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Monday, 11 March 2013

7 Reasons Why You Should Stop Bitching About People On Benefits.


 1. One day, it could be you.

The welfare state is a safety net. It is there to catch anyone who falls on hard times, including you. Say you got hit by a car and were tragically paralyzed from the waist down; the welfare state would pay you a Mobility Allowance so that you could still leave the house. It would pay for any special equipment you needed and a personal assistant to help you go to the loo, bathe and perform household chores. If you lost your job and were unable to find a new one, the state would support you until you were able to find another one. Sounds pretty fair now, doesn’t it?

2. What do you think the other options are?

Let’s be totally selfish here; the other option is that anyone without a significant safety net is made homeless. Two summers ago I worked out that if I took my family out of the picture, I was one month away from homelessness. Two if my landlord felt like being lenient with the rent. Would you seriously prefer that millions of people had to live on the streets (your streets) if it meant that you would have to pay a couple of pence less tax? 
As attractive as it is to bluster on about how we should kick everyone off benefits and into paid employment, the jobs situation now is rather like the time my local library gave me an extension on my library books because if I were to bring them all back at once, they would not have room on the shelves. There simply are not enough jobs and due to 'austerity measures', more and more jobs are being lost. The more impoverished the area, the worse the situation. 
Job hunting is a soul destroying process. I have been unemployed twice and both times I was spending around four hours a day, five or six days a week job hunting. I had an excellent CV, a whole bunch of qualifications and lots of voluntary work but the fact was that every entry level job on the system was attracting around 150 applications; jobs at places like MacDonalds and Tesco were attracting over 500. It really isn't that simple. 

      3. Seriously, the amount of tax you pay into the welfare state is a pittance.

Every time I ‘talk’ to people having a winge about their tax going to ‘scroungers’, they seem to have run away with the idea that they, personally are paying for that flatscreen TV they have heard so much about. Your tax goes to pay for many, many things including schools, hospitals, bin collections, roads, the legal system, the royal family, streetlights, the military and right now, for massive corporations like Tesco to get free labor when they should be actually employing people who need jobs. If you earn £20,000 a year, you pay 0.00003066 pence a year to each individual person on unemployment benefit. I don’t imagine you have paid for even 1% of someone’s flatscreen.

      4. If your objection is based around a perception that people on benefits are living a life of luxury, then I’m afraid I have news for you.

Being unemployed is not a crime. I know that must come as a shock to you, but I’m afraid it’s true. Every citizen has the right to the same freedoms, rights and basic standard of living, regardless of their personal situation. Your perception  probably came from sensationalist newspaper headlines urging you to grab torch and pitchfork because the Daily Mail found one family who, if you add up and tweak all of the benefits they receive, seem to be receiving a pretty average wage! And the bastards spent it on some really normal things! Kill them!
Words to look out for are ‘flatscreen’ (seriously, when was the last time you saw a TV that WASN’T flatscreen outside of a school science classroom?) ‘laptop’ (how many families do you know who don’t have a computer?) and any references to irrelevant lifestyle choices such as cigarettes, obesity or alcohol. And that large number emblazoned across the top of the page? Before jumping to conclusions, ask yourself some questions:
·      How many people is that split between? Often journalists will find a large family and add up every benefit they claim to make the number a lot bigger.
·      Where are they living? The amount of housing benefit paid to each family depends hugely on what part of the country they are living in and the size of house. 
·      Is the article comparing like with like? I have seen many, many articles that compare an ‘average working wage’ for one week with a jobseekers payment which is paid fortnightly or the total yearly benefit payment for a whole family with the average monthly wage for a single earner. This is because the papers know that if they tell you that a jobseeker is typically expected to get by on around £50 a week, even in London, they don’t have a story. 
Just as the NHS has no right to refuse to treat your brain tumor because you enjoy a drink on the weekends, you have no right to dictate how benefit claimants spend their money. Benefit claimants are not being punished and if you think they should be, go away and have a good long think about why. 

5. But I work for my money and I can barely make ends meet! Why should I pay for them to sit on their arses?’ 

This is one area where you may have a serious point-not about benefit claimants, I’m afraid you are probably still being a bit of a cock-but you are right about one thing. You absolutely should be earning the same if not more a year than someone claiming benefits. Why aren’t you? Because in most parts of the country, minimum wage does not equal living wage. Particularly in the current economic climate, the cost of living is rising much faster than the minimum wage. The independently calculated living wage would put most people at around £2000 a year better off; unfortunately, very few businesses pay it.
       THAT is something to get angry about. A popular rhetoric employed by Irritable Duncan Syndrome, one of my favouritest Tories in the whole wide world is that people are not taking or looking for certain jobs because they feel they are above them. He's in the right ballpark, but he came in from the wrong dugout. 
        The reason people feel that many minimum wage jobs are beneath them is that they are hard work, dull, demoralising and generally unpleasant and then on top of that, you still have to go home and choose between putting the heating on and having three meals a day. If I could earn enough to comfortably pay my rent, utilities and food bills and put a little bit aside for emergencies  I would happily clean toilets for eight hours a day. 

6.  Benefit claimants are not criminals.

I know I already said this, but it bears repeating. There are two prejudices here; firstly that the act of claiming benefits is in itself inherently criminal and secondly that people on benefits are inherently criminal. The first one is so ridiculous I’m not even going to bother; if you seriously believe this, you are so far gone as to be beyond saving.
The second one is a bit more interesting. I read a story in The Express yesterday about a woman who had carried out a reign of terror against one of her neighbors; she was a thug and a bully and made this poor woman’s life hell. A sad story you’ll agree, but hardly something for the front page of a national newspaper. But there was one key fact that made this story particularly newsworthy and that was the fact that this woman was ON BENEFITS and the woman she was harassing was A VETERANS WIDOW.
            This was such a grossly transparent manipulation that it genuinely stopped me in my tracks. It very clearly highlighted the shorthand of prejudice; the headline may as well have read ‘SLYTHERIN WAS MEAN TO GRYFFINDOOR!’, the caricatures are so firmly entrenched in the political and journalistic canon.        
      Politicians need you to think that these people are feckless and undeserving so they can get away with slashing the welfare state; Journalists need you to believe this so they can continue printing lazy, knee-jerk puff-pieces. Screw the lot of them over by remembering that all people are just people and a percentage of all people are dicks; I’d be more worried about what the rich and powerful dicks are doing.

7.  Supporting the most vulnerable in society benefits everybody

Poverty isn’t good for anyone. (Apart from the economic elite, who need
people willing to polish the parquet for a pittance). Impoverished people are less likely to invest culturally, socially or creatively in their community. Poverty affects the health, education and prospects of the people caught in its trap. It breeds resentment and apathy. 
      It is crunch time; do you want a society where everybody is empowered to contribute, where people value their communities and incentives to commit crime and behave antisocially are greatly reduced? Or do you want to punish the poor, the disabled and the downright unlucky because, eewww poor people are so last century? 
      



295 comments:

  1. well said....I will certainly post a link to this page when ever I come across the divide and rule propaganda comments against the poor and disabled

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    1. Well i agree with all you have said but my personal opinion is the benefit structure in this country makes people weak amd stops them from working i.e 1. I get more money on bebefits then i would working so whats the point.
      2. I dont want to do that job ahh you would'nt have a choice if it was'nt for benefits.
      3. How many 14,15 and 16 year olds would still have babies if they knew either they or their parents would have to pay for the birth.
      3. The more kids i have the bedrooms i get in my house
      BENEFITS are for people who really need it and the process should be veted and monitored. Why are so many people coming into the country..........Benefits! Wake up and smell the coffee. Get rid and let people stand on their own 2 feet.
      If the states can survive without it why cant the Uk
      For the right people it makes sense.

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    2. 1. You've managed to miss the point. The point is not that benefit payments are too high but that minimum wage is not a living wage. Only a tiny proportion of the welfare bill goes on jobseekers allowance. Most goes to pensioners, the rest to disability allowances and *importantly* working tax credits. If an employer is not paying enough to live on so the state needs to top it up, it is the *employer* getting the handout not the *employee*

      2. Teenage pregnancies are at their lowest rate since the 80s. Measures taken to improve education and contraception access since John Major's gov, continued and improved under Labour are bringing the rates down. 99.9% of teenagers do not want babies or have them to "get a house" - a) you're seeing the exception to the rule b) the question is why do those exceptions feel they have no other options ie education and social issues not the appeal of benefits and c) teenage pregnancy figures are mostly 18 and 19 year olds anyway.

      3. Plenty of recent research has shown migrant workers are LESS likely to claim benefits, less likely to use the NHS regularly and more likely to work and contribute to the economy than the local populace. Failure to accept these simple facts and say "sorry, I was wrong" is nothing other than xenophobia.

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    3. You've actually managed to not count to 4 properly. Don't worry, you'll appreciate the safety net soon enough with maths like that

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    4. Your case is rather undermined by your condescension in the above reply. Just because someone makes a typing error does not mean, as you seem to imply, that they are in need of state aid to improve their maths skills.

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    5. The other thing that the misinformed Cal has neglected to research is what benefits are available in the rest of the EU. Britain is no more generous than many of the other European countries - but it is, due to the high number of xenophobes, less welcoming. People do not come here for the benefits and there is no evidence whatsoever that they do.

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  2. Sorrel. you are a truth speaker you see and hear what most people fail to see or choose to ignore. This blog should be read by every working class person in this country.

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  3. Hello from Truro!What a great piece of writing and all based on truthfulness.Well done Sorrel,what a pleasure to see a young person so politically active,caring and informed.

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  4. Fantastic post...and so true.
    Thank you.

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  5. good points well made! thanks for sharing x

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  6. I actually don't have a flatscreen TV even though I work full time in a professional job. I don't begrudge anyone else having one though, and it is a flatscreen if you only look at it from the front.

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  7. Is this not just more hyperbole ? Of course there are people legitimately on benefits, trying hard to find work. If people think that all people on benefits are there out of choice then I don't think they're the kind of people likely to be swayed by a blog post like this. But this post seems to ignore the many people who are on benefits out of choice - who prefer to take from the tax pot than to work. I know and have known plenty of these people. They choose to allow tax payers to provide their living because it's easier than working. They don't have much money but neither do their lifestyles require it. I'm not much interested in what percentage of my taxes goes to an individual; I'm interested in what percentage of total taxes goes to people who have a choice between claiming benefits and taking part in our society and paying their own taxes. Your post ignores these people entirely. The methods you employ to represent figures is the same as those of the journalists you are complaining about - instead of "a couple of pence less tax", how about working out how many teachers, nurses, policemen, etc. could be employed if illegitimate benefit claimers stopped claiming benefits and got jobs instead ? (By "illegitimate" I obviously mean those who actually can get jobs - you seem to think these people don't exist). I wonder how many people on benefits actually do spend 4 hours a day looking for work. Do you think it's a high proportion of them ? Aside from all of this, you seem to have confused tabloid sensationalism with what people actually mean when they complain about scroungers on benefits etc.. I know for sure I don't mean people trying to raise a family and are desperately trying to find work - I mean people who actually are scroungers. I assumed this is what most people mean, and it is completely acceptable to bitch about such people.

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    1. You're spouting another myth of anything more than a tiny number of people taking the piss, its against the law already and they get caught and punished by the law for fraud. What you propose is kicking the legs out from thousands of people at huge cost to society just so you can feel safe that no-one can possibly be playing the system. This is the mentality of a toddler.

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    2. could it not be argued that these people who'd rather live on the pittance granted by benefits than actively work are actually providing a "service" by not hogging all of the low wage-jobs? If employers paid a proper wage then that would encourage people to find a job, and if not, that's more jobs available for those who want them.
      A lot of people who claim benefits are actually worse off when they get into employment (I've been in that boat in the past!); in these cases you actually get penalised for NOT scrounging. That's hardly fair.
      The onus here should be on employers to pay proper wages, and maybe on the government to lower taxes on small businesses who cannot afford to pay more (and of course, higher taxes on tax-evading mega-businesses who CAN afford to pay more).

