Gransnet forums


Expat opinions!

(76 Posts)
ninny Tue 19-Mar-13 10:30:59

I cannot understand why expats who have fled this country for one reasons or another have such strong opinions re the government, the budget, immigration and welfare. Why not concentrate on your new life and country.

MiceElf Tue 02-Apr-13 19:49:13

I still have an aunt and two cousins who live on that estate. What has changed over the last ten years is that unemployment has risen from roughly 3.1% to over 11% by 2011. It must be worse now. It's not that people don't want to work, the jobs are just not there, and for families likes my aunt's whose youngest 'boy' has Downs Syndrome, the struggle is truly dreadful. There is a legacy of poor health, a school which was starved of resources, a lack of investment in local environment and increasing despair. And the rhetoric about 'skivers' adds insult to injury.

granjura Tue 02-Apr-13 19:24:59

How long ago was that MiceElf. My sil says the same, eg that it was not the case when he was a kid (he is in his mid 40s), when, according to him people did respect the benefits and took responsibility with rights - but that things have changed an awful lot in the past 20 years.

MiceElf Tue 02-Apr-13 15:22:15

Oh, and by the way, I was born and lived for a significan portion of my life on one of the largest and most deprived council estates in England. My experience was not the same as your son in law tough, GJ. Mind you, I saw a lot of disability caused by industrial disease and accidents.

MiceElf Tue 02-Apr-13 15:18:23

I'm confused. Claims have been dropped. Ergo, someone has found work or got better. Could you provide the evidence that those claims we're fraudulent.

Ceesnan Tue 02-Apr-13 15:03:24

I think the fact that over 800,000 claims for disability bebefit have been dropped in recent weeks speaks volumes about the culture of benefit abuse.

granjura Tue 02-Apr-13 14:54:56

A lot of it isn't 'cheating' nor fraud- refusing to take a job because it does not pay more than being on benefits is neither fraud nor cheating- but very very common - according to my sil, who, unlike me, has always lived on a council estate and where his mum and most family still do. He has worked so hard btw, that he has bought his mum's council house for her.

His reply will always be 'how long have you ever lived on a council estate?' and whatever I say he will (possible quite rightly) laugh and say 'you haven't got a clue, have you?' and there is little I can say to that. Most of the people he knows on benefits work on the black market cash in hand anyway.

Greatnan Tue 02-Apr-13 14:31:09

I am sure we all feel angry about people cheating the system because they bring all claimants into disrepute and take money from those that really need it. My only point is that it should not be assumed that cheating is on a much wider scale than is the actual fact.

granjura Tue 02-Apr-13 14:18:13

Fraud and 'abuse' are of course not the same thing. And my description of abuse maybe very different to someone else's.

Who am I to tell my sil that he should not be angry about all those people he knows, including one of his own sons - who will not get out of bed because he can get more on benefits than work - whilst he, and my daughter, work their butts off 7 days a week to try and make ends meet?

Greatnan Tue 02-Apr-13 14:06:12

I wonder why so many people insist on believing that a huge proportion of claims are fraudent, in spite of the government's own figures? Could it be that it makes them feel less guilty about the poor? The majority of people on benefits are in work - just in lousy jobs that don't pay a living wage. So that puts paid to the 'skivers' argument.
Of course, the right wing press will continue to roll out any idiots they can find who don't mind making Aunt Sallies of themselves, and their readers will continue to lap it up.

MiceElf Tue 02-Apr-13 13:17:48

So right, Joan. As I posted on another thread, fraud is 0.7% of the welfare bill. To read some of the tabloids and listen to the Condems one would assume, as a recent poll showed, that the figure is nearer to 40%. That doesn't make it right but in terms of the total amount it is very small. In any organisation and any context there will always be a few who abuse the system. And of the who do, a significant proportion do so as a result of the complexity of the system, having to sign on and off even if only a few day's work is found.

