Monday, October 26, 2009

The end is NI!

Last week I received a letter that felt like something of a marker in the story of Patrick. Patrick, I was told, will be issued with an NI number early next year. All I need do to make this possible is send in some details so that he can join the ranks of those of us that pay tax and National Insurance. Hoorah!

I was reminded of his earliest days. When he came into the world new and shiny, it felt as if he only belonged to me and my family. But slowly paperwork accrued around him - birth certificate, NHS card, hospital record, health visitor record; endless bits of paper about him that rendered him part of 'the system'. I remember finding this a rather depressing rite of passage but one acknowledged as necessary unless we were about to run away and live in a caravan somewhere, even then I'm pretty certain the bloody paperwork would have found us.

So here we are almost 16 years later and he is yet again being pinned down. Again I know it's necessary but I feel a certain ambivalence about the whole thing. This young man in the making is being categorised, recorded and numbered before he's even begun.

Still he's just told me his aspiration is to be a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) so the NI number will be redundant anyway!!! Hopefully that's a joke and I take comfort from the fact that he knows what a NEET is but it's hardly a lofty ambition. Mmmm, perhaps I will send off that paperwork!


Nickie said...

In a way, I'm relieved to read this blog post - I sooooo sympathise with you. Michael received his NI card over the summer holidays (he's a September baby) and I tried to encourage him to use it to get a part time job as he'd been having difficulty finding work due to the legalities of employing "minors" these days. No such luck!!

Anyway - last week I quizzed him about his intentions after school next year. He said, very unenthusiastically, that he thought he'd doss for a while because he didn't know what he wanted to do either at college or later in life (so, effectively surrendering himself to NEET).

I pointed out how much CTC and Child Benefit I received for him and asked him how he would replace this money as I'm sure he'd still expect to live here, be fed, be clothed, use the lights and the heating, etc.... It all worked out to be £60 per week BEFORE FOOD!!!

He's decided to take stock and have a serious think about college now.

Job Done!

Jenny said...

I don't think they realise Nicky. P thinks he can get his own flat and everything on a job in McDonalds! He does have some loftier ambitions which I try to foster. Aaaaargh!!!!!