Budget 1999: Case Study: The Low-Pay Family - `Life will still be a struggle for us'

John Goodwin, 35, and his wife, Jude, 31, from Manchester. Mr Goodwin is a student teacher, having changed careers. Mrs Goodwin does not work. The couple have two children Freya, five, and Max, two. His annual student grant is pounds 3,900 plus a student loan of pounds 2,700. They receive pounds 20 .75 a week in child benefit. They have outgoings of around pounds 440 a month.

BEFORE YESTERDAY the Goodwins and their children were living off little more than pounds 150 a week. This morning they will still be struggling, having been helped only marginally by a Budget they believe was designed for the better-off.

"There were no great surprises. I think it was the kind of mid-term Budget you might have expected," said Mr Goodwin, who is training to be a Higher Education teacher. "We seem to exist in a vacuum that never really gets addressed."

Mr Goodwin, who has two degrees - an MA and a BA in art - and used to work part-time in an art gallery, returned to college to try to improve his job opportunities. The family survive from his mature student's grant of pounds 3,900, a student loan of pounds 2,700 and child benefit of pounds 20.75 a week. They have no savings and survive through an overdraft and "sliming around the bank-managers".

The only changes to their income will be the reduction of pounds 50 on their annual car licence fee and the pre-announced increase in universal child benefit from April to pounds 14.40 for the eldest child and pounds 9.60 for subsequent children. (The figures are currently pounds 11.45 and pounds 9.30 respectively.)

"It has not been a budget that involves any philosophy," said Mr Goodwin. "It does not address the issue of whether lone parents should be forced to take a job no matter what sort of job, rather than deciding it is a worthwhile task to bring up children.

"Living how we do and where we do, it is so easy to see what happens if you ignore a generation."

Mr Goodwin said the Budget had not addressed public transport. "The other night I was at the bus stop waiting for the 7pm bus. I was there an hour and the bus never showed up and I had walk home in the rain. It is ridiculous that in a metropolis like this there is not adequate public transport to make what should be a 10 minute journey across the city."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee