My project works with lone parents and builds their confidence and motivation to get back to work. But I am finding that it is harder and harder to focus people’s minds on the long term benefits of going back to work, because the present seems so chaotic and frightening.
In the last few weeks I have had parents in my groups who have been sanctioned for no apparent reason; face eviction because of the benefit cap; are paying back extortionate payday loans or are about to go into debt because they are going to have to pay the bedroom tax because there is nowhere for them to move to.
Add to this the below inflation benefit’s uprating, which I personally believe is shameful, and the introduction of the Universal Credit, which I welcome in principle but am beginning to dread in practice, and there seems to be a perfect storm approaching.
Anyone familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of need will know that people move forward and change their lives for the better when they feel safe. If they are in debt, worrying about their next meal, fearful they will lose their house and be moved hundreds of miles away they can only focus on that.
We need to give people confidence in the future if we want them to take bold steps.