Advance English Lessons seventh

Rachel talks with Todd about 'the dole' in the UK and how people feel about it.

Todd: Hey Rachel, I heard that actually in Scotland if you don't have a job, that the government actually gives you money, like you don't have to work and you still get some money to live.

Rachel: Yeah, that's right. It's called unemployment benefits, or more casually it's just called the dole -- being on the dole. And you're only ... I think you're only entitled to it if you've actually been paying taxes for awhile and then you go on to something, a different kind of social welfare, but yeah.

Todd: So, if somebody's on the dole -- if somebody loses their job -- and then the government gives them money, how long can they be on the dole? Can they be on it indefinitely? Forever?

Rachel: I'm actually not sure. I was on the dole myself for a couple of weeks after I finished university. I know people complain about certain people in the country just never looking for work and being on the dole for years and years, but I don't think there's a lot of truth in that because when you're on the dole, you have to go to the employment office regularly for interviews and you have to show that you're looking for work, so I think maybe more of a problem is people on disability benefits. The government wants to reduce the number of people claiming disability because you can stay on that for years.

Todd: So for the people that are on the dole, is there like a negative stigma to it? Like if you tell somebody you're on the dole, do people look at you like you're a loser or something like that?

Rachel: It kind of depends on what social class you're coming from I think. Class is such a big thing in Britain still. I think for my parents generation, my father for example is quite middle-class and I think we would find it very shameful to be on the dole.

Todd: So, if you didn't have a job and you were on the dole, how would you feel? Would you feel funny about it, or would you feel like it was something that was coming to you for all the hard work you've done?

Rachel: I didn't feel bad about it at all. I felt like, "Yeah, this is great!" I paid taxes while I was working so it was kind of like getting the money back. It was sort a form of insurance I felt like.

Todd: So because you have the European Union, can somebody theoretically get on the dole in Scotland and then like go and move to Greece or Spain and just live on the dole in a cheaper country?

Rachel: I think that's not possible because you have to show up at the employment office on a regular basis so I think that would be impossible.

Todd: Oh, that's too bad because if you could, that's what I'd do.