Better off on benefits

A COUPLE of months ago I was having a conversation about benefits with two blokes at my local pub.

They had just secured new jobs as skilled engineers. Unfortunately they had both gone through redundancy over the previous 12 months and, being family men, had to claim benefits.

All too often we hear David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith telling us that people are better off in work than on benefits, this is a simple explanation of a complex issue, do they mean net better off or gross better off?

The two people I had been speaking with had taken interim jobs at a call centre in Manchester on the minimum wage, the call centre operating hours were 8am to 8pm so the two strangers had different start and finish times and couldn’t share transport.

This, therefore, resulted in them both keeping a car on the road, paying fuel, road tax and insurance, as well as maintenance and other associated costs, they worked out that, after these costs, their net take home pay was less than the benefits they could have received.

Had the call centre been round the corner from their houses, they would be better off in work, but for so many people looking for work and genuinely on benefits, they are expected to take work miles away from the area in which they live. So, in essence, while they are gross better off in work than on benefits, they are net worse off in work than on benefits. Many people would say in their ignorance why not move to Manchester, but the economics of relocating on the minimum wage is neither feasible nor possible due to individual circumstances and external influences.

So Mr Cameron and Mr Duncan Smith take note.

Fred Hodson

address supplied


I’m backing cars protest

I totally agree with the protesters who are campaigning to save Standish from the demons of even more traffic if 1,000 homes are built in Bradley Hall Trading Estate.

Standish crossroads is already jack-packed with cars at peak times, causing a great bottle neck and tailbacks for annoyed motorists.

Standish is a main thorough-fare to and from Wigan from the motorway and it really isn’t big enough for any more traffic. I say good on these people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and spend their precious time to protect their home-land.

It is no good shouting about the problems - the council needs to be SHOWN and really see the impact the development would have.

I just hope the 50 or so extra vehicles had enough mettle to make both the council and developers think.

Name and address supplied

Crack down on con artist

How can you tell a salesman is a crook? Being aggressive when refused custom is very pushy behaviour to say the least. Salesmen who approach you first are some of the most likely to be swindlers.

Door-to-door selling is not the only method of cold-calling. It is also done by telephone, especially anonymously. For that reason I have told my telephone company to install a service at less than £4 a month to block all anonymous calls because I no longer trust any anonymous calls.

Cold calls are proof these days not all cons are bogus prizes. Experience of being conned a few times myself has taught me how to recognise and be suspicious even of sophisticated scams.

Scammers and con artists don’t care about the good of the customers.

All that’s important to them is how much money they can make even if dishonestly. They are amongst the most despicable scum on the planet!

My suggestion of an appropriate punishment for con artists that get caught out would be all assets confiscated as proceeds of crime on top of a minimum 10-year jail term without parole and a life ban from company directorship.

R N Coupe, address supplied