Friday, 15 June 2012

A LOT of money?

On the same day that the BBC reported Child Poverty down as household income drops, not one panellist on last night’s BBC Question Time challenged an assumption of wealth from an income less than two grand a year above that defining poverty.

Responding to a question about the new immigration income threshold, Greg Dyke, who had earned some £300,000 a year as Director General of the BBC (he stated his income at paragraph 12 of this article) said:

£18,600 seems like quite a lot of money to me. It’s not a lot of money in some parts of the country. It’s an awful lot in others. If what we’re saying is we’re going to keep husband and wife, genuine married couples, apart until they can earn that sort of money, then I find it offensive.

Perhaps more offensively, this panel of higher rate income tax payers had already discussed “problem families” (at 19 minutes), apparently without any sense of realism to place “a lot of money” in context.The new requirement to sponsor a spouse is an annual income of £18,600 before tax.

That’s £37 a week more than “poverty”.

         £419   average Household income
         £289   immigration threshold
         £251   poverty threshold

That’s £204 a month more than the average rent for a one bedroom property in June 2012.

       £1,251   immigration threshold
       £1,047   average rent

After tax, it’s more than £5000 less than the average debt of a CCCS client.

     £20,023   average debt
     £15,010   immigration threshold

And before tax, it’s 11.6% of the average house price in England and Wales in April 2012.

     £18,600   immigration threshold
   £160,417   average house price

Whatever your take on immigration, believing that wealth is a few quid above state dependence is dangerous. How close to becoming a scrounger are you?

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