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A Non-Working British Family

Posted By Jim On 12/09/2008 @ 3:13 pm In Family | 22 Comments

I got upset when I read this article about a non-working family in Britain [3]. Actually, I was pretty pissed off to be honest.

The article talks about a 43 year-old woman who lives in a 2 bedroom council flat, which is the equivalent of low-income housing here in the United States, with three children and one grandchild. She doesn’t work and has never worked. The family has had some pretty terrible experiences recently, documented in the article, but my compassion wanes as I hear how they entered the situation.

These lines in the article changed my sentiment completely, which I’m sure you’ll pick out when you read the brief article:

  • … But she concedes that she doesn’t really know why she didn’t get a job, and that there was an element of just “not getting round” to it.
  • … She doesn’t think school wanted her to stay on because she “wasn’t too bright” and used to bunk off [not attend] a lot.
  • … Without any qualifications she assumed she wasn’t able to follow her chosen path and join the Army. She never actually made it to the recruitment office to ask.
  • … As no-one in the house is actively seeking work, they don’t count as “unemployed” and none claims Jobseeker’s Allowance [unemployment].
  • … “I’m sorry they have to pay tax money to me. If I could get a job… give me a job then and I’ll work, and then they won’t have to pay me.”

The lesson here is that you have to take control of your life. I don’t think she’s lazy but it just sounds like she didn’t try to do anything. She didn’t get a job, didn’t finish school, and all before the whole aspect of family came into play. I can understand not working or going to school to raise a family, but the reality is that none of the children work either! William, her son, was savagely attacked by local gang members, a situation that likely wouldn’t have happened had they not chosen to live in council housing in the first place.

The thing that gets me is that she didn’t even try. None of them did. There are plenty of stories of people who have tried and simply given up out of despair because of the economy. I have compassion for their situation because they’ve tried to change their situation. While this family doesn’t take unemployment (Jobseeker’s Allowance), they also aren’t taking any steps to improve their condition. The daughter sits at home all day.

Am I being too harsh? What do you think?

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[3] non-working family in Britain: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7746174.stm

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