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    3. B, I'm sorry to say that 'most people' are not the same as yourself. When they bitch they are not only referring to geniune scroungers. My personal experience is the total opposite in fact. The first thing of course, is that people believe the number of scroungers to be a lot higher than it is estimated to be by the government. The media hype has caused people to feel that most people on benefits need not be, when in reality the rate of benefit fraud, for disability benefits at least, is 0.05% (I'm not sure of the figure for JSA). As such, many people who are genuinely seeking work are being targetted in hate crime. My personal experience is that of a disabled person (hence knowing the figures). The media has generated so much hate towards the disabled, that I frequently receive abuse for simply using a disabled parking space. I've had people kick the stick I rely on for walking, from out beneath my weight. People often make unfriendly comments, assuming that because I am disabled that I am claiming benefits (I'm not); it is blatantly obvious that many many people assume all disabled people to be "scroungers"; people taking their money from them without deserve.

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    4. logically speaking there will always be a small few playing the system.. does this mean on a whole everyone should suffer?

      now everyone seems to hate a scrounger claiming benefits maybe even doing fraudulent work on the side and not declaring his earning.. hell the government have as good as said they want them named and shamed..

      now l looked up the definition of scrounging, to one is "To obtain (something) by begging or borrowing with no intention of reparation" and this is what is assumed of everyone claiming benefits.. aka they sit at home sleeping all day.

      now heres where it gets ironic another meaning is "To forage about in an effort to acquire something at no cost", so companies like tesco are foraging for unemployed labour at no real cost to themselves in order to acquire profits.. then you have MPs on six digit salaries claiming upto 90k expenses on everything down to the kitchen sink, compared to the real working man who now likely works nearly 365 days a year to make ends meet to their 150 days they spent in parliament last year "WHO" is taking who for a ride with tax payers money!! and believe me they own allot more expensive things than a 40" flat screen TV.

      and then we have big business.. getting away with billions in tax.. they want something from us "money" yet they will do anything to get out of paying as much of theirs in order to raise profits even if it means playing with tax loopholes.. and why dont they close? because those millionaires who can afford to use them donate to political parties... hell even politicians use them.. and while the population is arguing about who is more lazy than who, maybe we should be arguing about who is or isnt playing by the law the rest of us have to follow by PAYING our fare share of taxes...

      my point being is why we are all pointing at those claiming benefits.. yes there will always be a few fraudsters and lazy ppl.. and lm sure we all know someone who we have worked with who goes to work cuts corners and does as little as they can for a days wage and get away with it.. but lm not talking about the small time person you may work with.. lm talking about the big companies who pay little to no tax just because they are registered in such a way that profits arent immediately taken offshore or put into the name of a foreign national.. lm talking about those who speculated for their own greed those like the bankers who are still making millions at our expense which says to me that they are above the law after all they can afford justice.. just like all those bullingdon boys.. where as those of us down on our luck will have no access to it now access to legal aid will be a thing of the past.

      suffice to say fairness is dictated by those who have the most greed.. kinda funny how some of them think those of us at the bottom have the least to loose.. after all l thought the whole idea of welfare and the NHS was to preserve the most important thing "the lives of the countries citizens", but these days it seems to mean the english capital and those with the largest bank balances.

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    5. (i)If you really know or have known many of 'these people', then you should identify them.
      (ii)Yes,a high proportion of benefit claimants spend several hours a day looking for work - I was one once (I am fortunately a pensioner now), and I had to prove that I was 'actively seeking work' - I had turn up at the Job Centre every week with a list of the jobs I'd applied for...I doubt if the regulations have become more relaxed since then.

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    7. Your mythological Frank Gallagher characters simply don't exist in any great number. The vast majority of welfare is paid to those IN WORK who have to claim them in order to make ends meet, not those who are feckless, workshy drunks (as you seem intent on portraying the average benefit claimant to be). This is because private companies are, in effect, being subsidized by the government as a result of their unwillingness to dent their profits by paying their employees a minimum wage that is equal to a living wage. Until that changes, we won't see a substantial decrease in the welfare bill (other than through draconian and grotesque cuts like the "spare room subsidy"). End of.

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    8. You're missing the point - the idea that the majority of people on benefits could easily get jobs and don't need to claim benefits is a myth used to sell newspapers and justify austerity measures that punish the poor and protect the wealthy. No-one is arguing that it's acceptable to claim jobseekers allowance when you're actively avoiding looking for work, but the people who do that are a tiny minority of the unemployed.

      Unemployment is a consequence of economic factors, not a personal choice. That's why it goes up and down with the state of the economy, not in correlation to how lazy people are feeling that year.

      You say you don't begrudge people desperately trying to find work - and yet those are the exact people you support stigmatizing by saying it's fine to indiscriminately bitch about benefits 'scroungers'.

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    10. "I'm interested in what percentage of total taxes goes to people who have a choice between claiming benefits and taking part in our society and paying their own taxes. Your post ignores these people entirely."

      I'd suggest that Sorrelish's post ignores those people in an attempt to redress the balance, because almost every hit piece you read about welfare and benefits ignores the majority of claimants who are using the service legitimately.

      Furthermore, I'd suspect that there comes a point where people have been unemployed for so long that they become institutionalised by the benefits trap. The disparity between benefit provision and the rising cost of living means that the longer you're on benefits the more defensively you have to manage your finances and your lifestyle as a whole. It comes to the point where you're not trying to make ends meet this month, but you're trying to make ends meet for last month. Life becomes a battle against drowning, and swimming back to shore becomes less possible.

      I'd also add that the longer you're on benefits, the less likely it is that an employer will give you a chance. This has always been the case and for understandable reasons, but after decades of propaganda (and I can think of no other word for it) against benefit claimants it would be naive to think that this hasn't got worse and far more prejudicial.

      People often tell the long-term unemployed to get a job. Very few seem to understand that employers should be giving the long-term unemployed a job. Employers are half of the problem.

      I was out of work for the whole of 2011. I applied for over 200 jobs, got no more than 20 replies and was interviewed only 3 times. My CV is good, I've run my own business in the past and all my references are solid. In the end I got a job working for a mate's business. Everything I've said above is from my own experience.

