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Benefits Britain 1949

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Anybody watch this on Channel 4 (21:00 -> 22:00 this evening?

Had me scratching my head. Not old enough to have dircet experience but contacting the folks raised my suspicions. So I did a little trawling. Seems the state pension was nominal £1.30 / week back then. Coal would have been about 20p, a bag of chips one penny. And yet we saw a pensioner forced into debt by his 2013 £24/wk energy bill after food costs, because his supposedly real terms 1949 pension would have only been £38/wk.

The figures frankly made no sense. Anyone interested might care to peruse the IFS's historical state pension data and this discussion . Back then my family were coal merchants and a quick check reveals the four shillings per week cost chimes with my father's recollections.

Anybody else suspect that the programme is bogus?

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Anybody watch this on Channel 4 (21:00 -> 22:00 this evening?

Had me scratching my head. Not old enough to have dircet experience but contacting the folks raised my suspicions. So I did a little trawling. Seems the state pension was nominal £1.30 / week back then. Coal would have been about 20p, a bag of chips one penny. And yet we saw a pensioner forced into debt by his 2013 £24/wk energy bill after food costs, because his supposedly real terms 1949 pension would have only been £38/wk.

The figures frankly made no sense. Anyone interested might care to peruse the IFS's historical state pension data and this discussion . Back then my family were coal merchants and a quick check reveals the four shillings per week cost chimes with my father's recollections.

Anybody else suspect that the programme is bogus?

Yeah, looks like bashing working age welfare. Watching it on c4+1, I wonder if they will mention that full employment was scrapped creating a permanent class of unemployed workers that needs welfare now to survive.

Why are there no unemployed looking for work? choosing a classic daily mail style long term sick benefits scrounger to represent the 2.5 million on jobseekers seems like a stitch up.

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Yeah, looks like bashing working age welfare. Watching it on c4+1, I wonder if they will mention that full employment was scrapped creating a permanent class of unemployed workers that needs welfare now to survive.

Why are there no unemployed looking for work? choosing a classic daily mail style long term sick benefits scrounger to represent the 2.5 million on jobseekers seems like a stitch up.

I didn't even want to get into the employment story. But of course, comparing those of working age is to all intents and purposes ridiculous. Back then you could leave a job in the morning and find another in the afternoon, but that's what happens when you engage in all out mechanised trench world warfare for 4 years: it's called a labour shortage, but the goons who put this prog together handily avoided that issue.

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Had a few posts on my facebook of people saying they were going to watch this show, expecting to get "wound up" over scroungers.

Took a quick look at the online Daily hate Mail and lo and behold, in their most viewed tab is an article on the show, with the headline as follows.

The extraordinary experiment that PROVES the welfare state has lost its way: Documentary challenged benefit claimants to live on 1949 handouts. The results will astonish and infuriate you

daily mail

Just more shows priming the public for a crackdown on those apparently now responsible for our declining living standards. Unfortunately, most people will read this tripe and not have to bother thinking of an opinion of their own.

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Watched and just thought what an incredible achievement. A country wrecked and almost bankrupt from war established a health system and welfare system within a few short years.

Of course there was Mrs Massive Entitlement but suspect she was picked for the role of pantomine villain. Suspect energy, housing food was all a lot cheaper and the benefits seemed large, Of course we had full employment and plenty of manual factory work,

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Watched and just thought what an incredible achievement. A country wrecked and almost bankrupt from war established a health system and welfare system within a few short years.

Of course there was Mrs Massive Entitlement but suspect she was picked for the role of pantomine villain. Suspect energy, housing food was all a lot cheaper and the benefits seemed large, Of course we had full employment and plenty of manual factory work,

Yes, that's the point - the cost of living in Britain was massively less even allowing for inflation generally - these programmes can mislead because the relative price of goods can change a great deal over 70 yrs. Chicken was very expensive while beef was the cheap meat back then. You cannot just fast foward and apply inflation to it. Wages would have been a lot lower then too!

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It was a stupid program for all sorts of reasons.

Not least because it simplified an issue that goes far deeper than "young folks these days are just lazy scroungers", which is exactly what stupid papers read by stupid people will simplify it down to.

Comparing a time of maximum employment and rapid reconstruction of a country's industry and housing stock (after a world war) with today is frankly beyond daft.

There were jobs back then for a start, and much of what we consumed was made in the UK by folk in the UK (including energy). My mum and dad were a bit too young to have been working in 1949 (1950s/1960s - both gone now sadly), but they remember being able to walk in and out of any job they didn't like in the morning and have a new one come the afternoon. My dad ended up in the Navy by accident pretty much - not because he couldn't find work elsewhere (he was already an apprentice undertaker at 15, on a decent weekly wage) - he just wanted to see the world and meet women of easier virtue (I don't think he was relating this to his previous working position, but perhaps the corpses were playing hard to get). :blink:

There's an entire boomer generation that don't understand it's not like that any more, and this just inadvertently pandered to their prejudices IMHO.

