I just finished watching the BBC Panorama programme ‘Life on the front line after the benefits cap’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26924411.
I firstly felt sympathy for the London Council housing officers facing a thankless task, encouraging local tenants to make delayed life decisions, following the cap on housing benefits.
I also feel real sympathy for those reliant on Council housing through no fault of their own. It’s a shame the BBC TV programme didn’t focus more on them, on why Council tenants are willing to gamble that no matter who else is impacted, ‘I’ll be ok Jack/my case is special’ and on why unemployed solo parents aren’t getting the financial help they desperately need, from the absent father or mother of their children.
Whether British born, or first generation immigrants, parents in Britain have to think long and hard about their children’s best interests, including when it comes to housing them. That’s not left or right wing ideology, just simple ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ pragmatism. In the case of immigrants, they took a chance and embraced change once, coming to the UK for a better life for their families. So why loose that positive view on change and opportunity afterwards?
Charles Handy, management guru, once described how if a frog jumps and lands in a pot of boiling water, it will sense the sudden threat and take personal action (jump out fast). Likewise, if the frog lands in the same pot, but this time it is slowly heating up, the frog won’t sense the change and eventually cook. In my view, the same applies to parents in Council housing, especially in London.
Being a good parent, should take priority over being the Council tenant in a particular property, or in a particular location. Even if that means putting on a brave face, relocating to a cheaper town and seeking work outside of London, if necessary.
Ironically in life, the best choices (those with the strongest long term social or personal outcomes) sometimes involve confronting short term fear (of change), adopting the self-discipline to embrace new skills (it gets easier with practice) and adopting a change of mindset (glass half empty to glass half full).
London life is seldom easy, but the changes afoot bring opportunity for those willing to be realists. Finally, I doubt any child likes seeing his or her parents portray themselves as victims – behaving like a victim (even if you are one) rarely nurtures goodwill, parental respect or teamwork from the next generation.