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    11. As you point out, bringing in minimum wages is pointless when their are no maximum payment restrictions for rent, gas, electricity. With current government policies, more people are going to be pushed out of employment due to apparently uncontrollable rising costs. Resulting in a bigger burden on the welfare state. Eventually the landlords of property and the 'landlords of businesses' may have to reduce their prices, due to less welfare being paid by the government......But how many thousands will be sleeping on the streets and in shelters before this adjustment occurs ?

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    12. the reason for so many out of work? simple, our business owners have exported millions of jobs and the way the unions behaved in the 60's and 70's just encouraged them to export more. take the incapacity benefit capital of the UK, Merthyr Tydfil. the rot started with Hoover moving to Italy, that took away all the supply industry jobs, the coal mines closed, spread out a bit more and the steel works closed and so it goes on. Nottingham lost its bike industry. Stoke the pottery industry the losses go on. the banking and insurance industry call centres gone to india and the like. Millions of jobs gone and we wonder why the unemployed cannot get jobs.

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    13. I think you're missing a very large point. The majority of claimants have worked and paid in to a system billed as National 'Insurance'. In my case I have paid tax and NI continuously for 28 years, since leaving school and now, whilst ill, I am labelled a scrounger and a burden by the very people whose wages I have helped pay. The government members have many millions of gold circular reasons for acting they way they do and using the divisive language that has become so common. It allows their patrons to make even bigger individual fortunes off the misery of others and ensure that the likes of Cameron, Blair, Brown et al are set for very nice retainers from their paymasters in the future.

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    14. in reply to exion: you say that people on benefits can actually be worse off when they do get jobs... but that shouldn't matter! If you can work, you do work surely?
      I am 20 years old and I have worked for my money and paid my taxes since I was 17 years old. I overheard a conversation between a girl in my year at school and another girl. The girl said that she would recommend having babies as she got herself a house without having to do or pay anything for it. She then went on to say that her and her children deserve a bigger house with a garden. She has never worked a day in her life. When do I get my big house with a garden?

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    15. "That shouldn't matter."
      Really? If someone is living hand-to-mouth on benefits, do you really expect them to pay for the priviledge of working? Would you? Would you take a dismal, dirty job that leaves you exhausted and unable to put food on the table or pay your rent or keep your house warm?
      Well done, you spent 3 years paying tax. I'm guessing you still live at home and have yet to discover that your wages fail to meet your needs. Forgive me if I am stereotyping myself.
      Would you have children living on the street because their mother didn't work? Should children pay because their parents don't play by the 'rules'?

      I have absolutely no problem paying for 'social security' I believe that we should support those that can't support themselves. If some people take the piss, I can live with that. I object to the tax dodgers, the ones that steal from the state in order to line their silk pockets. The haves that can never have enough who take from the have-nots and begrudge them pennies when they steal thousands. They sicken me.

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    16. It is totally acceptable to 'bitch' about people. Athough I do not disagree with your comments above, I will in no way will I stop bitching about those with not intention in working and just reside on hand outs or people feeling sorry for them, Those that actually make it harder for the genuinely needy and the disabled. Those that through no choice of their own, but circumstance who find the need to get help from welfare, I feel sorry for.

      I will never make excuses for those that know how to play the welfare system. I will not stop having an opinion (bitch) to comfort others. NOT all benefit seekers are 'scroungers' but like anything else in life the bad ruin it for the good. I know of people that have needed help in the past and they gave up trying, even though they paid years of stamp, family members. Actually I also see family members that are 'scroungers' and no intention of working, yes, because why should they as they ARE better off not doing so and YES they are better off than myself and my partner who both work for ourselves, but on low income. Difference being we have pride and a lot of the ones that we are not meant to bitch or have an opinion on, do not have pride, in fact they have little conscience.

      So those I do feel sorry for are those that are very unfortunate in circumstance, those disabled and those on such a low income they still keep working to keep head above water and pay off their debts. Those that work and lose their homes and no help to find a deposit. NOT the type that go on Benefit Street and other reality type programs then whine because they look bad, and then want a pay off.

      And top of my list for bitching is the lazy fatcats.The top and and the bottom end are the ones that ruin it for anyone else. We had a wonderful welfare system, to be used as a stop gap, not a way of life and not to be used and abused by any form of parasites

      And what I do get sick of, is people making excuses for a minority, when there is still reason for people to get annoyed. It is well within peoples rights to have an bitch/opinion.

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    17. Bernadette Bridget - I totally agree. I was a single working Mum for many years and I saw first hand how respecting myself, having personal pride and working hard didn't pay off when I could have easily sat on my backside and taken everything coming to me - like others I knew. Yes it could have changed my quality of life but I do know that had I been unfortunate to be out of work and not have my own home - I did lose one as I couldn't afford the mortgage - I would have made the choice of putting my children's needs before my own.

      No-one should have to justify how their own money is spent I agree, but when I see and hear unemployed people moaning they can't afford food or heat for their families when they still continue to smoke and drink I wonder what kind of morals they have. Additionally there are those that feel they have a 'right' to be given hand outs. I am sensible and intelligent to know that most are genuine claimants who would rather be out working and are trying hard to do so where possible, but I refuse to believe that the minority is actually that small.

      Unfortunately there is a huge divide now between the cost of working and the cost of living which has forced the benefits system to grow from it's original use to a massive monster that - while still helping the genuine in need - supports the ideals and opinions of those who refuse to go out to work when they can.

      And whilst those people are still in existence; being a hard working, struggling taxpayer, I am still going to have my opinion. Freedom of speech is exactly that. It should be allowed regardless of others' opinions and no-one should tell me to stop 'bitching'

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    18. I agree with the post. I grew up in a poor area, in which most people claimed benefits but most importantly they had NO work ethic. They'd all live in their tiny little bubble, eating chips and smoking fags. Jobs were around then- for people who wanted them!
      My mum and Dad were amongst a working family. Mum worked three part time jobs and Dad was a bin man, not great money, but they worked hard. I'm not pig headed enough to believe that all people who claim don't need it, and I understand that personal circumstances can change. I have claimed JSA twice, both times for a few months but then been offered minimum wage jobs, I've taken them without consideration, because I was brought up to work hard for a living.
      My point is most people understand a difference between those who need to claim benefits to survive and those who use it as a career, because work just doesn't appeal to them. Generally it's easy to spot the difference.
      I'm sorry to say that most people defending this culture have no real knowledge of this world and the people in it. The topic is just being used as a 'let's get our pitchforks and head for parliament'
      To end; if you are claiming benefits and wake up early in the morning, do some voluntary work, walk far and wide to do all you can to find work, then you've probably entitled to a bit if "state help" if not then think carefully, do I deserve this money, when some working family probably won't get a day off for weeks in order to make ends meet. ITS ALL ABOUT WORK ETTHIC!

