There was a debate on the MSE forums a couple of days ago, someone commented about 'smug pensioners living on benefits paid for by taxpayers money and sitting on savings built up during times of plenty'. Times of plenty? I think I blinked & missed them.
I was born in the early 50's my parents & I lived in a house with no electricity, no indoor toilet & a cold tap in the kitchen, the only heating was a paraffin heater, the bath was a tin bath hung in the outhouse. We moved a few times and by the 60's we lived in a flat with a gas fire in the main room and a bathroom, there was a gas heater for hot water in the bathroom, there was only cold water in the kitchen. Midway through the 60's my parents split up, I had to move to an unheated bedsit & change jobs as mine didn't pay enough to live on. Even with my new job I couldn't afford clothes or bedding, I slept under a couple of coats. Friday was pay day, I bought a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese, I ate cheese sandwiches for 3 days and bread and scrape the other 4 days.
I married in the 70's and coped with the bread shortage, the sugar shortage, the 3 day week. After a while we bought our first property, a 2 bed house with, you've guessed it, no heating. My kitchen consisted of an old butlers sink, an old cocktail cabinet and a freezer, no cooker for the 1st year, I managed with a camping cooker, I had a twin tub washing machine and we slept on 2nd hand bunk beds. We had planned to fix the place up immediately, but by the 80's the mortgage rate went sky high, sometimes as high as 18% or 19%.
The kitchen was finally improved when we needed to move for work and the house was unsaleable as it was.
Life carried on and things did get better, but the kids, 4 by now, and I were always dressed in 2nd hand clothes, most of our furniture was 2nd hand and I still had a kitchen with a mish mash of cupboards and only one ring worked on my cooker.
Towards the end of the 90's, I was left a legacy, £25k, I spent some of it on having a proper fitted kitchen, no more doors hanging off, no more sagging drawers and a cooker that worked, woohoo!
Within a few years the kids had left home & my marriage had gone down the pan & I was living in a small flat with draughty windows, a badly fitting door, heating I couldn't afford to put on and only the clothes I stood up in.
I've worked since I was 15, I had 10 years at home raising 4 kids who are all tax payers, I'm past retirement age, but still working because I can't live on the £110 a month the government kindly allow me.