This may be of interest

Joan Tue 02-Apr-13 12:52:49

Yes, that's right Greatnan.

I maintain that benefit fraud, when counted over the country as a whole, is very low. In some areas it is probably high, and in other areas hardly there at all.

As for dishonesty - misleading information in the press is the worst kind of dishonesty, because it affects everyone who reads it.

Many years ago I worked for Social Security and some of us were drafted to a mining area during a miners' strike, to pay benefits to strikers' families (not for the men themselves). I knew exactly what the miners earned, as I saw a miner's batch of payslips every 10 minutes, but a popular tabloid printed banner headlines quoting their pay as one and a half times that amount. I went to their union leader and asked what was going on. he said "Look on page 6 or thereabouts tomorrow, and you'll see a correction". Sure enough, almost needing a magnifying glass, and knowing it was there, I eventually found the retraction. The general public would never have found it, and the right wing press would never tell the truth. The miners were thus vilified dishonestly.

This really affected me, because I was there, at the front of the issue and could not do a thing about it.

So what lies are being told in the press today? Most of us have only one defense - utter cynicism.

Greatnan Tue 02-Apr-13 12:09:52

I can't read that into Joan's post - only that anecdotal evidence from one area cannot necessarily be extrapolated to cover the whole country. As far as I can remember on other threads, nobody on Gransnet has ever condoned any kind of dishonesty.

granjura Tue 02-Apr-13 11:19:06

Are you really saying that because the *ankers took the country to the wall- any kind of abuse of the social system is OK, as it is proportionately not as serious??? This is what drives me crazy - this excusing of abuse at one end, because the abuse at the other was worse. Where does that lead us at the end of the day?

It is because I believe that the UK social system is the best in the world that I truly think abuse and fraud have to be dealt with very firmly.

granjura Tue 02-Apr-13 11:15:09

However, her partner lost his dad when young, and got very little support or help, and didn't do well at school either. And this is why he feels even stronger than her about all those who abuse the system - he never go support, but he worked so hard to keep himself, his mum and his younger sibblings, and later his kids - whilst most of his friends and family turned to the State.

He has worked 7 days a week and very long hours - and still does - and he just could not bear to watch the others just queue up at the dole office and say 'can't be bothered to get up early to work when I can get more on the dole' - including one of his sons (and many others in his family).

Joan Mon 01-Apr-13 22:03:18

Granjura I understand their mindset, and I'm sure your daughter's biggest asset was having you for a Mum!! I do hope their lives improve soon, and she can cut down the hours. I did read that countries like Greece and Spain got into the mess partly because their taxation systems are abused too much, which hugely reduces internal revenue. The honest, hard workers have to suffer and pay for this.

As for welfare abuse in countries like Australia and the UK, the statistics cover the whole country, so as a whole, welfare abuse is very low, but obviously there are places where it is concentrated, so if you live in one of those areas, or are familiar with it, you get a misleading picture. Well, an accurate picture of that particular area, but not an accurate picture of the whole country.

granjura Mon 01-Apr-13 11:58:28

Had a long chat with our youngest last night. She and her partner moved to Spain 2 years ago to start a new business - having done much 'homework' first. They invested all they had saved over many many years of very hard work - but have been struggling, due to currency exchange, and also the failing of the economy in Spain, which has also resulted in much protectionism from the Spanish, not surprisingly. Daughter speaks fluent Spanish and French, and some German - which really helps.

They are working very very long hours, 7 days a week to try and make their venture work - they have had to cut expenses to the bone too - and yes, they are totally fed up about what is happening in the UK. Both the *ankers - but also the fraud and abuse at the other end. I tried to say all the things said here 'but it is only a minority, there are not many scroungers and abusers of the social - and our sil just laughs and says 'yeah, when did you last live on council estate [where he was born and bred and where his mum still lives] - you have NOOOOOOOOOO idea what is happening' and the amount of excess, abuse and 'scrounging' that goes on'.

And what can I say?

