We’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the TV shows ‘How To Get A Council House‘ and ‘Skint’. Before I go any further, I know that everything on TV is edited for entertainment purposes, to get a reaction and that it doesn’t show the full picture.
I grew up in a council house. It was the only family home I knew. My Mum queued up at the council for literally days in 1980 to get the house – it was the only one that was offered to her, she had two small children and, was a single Mother and she stayed in that house until a few years ago when she ‘swapped’ to a smaller council property – as living by herself she no longer needed a 3 bedroom house.
4 years after moving into the house I was born and my Mum had a new partner.
My parents never paid very much rent, the going council rate, £100 a week or whatever it is. My Dad worked incredibly hard but never had very well paid jobs and had a family of 5 to support. My Mum stayed at home, as back then it was the done thing. Where we lived ‘childcare’ meant the Mother. My parents were never in a position to buy a property or even rent privately and I’m sure they claimed as many benefits as they were entitled to – But my Dad always worked. He worked double shifts at Christmas and was always looking for extra work. My Mum also had various evening cleaning jobs and went back to work full time when i was about 13. I remember vividly as a child walking round the streets delivering leaflets with my parents in the peak of Summer for hours so they could get some extra cash. I always got an ice pop as a reward at the end!
We didn’t have a lavish lifestyle. We had a ‘traditional’ wooden cabinet TV for as long as I can remember and my Mum still had it after I moved out of home. We never had a new car, always having old bangers – the worst being a ‘cut and shut’ that my Dad bought by accident as he couldn’t afford anything else. We lived off Sainsburys Basics food and a treat to us was having a carton of Sainsbury Basics Fresh Orange Juice (from concentrate) with our dinner on food shopping day. I never had a holiday abroad growing up and the most luxurious holiday we had was a week in a wooden lodge in Scotland – that we drove to from Surrey. Other than that we usually went camping for a week in the New Forest every year. We had no luxuries or treats all year round, and Birthdays there was a strict £30 budget, and Christmas a £50 budget – Then my parents would spend the year paying for the Christmas before! Things were tight but I never went without – no, I didn’t have designer clothes, I didn’t even have school uniform with a logo on it, but I had everything I needed and I had an incredibly happy childhood.
I have been watching the Council House TV show and that, along with my view of society, has made me incredibly angry.
I don’t mind the rates of rent for council housing being low, affordable housing is obviously important.
There are though, a lot of things I don’t like.
- I don’t like people making no effort to work, being given a council house and then having it paid for by the council anyway.
- I don’t like families with children getting housed somewhere adequate for their needs, it being paid for by the council as they don’t work, and then for them to have more children and need a bigger house. Stop having kids if you haven’t even got a job!
- I don’t think people should be offered council properties and be able to turn them down. People should be given a property. If they don’t like it – jog on.
- I don’t like people moving here from other countries, making zero effort to learn English and integrate with society – then claiming benefits and getting council housing.
- I don’t like the fact that kids can leave school and go straight on the waiting list for council housing – get some ambition!
I think there are a lot of things wrong in society today. There a lot of people that would love to work but can’t – single parents with small children and people that are genuinely disabled/unwell are two examples.
There are also a lot of people that frankly take the Mickey! ‘Oh there aren’t any jobs around’ – I’m sure there are minimum wage jobs available – being a carer, sweeping the streets or cleaning toilets. Lower your expectations, get off your bum and go do something.
Lastly, the youth of today seem to aspire to have a baby, have a council house and claim benefits. What happened to ‘When I grow up I want to be a ….’? When did kids stop dreaming of an amazing, bright future? When did kids start thinking that they’d rather do nothing than do anything at all?
Thankfully there are still a lot of people in this country with a good work ethic and good parenting who can show their children what ambition is and help the children grow up knowing that if you work hard you will succeed.
The future is bright, you just have to work hard and go get it!