Edited by byron78

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Guest eight

It was a stupid program for all sorts of reasons.

There were jobs back then for a start, and much of what we consumed was made in the UK by folk in the UK (including energy). My mum and dad were a bit too young to have been working in 1949 (1950s/1960s - both gone now sadly), but they remember being able to walk in and out of any job they didn't like in the morning and have a new one come the afternoon. My dad ended up in the Navy by accident pretty much - not because he couldn't find work elsewhere (he was already an apprentice undertaker at 15, on a decent weekly wage) - he just wanted to see the world and meet women of easier virtue. :blink:

There's an entire boomer generation that don't understand it's not like that any more, and this just inadvertently pandered to their prejudices IMHO.

The railway works in my home town was closed down in 1966 because it was starving private industry of skilled men.

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I didn't even want to get into the employment story. But of course, comparing those of working age is to all intents and purposes ridiculous. Back then you could leave a job in the morning and find another in the afternoon, but that's what happens when you engage in all out mechanised trench world warfare for 4 years: it's called a labour shortage, but the goons who put this prog together handily avoided that issue.

Actually, UK casualties were not *that* bad in WWII, at least compared to WWI.

On the other had, there were fewer women in the workforce. And with memories of the great depression (and the consequences of that depression, viz. Hitler et al), politicians were quite concerned about maintaining full employment. Having large scale youth unemployment is quite dangerous politically. People seem to forget that whilst preaching the virtues of Austerity.

Nowadays we have politicians who would regard full employment policies as some sort of pipe dream going on about benefits scroungers. I suspect that these guys would have real issues when presented with a 'join the dots' puzzle.

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It was a stupid program for all sorts of reasons.

Not least because it simplified an issue that goes far deeper than "young folks these days are just lazy scroungers", which is exactly what stupid papers read by stupid people will simplify it down to.

Did you actually watch the program?

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It was a stupid program for all sorts of reasons.

Not least because it simplified an issue that goes far deeper than "young folks these days are just lazy scroungers", which is exactly what stupid papers read by stupid people will simplify it down to.

Comparing a time of maximum employment and rapid reconstruction of a country's industry and housing stock (after a world war) with today is frankly beyond daft.

There were jobs back then for a start, and much of what we consumed was made in the UK by folk in the UK (including energy). My mum and dad were a bit too young to have been working in 1949 (1950s/1960s - both gone now sadly), but they remember being able to walk in and out of any job they didn't like in the morning and have a new one come the afternoon.

Yes to the above. I started work in 1970 at age 15 and there were still plenty of jobs about. I remember starting a sales assistant job in a small clothes shop catering for older clientele. The owner was such a dragon that I worked the morning, left for lunch break and didn't go back. I spent the afternoon looking for another job and got taken on at the offices of a wine merchants that I started the next day. Between then and the job I settled into in my early twenties I worked at around 10 different places and was never knocked back for a job. Those were the halcyon days for work as you were able to find what you were good at and where you where happy working though the pay wasn't too good as it would cost near a weeks wages to buy, say, a dress. Back in those days of course you were paid according to whether you were male/female, married/single, with/without children - no equality of wages then. Certainly no prospect of being able to rent anything as a young, single female.

I didn't see the programme last night and it isn't on catchup yet but I remember the old Labour Exchange. It was something that was talked about in rather hushed tones for some reason. As I child going into town on the bus we would pass the building that frankly looked like a public convenience block with queues to go in. Having googled I came across this that explains why I had that impression.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jan/31/100-years-of-job-centres

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Anybody watch this on Channel 4 (21:00 -> 22:00 this evening?

Had me scratching my head. Not old enough to have dircet experience but contacting the folks raised my suspicions. So I did a little trawling. Seems the state pension was nominal £1.30 / week back then. Coal would have been about 20p, a bag of chips one penny. And yet we saw a pensioner forced into debt by his 2013 £24/wk energy bill after food costs, because his supposedly real terms 1949 pension would have only been £38/wk.

The figures frankly made no sense. Anyone interested might care to peruse the IFS's historical state pension data and this discussion . Back then my family were coal merchants and a quick check reveals the four shillings per week cost chimes with my father's recollections.

Anybody else suspect that the programme is bogus?

Not everything was cheaper in the forties. Certainly food would have been more expensive, even if take out food (chips) were in fact cheaper (a result of higher service sector wages).