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  8. We're often told that the Royal family is a bargain because it costs each taxpayer 12p a year. How much a year does each taxpayer pay for unemployment benefits?

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    1. Actually, the Royal Family makes money for us. The money made by the Crown Lands is more than 8 times what it costs us to keep the Royal Family in its entirety. If we decided to get rid of the Royals they would simply fall back onto the Crown Lands (which they still own; they voluntarily give all the money to the government in return for a yearly salary) and become just another rich family.

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    2. The Crown Estate is owned by the Crown, not by the Windsors as their personal property. As the Crown Estate website itself puts it, "The property we manage is owned by the Crown but is not the private property of the monarch." So no, if we decided to get rid of the royal family, that estate would not be theirs. It is the property of the state, currently (but hopefully not forever) embodied by the Crown.

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    3. "Why "The True Cost of the Royal Family Explained" is wrong, a shorter version" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2IO5ifWKdw).

      I highly recommend that Gavin watches this 10 minute presentation to see that overall the Royal Family is a net loss to the state rather than an income generator.

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    4. Comparing the Royal Family and Benefits claimants is a spurious argument at best. The 2 things are not alike and are not related.

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  9. 5.a Actually most benefit claimants DO get off their arses and work, it's just that the wages they're paid aren't enough to keep them going.

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  10. There's another relevant point which sort of combines 2 and 4.

    Lets suppose that there are some people out there making large claims. The woman recently demonised for having 11 kids for example. She is claiming quite a lot of money, and in an ideal world would have learnt the benefits of contraception while she was in school.

    But she didn't, or perhaps had the kids while she thought she was in a position to support them and then things changed. Something. I don't know the details, and I wouldn't expect to get them from the Hate Mail.

    What else would you prefer is done about these kids? Should they be taken into care, which would almost certainly cost significantly more than keeping the family together? Should they be forcibly adopted by nice middle class folks? Should they be given the freedom to starve? Should they be left with no options but to steal or go on the game?

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    1. The woman in question just kept having kids, despite being an out of work single mum. This was her decision. Someone like that does not deserve to have her children as she clearly lacks the ability to look after them. In that case care would probably be better for those kids so they do not have to live with someone who is incapable of either rational thought processes (sex - condom = kids) or grasping the concept of responsibility (kids + more kids - money = bad parenting).

      As far as the benefits system in general is concerned, something needs to be done to provide more money to those who need and deserve it, while stopping it going to those who have no business receiving government welfare.

      Delete
    2. I believe this situation in particular came up on Question Time within the last few weeks or so and allegedly the woman in question was steralised or given the injection to stop her having kids (or something to that effect I can't remember the actual phrasing) and whatever it was, that it simply failed.

      I can't answer any of those questions because I simply don't know what the answers are, and I can't assume that a solution to any given situation is correct.

      Delete
    3. You realise that if she was a state-funded childminder rather than their mother she'd be getting a LOT more money for it, right? Even if she's only just fit to be a full-time mother, 'the taxpayer' is better off with her getting benefits to sit at home than if those kids were in the care system - and the kids are better off too.

      Delete
    4. Although I agree that people shouldn't just keep having kids they can't support we have to realise that if we don't support this family we are just storing up problems for the future. These kids exist so its better to work with them and show them a different way that includes some optimism for the future, because, if we don't, then there will be 11 more 'troubled' adults.

      Unfortunately every service that might have helped these people is also being cut back, who will pay in the future? We will of course through increased money going to the Police, Courts and NHS to deal with them. It wont be the top earners, they'll already have had tax cuts to encourage them.

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    5. It's as simple as ABC. Stop rewarding the irresponsible and lazy. Drug test welfare recipients. Welfare is not a career.

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    6. Portsmouth Dweller: "The woman in question just kept having kids, despite being an out of work single mum. This was her decision. Someone like that does not deserve to have her children as she clearly lacks the ability to look after them."

      I would like to see your evidence that she lacks the ability to look after them. To say that she does not 'deserve' to have children is shameful. For all you know she may have 11 incredibly happy, healthy and well-balanced kids thanks to the fact that she is able to stay at home and be with them. (Not that I'm saying the children of working mothers aren't this way!) The fact of the matter is that she lives in a country where we are fortunate enough (for now, at least) to know that if we have children that we struggle to pay for, the state will help us. She didn't bear 11 kids that were ever going to starve, she knew she would have an income even if it was from the state.

      I think you'll find that the number of people who can truly 'afford' their children is an incredibly small proportion as even those in work are eligible for tax credits, help with childcare, all medical care and so on. We ALL benefit. Your comment belongs underneath a Daily Mail article, not this one.

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  11. Fantastic - thought provoking and intelligently written. Next time I find myself under attack from idiots who believe that Benefit Claimants Are Scroungers I might just throw this article in their face and then wait for penny to drop...

    Although sadly for some of these people, it never will.

    Hope you don't mind if I follow your blog!

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  12. You're completely missing the bigger picture, it's the state, taxes etc that causes inflation through artificial pricing, currency devaluation, nation debt, debt degradation, wasteful spending, they cause a dependency and through regulation they cause a lack of jobs. It doesn't matter whether people on JSA are genuine or not, the root cause of them being there in the first place is never being addressed.

