There was a shock for Doug Foreshew when he visited a job centre to sign on last week after being sacked by BMW.
Advisers told him that because of his four hour a week gardening job at an old people’s home, his unemployment benefit had been calculated at just 50 pence a week.
“They told me that I’m eligible for the job seekers’ allowance of £60.50 a week, but that because I get £65 for my gardening I would lose most of that.
“As I have two children, I can claim tax credits. But they take account of the £640 a month my wife earns as a part time secretary for the council.
“When we sat down to work out our income and outgoings it became clear we’d have almost nothing to live on.
“Our total household income, including all benefits, comes to £900 a month. Our expenditure, including the mortgage, is £850 a month.
“That leaves us with just £50 a month for food and everything else. How is a family of four supposed to live on that?”