They certainly wouldn't go back for anything in the world - and would never ever think of turning to the social - however tough things become, and whatever work they have to take. My daughter is currently working 3 different jobs, and about 80 hrs a week to make ends meet, and so does her partner.

Greatnan Sun 31-Mar-13 00:08:57

There are plenty of British residents, including some members here, who also seem to think that the country is going to the dogs! Why should anyone feel the need to justify being an expat? Oh, yes, because some people who know nothing about their circumstances seem to be accusing them in some way.

NannaAnna Sat 30-Mar-13 23:54:14

There do seem to be an awful lot of expats who feel the need to run down the UK for some reason. I've often wondered if somehow it 'justifies' being an expat in some way?

I've lived in the Middle East twice, and have come across countless expats who believe that every street corner in every town is awash with knife and gun wielding yobs, all unemployed and mostly illegal immigrants. They pronounce that the whole county is on state benefits and of course it pours with rain every day, forcing all remaining decent hard-working Brits to leave the country. They know for a fact that no one anywhere in the British Isles is safe walking the streets after dark!

It's laughable and irritating in equal measure, and of course not all expats are that stupid, but it does raise the question 'Why?'

Aside: What's the problem with posting a topic and then observing the exchange of opinions without adding anything more? If a poster has raised a question and the thread takes off, isn't that enough? I don't see why it's an issue.

granjura Sat 30-Mar-13 22:21:17

We must be very lucky - because we truly feel very comfortable in two countries- albeit in different ways. I still have a huge place in my heart for the UK, and still have a flat there and go back very regularly - to visit family and friends. But also our lovely stone towns, rolling hills, pubs, etc. Be it in East Leicestershire, which contrary to the (previous and arrogant) opinion of family in Surrey is just gorgeous, and so much more peaceful and quiet - or in Devon, Norfolk, Peak District, etc, etc. My dream is to visit Northumberland soon, as it is the only part of England we've never visited. One day.

merlotgran Sat 30-Mar-13 21:17:30

Granjura, your post made me smile. We know a couple who have a holiday home in Normandy. When they are boring everyone to death about the quaintness, the garden, the home grown vegetables, the lovely nearby town, the peace and quiet and the slow pace of life we think, Yes. We've got ALL that and it's just outside the back door!! smile

Greatnan Sat 30-Mar-13 20:45:33

I will always feel English, although it is hard to express just what that means - something to do with our ironic sense of humour?
I watch a programme called 'Wanted down under' and some potential emigrants have totally false expectations. They think Australia/New Zealand will provide them with dirt cheap housing and huge salaries and when they find the truth they are disappointed.

Is it essential to live in a country before you can hold an opinion about life there? If so, it is certainly going to restrict our discussions about world news.

granjura Sat 30-Mar-13 16:51:28

What is so silly on expat Forums, is that many will compare living in a rural village in Dordogneshire, and say it is much nicer than living in the suburbs of Birmingham or Reading! They could have had just the same contrast going to live in the Peak District, Norfolk or Devon (with more expensive prices though).

There is one chap on an French expat Forum I used to visit regularly who runs down 'Blighty' day in, day out - and has come to hate absolutely everything about England and say he wouldn't be seen dead there - how very sad.

Mamie Sat 30-Mar-13 16:43:47

I am sure you are right Margaret. Think the problem in Spain and France is that too many people watched #buildanewlifeinthesunearnmoneyforsittingonthepatiowithaclassofwine
and then found the reality somewhat different. Television channels have a lot to answer for!

MargaretX Sat 30-Mar-13 16:27:37

What I have got from this thread is another view of France! I am so pleased that the expats in Germany didn't come to live a dream, but mostly to work, speaking German of course, or like me, married a German. Some do moan, but most are happy here and don't want to go back. I shall never go back now.

Those of us who are in receipt of our pension have paid into this pension!

kittylester Sat 30-Mar-13 15:19:30

Surely, anyone is entitled to an opinion on anything confused