    No doubt a lot of people on JSA are making little pro-active effort to finding work, and I don't blame them, they're given a free ride, whereas being taxed to death on a low-income job is an untenable decision because the starting base of pay, combined with having to pay said taxes, bills and the VAT on just about everything, they've priced a whole group of people out of living independently. Get rid of income tax (for everyone), get rid of small business and medium business taxes at the very least (remember, it's them who employ people in the first place), get rid of minimum wage, no one can afford to pay far above market value for someone to empty a few bins and do a bit of sweeping, that's an unintended consequence of minimum wage and it's harming people and it's taking away opportunity to get into a career path. Also, get rid of all this stupid regulation about how long you're allowed to work for, 37.30 hours is nothing, it's a breeze, if people want to earn more, let them have at least the opportunity to work more hours by default. Employers aren't suddenly going to turn the work place into a gulag, because they won't get anyone. If the government did all of this, businesses would boom, everyone would be better off and actually standard would improve; but this won't happen because everybody wants the free stuff from the government, and I can't say as I blame them, given the alternatives.

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    1. Ahhh finally someone I can agree with :D

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    2. Getting rid of tax is no solution. If this was done, the market would adjust accordingly such that the *real* value of take-home income would become the same as it was before, even if the numbers were different. The only difference would be less government expenditure on the public infrastructure that the private sector relies upon.

      And there is no such thing as "artificial" pricing, just market forces based on what different people want. Government is just another powerful force that affects the market. It too relies on debt just like any private business that sets its own prices and no doubt wastes money in various areas too.

      Finally, "emptying a few bins and doing a bit of sweeping" is a perception from ignorance - many jobs seem much easier than they are. I recommend you try it for a while before you assume. And many people do work far more than "37.30" hours when they take their job home or continue working "unofficially" out of hours just to get the job done.

      I recommend you steer clear of Libertarian nonsense.

      Delete
  13. My local job centre has a fine advert in the window claiming that the average amount of time someone spends unemployed in this area (Essex) is just 2 months, so on top of all of the above, the time the average person spends unemployed will be paid back out of their own tax/NI contributions in short order. In fact, for most people who've been working for at least a couple of years beforehand, those 2 months aren't even enough time to get off contribution-based JSA, so they've basically pre-paid for their own period of unemployment.

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    1. Well said. I've recently discovered, to my detriment, that making voluntary NI payments when out of work, or self employed, does not entitle one to Contribution Based benefits at all! So, after all my years of working, then a few years making voluntary payments, I'm now not entitled to the benefits I paid for. It's a whacky ridiculous system!

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  14. Bravo, bloody well put. Although the real question isn't "Why are these scroungers living off my taxes?" but "How the hell did they get elected in the first place?"

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    1. They didn't get elected though did they!?!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Shared, I see far too much of this 'scrounger' hating. I just got diagnosed with a genetic tissue disorder and can't work, but of course as many disabled people are, was found 'fit for work' by ATOS so currently have NO income. I would be homeless if my friend wasn't so generous. I haven't had heating all winter, and I often have to skip meals. It's a shame that the government don't want to help young people like me and would rather let them rot. :( I'd love to be able to work but I need a lot of support to get me to that place physically.

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  16. A very large proportion of benefits (working tax credits, housing benefit) are paid to people who ARE in work, but who are not paid enough money to survive, according to UK basic subsistence figures. I presume these people are on minimum wage or similar. They are working!

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  17. Single mother on benefits:
    I raised three children with the help of benefits. Two of them are currently at university and third is almost qualified after completing apprenticeship.
    Without benefits who knows what would've happened to them or me, but with secure home life, minimum income and social housing they are now well on their way to being high earners and high tax payers (after they've repaid student loans)

    Politicians are using benefits issue to divide and conquer, please don't let them. If the good people stick together there is hope for all.

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    1. Hear hear..i was in the same position as you raising three children on benefits. My girls are both nurses now although it was stuggle. My disabled son who is now 21 years old is at university and is working hard in engineering with the intentions of getting a job despite all his problems and i too would not have managed this without the help of benefits. My daughters are paying back into the tax system. My son is now fighting for the funding to carry on his university studies, he graduated from college with distinctins! If this funding is cut or taken away at this crucial stage then he will loose all identity and be stuck in the benefit system!! Please people do not think bad of us on benefits!!! Through no fault of our own.

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  18. I don't know how it works in different areas or how it was in the past, but since Tories came into power, everything has been slashed. I really don't know anyone up north who lives well on benefits or who can even exist on benefits. The best Job Centres can do is to pay your national insurance contributions if you are on Job Seekers and looking for work. That's the case if your partner is working, which is how it was with me and my husband. Because I am working, he is basically not entitled to anything. So if we starve because we choose between heating and eating it's our own problem.
    So I have no patience for the yellow press taking few irregular families and making it look like this is a norm for everyone on benefits, while conveniently avoiding the subject of big corporations tax avoidance and the government of the rich claiming expenses on everything from toilet paper to door knobs.
    Of course I also believe that there won't be a benefit system or any sort of welfare system in the future because UK is in so much debt it can't sustain this illusion of wellness anymore. The whole financial system is gonna collapse at some point, and all this mass media propaganda just prepares people to keep calm and carry on...

    An excellent article, thank you!

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    1. I'm not disputing anything you've said, I just wanted to say that I'm from the South East, and my partner from Liverpool. I have crippling anxiety and have been housebound for well over a year now, so can't work. he's just managed to get a job after searching for 2 years. We've been trying to work out how we can afford to live together. From what I've found out, we would actually get the same or more benefits in liverpool than down here, and the cost of living is significantly less (renting is roughly half the price, for example..oh! and home bargains! man I want one of them round here!!)

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  19. Really well put. but socially we have a responsibility on benifits or not to vote & have our voice. Do you know that people fraudulently claiming is 0.06%?? But yet big companies not paying ANY Tax is a huge 40billion a year that the government (instead of getting them paying propr tax) is taking money out of NHS, police, council services All things us "lower classes" need but yet are being taxed because of these multi million pound businesses won't pay there tax. Why do hardworking people get ripped off and stomped on? Because these companies like there 60million profits every year...Disgusting.

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    1. Don't forget the 70% payrise MPs proposed for themselves!

      Delete
  20. Couple of things - benefits are not paid from taxes at all. Benefits are paid out from National Insurance, hence the name, it was our health insurance, our unemployment insurance, and NI is something that most people on benefits still have to pay while they're claiming. Nobody's tax money pays any benefits whatsoever. Not DLA, not ESA, not JSA, not Income Support, not one penny of taxes goes to paying for any benefits, even child benefit, council tax benefit, housing benefit - they all come out of National Insurance.

