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>Is there a "basic" card I can get
Yes. You want the CSCS Labourer card. You might see this referred to as the green card. The only qualification you need for this is a basic health and safety certificate, which you can get after a one day course. You'll also have to take an absolutely piss-easy exam on health and safety. The course, exam and card will cost you between £120 and £200 all-in, but you might be able to access free training, especially if you're signing on. Google "free cscs" and the name of your nearby towns for details. These free courses usually include some bollocks about numeracy, literacy and employability in order to qualify for funding, but it's worth the hassle if you're skint.
If you're under 25 and unemployed, you could be eligible for a development award from the Princes Trust. You can claim up to £500 for expenses to help you get into work - training and licensing, tools, equipment, clothing, and transport to work until you get your first pay packet.