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What's a "family" then?


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No, I'm not losing it (much). It's a serious question. It's a word that gets thrown about and never defined. It was particularly in use today at the spending review and I really don't know what it means.


There are parents living with 1-12 kids who are clearly a family, but given the 1-12 (and in some cases more but I can't bear to think about it) you would agree that it's rather a loose term. I live alone, I have pension age parents 45 minutes away but don't live with them, so am I a family, or do I not count? Am I a non family unit and therefore not considered in matters of income and expenditure?


This rather vague word gets chucked about like it means something and quite honestly I have to work hard to resist frothing at the mouth when I hear the term "hard working families" families don't work, or do they? Do people still send their kids up chimneys? I thought that was illegal. People work NOT families.


OK so I've used sarcasm here, maybe too much but my question is serious. What is a family and how is it officially defined, or is it an emotive term that can't be defined (as I suspect) but used to stop us expecting individual support in times of need. I seem to have heard it too much today in such a woolly way that it is meaningles yet I suspect there is a hidden agenda.


Any thoughts or should I just stop thinking and get treatment for the foaming problem?

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I agree with you, I am a single person living on my own, my dad (who is 77) lives in the next street when he is not being the 'geriatric globetrotter - currently getting ready for 6 weeks in California!... so I am my own carer, financier, cook, bottlewasher (before they go in the recycling bin) etc etc - do I get carers leave from my employer when there are problems - NOPE


By the way my great-great grandad was a Chimney sweep in Brixton, south-west London and had six boys working for him....

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Sillygirl1, I'm sort of glad I'm nt alone. When everything's being cut everywhere I look then I tend to over analyse and worry about words that are used. Particularly since I know that the governemnet is not the friend of the benefit claimant. Although that's not me yet, if I go downhill any further it will be besides my cousin (who lives 400 miles away!) has MS and is a claimant, I assume.


Anyway, I'm not sure there is an answer to my question, I'dlove to hear other opinions, but when people say "families will be better off" or "families will be worse off" i just think what on earth do they mean?

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There lies the crux of the last government, (and sadly the current PMs are family men), the family as the traditional mother/father 2.5 kids.... (I always wonder where the other .5 of a kid goes, perhaps these are the 'feral' kids...)


I am from a large family (7 kids all from the same parentage) and we are not considered 'newsworthy'. To take our wider 'family' unit we can round up 38 people from four generations in about a five mile radius, my dad, me & my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces and now their kids too (my great nephews/nieces) so does that make us a typical family unit... and within that are two 'mixed race' kids.


I suspect the government really means Family unit as in 'controlling social group'....

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Sillygirl, I suspect that is what they mean, but I'd suspect that they'd rather families were self sufficient units, with those earning supporting those not earning, but I can never be both and I suspect there are many of us who have no one else to rely on in times of need. I have cousins (400 miles away) but none of them earn much if anything. Nearby it's just my parents and they are on their pensions. I work part time due to ill health so I could no more support them than they could support me. This concerns me whenever I read comments on articles about benefits and people post stuff about how families should be relied on to support each other rather than the state. I know, there's another habit I should give up!

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Well said Fuzzgin. I'm reminded here of other somewhat indefinable and therefore "woolly" words and phrases that advertisers and spin doctors constantly use.

E.g. "common sense" (whatever the person who says it thinks is best - there is no real consensus)

The usage of such words and phrases seems to me like the verbalised equivalent of the loo roll puppy being used to make our minds associate the advertised product with feelings of warmth, cosiness and comfort etc. whereas what they're really selling is a sh1twipe. In many ways rather like the spending review!Heristical.gif

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Whilst we support eachother emotionally and occasionally financially as a family unit each group has their own priorities, the government seems to want to go back to the ethic "the rich protect the rich whilst the poor get poorer".


I for one am working in an industry where cuts are being made and may possibly be 'on the scrap heap' and expected to 'support my family unit' - having paid into the system since I was 16 the sort of attitude that 'people on benefits get them for life' is only of the governments making, most of my family (and I include my father) have rarely received anything other than the bare minimum, despite all of us working (which is why we are not 'newsworthy').


The government cannot look closer to home as it has little idea of the average family makeup, our local politician for instance has never done anything OTHER than government politics, going straight from school to university to politics and whilst at school did a lot of political rallying... what does he know about having your job cut every five to six years and what little pension you have saved towards eaten away.


Rant over for today.

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The other woolly phrase we hear a lot at the moment "we're all in this together". Oh no we're not (and already panto season is starting, or maybe that's just parliament). I really hate bein patronised by some millionaires who have never even had to apply for jobs, just relying on the old boys' network.


I too work in an area that's about to get cut. In my case, my local council. Already people who leave are not being replaced but the work is still there. Morale is so low that you could sweep it off the floor. A lot of colleagues are approaching retirement age and are seriously considering getting out. I'm 40 and the future looks bleak. Our local MP is OK, at least he has spoken out against the coalition his party have enthusiastically sold their souls to. Not sure how much use he'll be though.

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"Family" in benefit terms refers to a parent/child set up where the "parent" is financially responsible for a child. The child must be aged under 16 or aged 16-19 and in full time education, but this doesn't always refer to biological parents/children; it can refer to guardians, kinship carers, foster parents etc.


It requires a set up of at least one adult being financially responsible for one child - who the adult would normally get child benefit for.


"All in this together". That's a term the goverment have been spouting that I have grown to hate immensely.

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Being in a family unit with a disabled parent and a disabled child, I find the whole guff being repeated to justify terrifying cuts to the poor and disabled vomit inducing. Literally in the past couple of days.


The level of anxiety in our home is huge and we are relatively lucky as we don't need to receive housing benefit. The thought of what it must feel like to have the £26,000 benefits cap and an increase in the cost of social housing is horrific.


My husband has pointed one positive outcome of the governments cuts. By the time I get called in for an ATOS "experience" I'll be so ill due to the effects of worry I'll probably have been sectioned. He is such a cheery soul.

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Fuzzgin, you are a lot younger than me, I am 52, 53 in January, if my job isn't cut now then it will be in the cuts for next year, I am looking at early retirement on health grounds so I can do some part-time work... have a couple of leads I am working on - no way do I want to end up dependant on pitiful benefits.


The Government is trying a social experiment without having looked at the reasons behind the rot, that they let too many people into this country to keep the wages down and a portion of those people (and a larger portion of our own native people) have managed to manipulate the situations to their advantages, rather than benefit the Government.


I can remember when I first started work there was a 'two tier' system of unemployment benefit, if you had paid you got more, if you hadn't paid you got the basic. That got thrown out due to Human Rights.


Well, the Government have left themselves wide open to Human Rights abuse with all the current cuts.

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This thing about final salary payments for local government emloyees has made me think. There has to be a challenge to the idea of making it an average salary pension. Surely those who have taken career breaks and worked part time (mostly women) will be disproportionately affected. Surely some equal rights legislation that could challenge that?


Doesn't affect me personally in that way other than that my part time work due to chronic illness will count against me. Really no point in getting better to become a wage slave only to find I still retire on a pittance after 20 years or more full time and all the time I spent in the private sector before I got ill. OK, at the moment I'm self sufficient. I just don't spend much, but who knows what can happen to any of us?

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