Clothes must be massively cheaper now. I recently read a book about a murder in 1947. The murdered woman on the eve of the murder

had bought a second hand man's vest with holes in it from a Kent market. Can't remember the exact price she paid, but the few shillings came to more than a new Chinese large garment would cost today. She was going to unpick it and make something else. Also when the dead woman's shoe was cast to the side of the road by the murderer, a passing lorry driver had stopped to retrieve it within five minutes of the murder and found the body. Basically stuff was very scarce and expensive. The murderer was caught because similarly a passer by had retrieved the dead woman's bag from the middle of a lake, and it was worked out where the bag would have been dumped (from a nearby warehouse stream feeding the lake where the murderer had made an early morning haulage delivery the day of the murder)

Can you imagine people today recovering rubbish from lakes and road sides.

Edited by crashmonitor

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Not everything was cheaper in the forties. Certainly food would have been more expensive, even if take out food (chips) were in fact cheaper (a result of higher service sector wages).

Clothes must be massively cheaper now. I recently read a book about a murder in 1947. The murdered woman on the eve of the murder

had bought a second hand man's vest with holes in it from a Kent market. Can't remember the exact price she paid, but the few shillings came to more than a new Chinese large garment would cost today. She was going to unpick it and make something else. Also when the dead woman's shoe was cast to the side of the road by the murderer, a passing lorry driver had stopped to retrieve it within five minutes of the murder and found the body. Basically stuff was very scarce and expensive. The murderer was caught because similarly a passer by had retrieved the dead woman's bag from the middle of a lake, and it was worked out where the bag would have been dumped (from a nearby warehouse stream feeding the lake where the murderer had made an early morning haulage delivery the day of the murder)

Can you imagine people today recovering rubbish from lakes and road sides.

That been the big change.. the cost of manufactured stuff has collapsed. I worked out that for me, a month's take home pay would buy every electrical appliance in our house; 2 months and you'd be getting close to the entire house contents.

There used to be a time when you'd hide the video to stop the lights on the front attracting burglars.

On the other hand the house itself is extremely expensive by comparison with 1949.

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Domestic and manufactured goods were in short supply after the war. Domestic demand being repressed to allow for an export led recovery. UK had a massive balance of payments situation which weirdly doesn't seem to matter now but the"trade figures" were mentioned on the news every month as a major event up until the 70/80's. Never merits a mention now.

Only this morning on CNBC they were going on about housing inflation "getting people spending again." How time change.

Clothing is a funny one. People had the ability to make their own. Women would buy knitting and dress patterns, make do and mend and recycle stuff. Things didn't improve until the 50's during MacMillans "never had it so good" period.

Had to laugh at the "how can I live on £5 a day?" Well I do as a base budget, not because I have to but I don't spend all day driving round in a gas guzzler, and drinking in coffee shops. Its quite easy actually with the main expenditures being food and energy of course.

Edited by aSecureTenant

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Domestic and manufactured goods were in short supply after the war. Domestic demand being repressed to allow for an export led recovery. UK had a massive balance of payments situation which weirdly doesn't seem to matter now but the"trade figures" were mentioned on the news every month as a major event up until the 70/80's. Never merits a mention now.

Only this morning on CNBC they were going on about housing inflation "getting people spending again." How time change.

Clothing is a funny one. People had the ability to make their own. Women would buy knitting and dress patterns, make do and mend and recycle stuff. Things didn't improve until the 50's during MacMillans "never had it so good" period.

Had to laugh at the "how can I live on £5 a day?" Well I do as a base budget, not because I have to but I don't spend all day driving round in a gas guzzler, and drinking in coffee shops. Its quite easy actually with the main expenditures being food and energy of course.

Funny how some people still have a thrift mind set based on the 1940s. You still here retired people bestowing the virtues of making stuff. Six quid of wool or 50p at the charity shop or free at the side of the road if you are self employed youth. Well actually the denim jacket I have got was free dumped in a park.

Edited by crashmonitor

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Didn't watch it, stopped watching stuff like this years ago when I woke up to the propaganda.

However, for me, the main fact overlooked by "benefits bashers" is how those not claiming state handouts indirectly benefit massively from the distribution of this money in the economy.

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Anybody watch this on Channel 4 (21:00 -> 22:00 this evening?

Had me scratching my head. Not old enough to have dircet experience but contacting the folks raised my suspicions. So I did a little trawling. Seems the state pension was nominal £1.30 / week back then. Coal would have been about 20p, a bag of chips one penny. And yet we saw a pensioner forced into debt by his 2013 £24/wk energy bill after food costs, because his supposedly real terms 1949 pension would have only been £38/wk.

The figures frankly made no sense. Anyone interested might care to peruse the IFS's historical state pension data and this discussion . Back then my family were coal merchants and a quick check reveals the four shillings per week cost chimes with my father's recollections.

Anybody else suspect that the programme is bogus?

Shush now, cant have the plebs knowing living standards in the US and UK have gone nowhere since 1970. Offshore some more jobs and import some more workers and all will be fine.

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We are all obviously very wealthy in the UK comparing things to the 40's. I honestly didn't appreciate just how rich I was and I think I'll go out and buy a mansion to celebrate as my modern day wages should more than cover things.

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