    Some benefits are taxed as well as having NI contributions taken out of them, so there is even less to go round.

    A lot of the people who bitch about "scroungers" don't stop to think that they are also getting benefits - child benefit? Working tax credits? Even single people getting their 25% council tax reduction are benefiting, so what next? We attack all single people now?

    People bitch before they bother to think. Like they don't stop to think how much worse off we'd all be without the NHS, and how many more people would be out of work without free health care, or how there would be families with children living on the streets in cardboard boxes. But it's ok, because they're alright Jack! They're also the ones who when they go to claim go on and on about "I paid into this system for x years". Yeah, so did we, mate, and we still are.

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    1. Differentiating between NI and TAX is just semantics - it's simply tax with another name.

      Obviously the benefit system is absolutely essential but ANYONE trying to argue that abuse of the system simply does not exist in meaningful numbers lose credibility from any argument they put forward.

      The fact is people on both sides of the argument seem hell bent on propping up their beliefs with unsupportable and unprovable statistics whilst dismissing out of hand any valid points that challenge their mindset.

      Until we are able to assimilate information objectively and form opinion based on fact and not rhetoric and hyperbole we'll get nowhere.

      Oh, and instead of blogging ad nauseam , we would be better served writing to our MPs en mass - or heaven forbid attend a surgery or two.

      One thing is for certain - while we argue constantly amongst ourselves on sites like this the people WE elected are sleeping soundly in their beds.

      Delete
    2. Unprovable statistics? Here's the DWP page that shows how much was under/overpaid in fraud and error for 2011/2012.

      http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/index.php?page=fraud_error

      That's the DWP's own figures. Doesn't look, to me, like there's all that many benefit "scroungers" out there fraudulently claiming, how about the rest of you?

      Delete
    3. Actually, to the best of my knowledge, there is no difference once the money has disappeared into the bowels of Whitehall, the money just goes into one big pot to be doled out by the Government as they see fit.

      Delete
  21. I would like to say that I don't bitch about people on benefits unless they are one of the few that are playing the system to get something for nothing - those that are capable and know they should be working but aren't even trying to... And yes, they are not the majority, but yes, the benefit fraudsters (aka thieves of society) do exist.

    However, on first reading the above, I'm sad to say that I didn't even get past point 1 without getting riled up...

    Tomorrow I am facing a second tribunal because the 'One day it could be you' came true for me in Nov 2011 - I was made redundant. The first period of unemployment since leaving school almost 15 years ago... and the 'advisor' (who I came to know as evil bitch that likes to make grown women cry) at the Job Centre did everything in her power to deny me the JSA I was entitled to, resulting in me being unemployed with no income of my own and even my mortgage insurance wasn't prepared to cover me because I'd stopped receiving JSA and it was tied to my NI credits which the job centre refused to pay.

    Needless to say in the few months I was job hunting, I ate through my savings paying my share of the bills and 16 months later, I'm still fighting "the system" to get the support I had needed so badly at the time... I'm glad to say I'm now employed again through my own merit and without the 'help' of the job centre.

    So yes - one day it might be you, but because there has been such a culture of people cheating the system - good luck in even getting the support, help and benefits that you should be entitled to... :(

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    1. Oh man. What an absolutely horrific story Tracey. I been helping on the sickness and disability side of things, so yours is the first time I've seen a story regarding JSA. Your story is fairly similar to my own, except that my problem is with ESA; again though, I was forced to eat through savings because they wouldn't allow me benefit, and therefore do not have NI for last year in order to try to claim this year. It's an absolute nightmare isn't it :(

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    2. Tracy, as someone unwillingly underemployed, I sympathize. I just have to say though, the benefits are being ratcheted down NOT because people are cheating the system, but because the government wants it that way. When benefits are higher, you have a choice not to accept bad employment. Lowering benefits is about disciplining all workers, even if they're good workers.

      Unsurprisingly, in this day and age, more corporations now offer fewer benefits for working, like pensions - because all business needs is to threaten workers with the sack to motivate them.

      Delete
  22. Go girl let the truth be told!!

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  23. thank you, so nice to hear common sense especialy point 1
    as an example i lived in Canada for a few years and paid high rates of tax ( near 60%) plus the social insurance of around 13%, but I couldn't claim unemployment benefit if i lost my job ( its was an immigration theing ) .
    Did I care? Not one iota, why ? because of point 1
    if unemployment is a lifetyle choice then tax evasion is a deliberate business choice. If the government/ media wants to claim an issue of benefit fraud then publish the figures, at the same time publish the turnover, earnings and tax paid figures for the top 50% of companies in the countries and include all the media outlets as well who like to like go on the benefit scrounger hate mob rally

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  24. I'm going to upset everyone here now. Please note that this is a long post and that most of the questions phrased here I consider to be rhetoric - I do not desire or require answers.

    I'll openly sat that I dislike those claiming benefits while being both capable and able to find work. Many of those that have posted above have stated official fraudulent claims figures... which I presume are based purely upon the numbers of people actually taken to court and convicted (citations anyone?) This therefore ignores the number of people that we are all aware of that do any of the following - only apply for jobs that are unobtainable; appear for interviews and deliberately dress/act poorly; can't be bothered and openly state that the reason they won't be taking any job offers is that they own more on benefits; moan that they can't get that front of house position/managerial job/local council work, but show up to their interviews in torn jeans, with unwashed blue hair with multiple facial piercings, etc. We all know plenty of people that do these, and more besides, and yet we decry the evil government that wants to cut the benefits.

    Dont mistake me - I claim benfits too. WORKING tax benefit (no, the caps are not a mistake.) But I hate those 'claimants' who insist that the world owes them more than they have, and expect me and mine to pay for them to live in the lifestyle they choose. Yes, you can argue that everyone has the same right to choose their lifestyle. BUT... why should I help pay for theirs, however much it is? Should we all refuse to work? Who, then, would pay for our alcohol, or our holiday in France?

