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My name is Jim. I lost my business in the recession. I’m 56.

Location: UK » South West » GL
My name is Jim. I lost my business in the recession. I’m 56.

“It’s been hard. I used to have my own signmaking company and I lost it because of the [change in the economic] climate. Then, I went into freefall. I started drinking too much. I tried to get a job for two years. I’m 56 now, but I tell people I’m 44 and I lie about my age. It’s quite hard for someone at my age.

“Trying to pay food bills out of benefit – there’s always a shortfall in your benefits. There’s far too many people like me unemployed. My children are grown up. One is in the army – my daughter. She is in Afghanistan. Two and a half years she’s been there – she’s come back and gone back out again. This government has not moved on the war. They are supposed to be coming out next year, but it depends what happens. She’s all right. She’s not on the front line, so she’s safe, which is a relief.

“My drinking was about getting down about the job scenario. That happened about three years ago. I got into the credit crunch and finding jobs has been difficult. Well – it is impossible. They will not give you any money whatsoever. About four months ago, I went to a job about running a pub and I had to pay to go there, because the jobcentre said No, we can’t pay your expenses. So all that’s been cut back. At the end of the day, if you’re only getting 68 quid a week – then how can you afford £14 to go to Wester-super-mere and back and have to pay £20 a week and then food about of that – about £40 a week. I find the jobcentre hard. But it’s really hard to get a loan to start a business again.

“The government at the end of the day – they haven’t done themselves any favours. They’ve cut all the benefit. They have made this country a lot less wealthier. There are a lot of young guys here [at the drop-in having lunch] as well. They’re not stupid. They want to work. It grinds you down a bit. At the end of the day, one government goes out and another one comes in and nothing changes – but places like this [the drop-in] really help. I used to come here twice a week here, but now I’m here on a Wednesday. I probably come once every two weeks, because if I can feed myself, which I can most of the time, I don’t like putting a strain on these people.”


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