratch, plenty of fish although not much other meat. Looking at a few CC bills our spend is around £200/month between us, and that is without trying very hard. Could easily spend £100/month more on some excellent additions or cut £50/month out between us I'd say. Happy to spend more than baseline because we both enjoy food and cooking. Grow our own herbs which are an excellent source of flavours on the cheap.

I feel saddened that there are those who show little interest in cooking, especially those with children- it enhances all aspects of your life- social, financial, physical.

I wouldn't say my food bill is cheap. I live in the middle east and like salmon and steak a couple of times a week which isn't cheap. That said my food bill per month is probably £150-£200. Ironically more than my housing costs combined :lol:

Whilst I have no need to live frugally I like to maintain the skills in the event one day I need them again but to also keep control over what I put in my body which is important as I have an underlying health condition.

Like you I get great satisfaction out of creatively making soups / stews from scratch. If I had kids I would like to do this with them too to teach skills and spend time together.

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Thats the fallacy though isn't it. The chicken stock soup I describe doesn't take that long to make if you combine the task with other tasks. 3-4 chicken carcasses will easily give enough stock to make 16-18 portions of soup.

Tastes a million times better than ready made meals which generally give me indigestion

Wish I had freezer space for 3-4 at a time! Not to mention all the stock. Generally just do one, a mite heavy on gas, must try doing 2 at a time, though.

In winter Mr B and I practically live on the sort of soups you mentioned, full of all sorts. He'd eat them every night.

I also do a lamb one with pearl barley as well as assorted veg - little bit of neck of lamb, only you have to start it the day before to cool, skim all the fat off and winkle the lean meat out of the bones. Exceedingly tasty.

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I feel saddened that there are those who show little interest in cooking, especially those with children- it enhances all aspects of your life- social, financial, physical.

I remember being hailed as some kind of culinary guru at University for being able to make pancake batter from flour, eggs, milk and water.

One very attractive girl told me I could make her pancakes anytime.

Turns out it really was just the pancakes she liked :(

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I wouldn't say my food bill is cheap. I live in the middle east and like salmon and steak a couple of times a week which isn't cheap. That said my food bill per month is probably £150-£200. Ironically more than my housing costs combined :lol:

Whilst I have no need to live frugally I like to maintain the skills in the event one day I need them again but to also keep control over what I put in my body which is important as I have an underlying health condition.

Like you I get great satisfaction out of creatively making soups / stews from scratch. If I had kids I would like to do this with them too to teach skills and spend time together.

+1

The greatest (I'm salivating as I watch it!):

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That is a fallacy. You don't have to buy expensive imported blueberries, salmon steaks, etc.

The trouble is, a relatively cheap, healthy diet involves buying fresh, in-season veg, pulses, etc., making a little meat go a long way, and cooking from scratch. Which, let's face it, most of the cheap-oven-chips and Value-pizza brigade just isn't going to do. And even if they did, kids brought up on junk wouldn't eat it.

Just for starters, you can buy a 500g bag of smartprice pasta shapes in Asda's for 18p. Add a few cheap veg, onions and maybe grated carrots (if kids hate veg) . to a couple of cans of their smartprice tinned tomatoes and you've got a batch of perfectly good, child-friendly sauce that will keep in the fridge for a week. Add a little grated cheese for protein - how much does all that cost?

There are loads of things anyone with a little time and imagination can make from relatively cheap, seasonal produce and dried or tinned storecupboard basics, but a lot of people just aren't ever going to do it.

you can dry your own sundried tomatoes in the back parcel shelf of your car. takes about a day when the sun is out.

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  • 285 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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