    As one poster noted above, it is not technically our income tax payments that are used to pay for our benefits system. The poster also correctly notes that is instead supported using our National Insurance contributions. However, that individual stops short of pointing out that it is still the contributions of those who are working that support those who are not. Worse still, what of those who have never had a job, and have no intention of getting one? Where does their contribution come from? And before someone levels a gun at me and pointlessly states that their National Insurance contributions are paid for while they are claiming benefits, stop to ask where those contributions are actually coming from. That's right - the income tax of those who choose to work.

    I truly believe that the majority of benefits claimants do so in good faith, that they only intend to use those benefits to which they are entitled, for only as long as they are needed. I also believe that the number of people claiming 'fraudulently' is many times higher than those official statistics show, likely upwards of 10% in the case of JSA or disability, and that something needs to be done to make this number come down, or that an appropriate punishment can be found for those caught.

    The biggest issue has already been talked over though - that there is not enough incentive to work for minimum wage. Foe those arguing that this is not enough money, bollocks. I live in a an area with a relatively high cost of living, and was working on minimum wage for a few years. Stop blowing your wages on a Friday night out, and concentrate on what you need. Of course you can enjoy a night out, but spending £50+ in a single night as I have known many people do, and then bitching about it, is ludicrous. And for those arguing that they get to afford smokes and a night out while claiming benefits, and thinking they should be able to do more while working, consider this: does this not indicate that you are getting paid too much in benefits?

    Much work is needed to address our benefit state. Too many people are claiming for benefits they do not deserve. For those wanting to avoid a reduction in the amount paid in benefits each month, perhaps you should consider how much our national benefits bill could be reduced by if those false claimants were reported and taken to court.

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    1. The very low figure for benefit fraud is one I have come across before as the government's own estimate of the reality. The majority of people on JSA would much rather have a job (but there aren't any because the employers can get people for free on workfare), the majority of people on ESA would love to be fit enough to work; many would love to be free from pain, exhaustion, struggles to cope with the difficulties presented by disabilities. Just because some disabilities and health problems aren't actually visible doesn't mean they don't exist - just that you can't see them.

      I'm disabled, I'm not working although I have worked for many years until recently a physical (invisible) disability added to my mental health disability in a way that led to my employer dismissing me as unfit for work. I can't of course receive ESA (Work Capability Assessment) or JSA (since I'm not actually fit for the work I'm qualified for and not qualified for the work I am fit for). So I don't claim. I'm one of the lucky ones, I was able to sell my house and move to somewhere much cheaper so I can live on my savings. VERY FEW are in that position and when pushed off benefits as all too many are they are left to STARVE!

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    2. My thoughts, exactly.

      Nobody would deny help to those claimants truely in need. Circumstances can be cruel at times, and I'd like to think help would be available if I needed it.

      I just wish everybody would use their noggin and understand, some claimants are just plain idle. Like you I've seen it first hand and it makes me furious.

      I would never criticize individual's in true need. These are the people who these benefited are actually in place for. I would openly give my wages knowing that I'm helping somebody whom needs it.

      Delete
  25. That Daily Express article is utter horseshit. 'the woman was on benefits', they might as well have said the woman was black. What difference does it make if she was on benefits or not. People are assholes, regardless of their employment status

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  26. Differentiating between NI and TAX is just semantics - it's simply tax with another name. 

    Obviously the benefit system is absolutely essential but ANYONE trying to argue that abuse of the system simply does not exist in meaningful numbers lose credibility

    from any argument they put forward.The fact is people on both sides of the argument seem hell bent on propping up their beliefs with unsupportable and unprovable statistics whilst dismissing out of hand any valid points that challenge their mindset. 

    Until we are able to assimilate information objectively and form opinion based on fact and not rhetoric and hyperbole we'll get nowhere. 

    Oh, and instead of blogging ad nauseam , we would be better served writing to our MPs en mass - or heaven forbid attend a surgery or two. 

    One thing is for certain - while we argue constantly amongst ourselves on sites like this the people WE elected are sleeping soundly in their beds.

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  27. Much as I agree with all the points you've made, I'm afraid I have to question your 0.00003066 pence figure. This would mean job seekers were living on slightly over £12 a year. Benefits are low, but they're not that low!

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  28. Yes, it's a little known fact that 76% of all statistics are meaningless.

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  29. Going by some posts on here, the only people who should be allowed to have any kind of benefit are those who are disabled, and then only SOME disabled people. I say this because disabled people are the only group who didn't choose their situation, unless of course their disability was caused by their own actions.

    If you have children, you have them through choice. No one forced you to have them. Therefore, using some posters arguments, you shouldn't be entitled to tax credits, child allowance etc because benefits should be reserved for people who have no choice.

    In fact forget everything I've said, because ANYONE who claims benefit of any kind, instead of fully supporting themselves, could kill themselves and rid society of a drain on resources and simply by choosing to live are making a lifestyle choice which removes them as being eligible to claim benefit.

    Ridiculous? Yes of course but that is the road you start on when you state that only those who have no choice should get benefit. It is also the route that this government (I deliberately don't honour them with a capital letter) is going down when it suspends JSA for people who they, subjectively, say haven't looked hard enough for a job. The ridiculous thing about that is that it can happen if you don't fill in enough applications and AT THE SAME TIME if you do too many that you don't get!

    Also when this government refuses to pay benefit to the sick or disabled, stating that they are fit to work. Because of course some generically trained ATOS nurse knows so much more than your specialist.

    The system isn't perfect, no system ever will be, but I would sooner a couple of 'scroungers' got away with something they're not entitled to, than masses of people who need help being denied.

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  30. Predictably there are quite a few responses bashing benefit recipients. Get a clue! It's nothing but divide and conquer. The media has you so wrapped up in hating each other and fighting each other for the table scraps that you aren't looking at what's really going on.

    Wake up! Corporate welfare (tax loopholes, non-prosecution of rich tax-dodgers, bank bailouts, etc...) dwarfs social welfare by such a vast margin it's laughable. It's crony capitalism, they privatize the profits and shift the losses onto the public. They purchase our politicians through legalized bribery (lobbying) and then systematically screw us.

    Come on, the banks crashed the world economy, and we bailed them out with our money! Now they are back to making record breaking profits, but where are the jobs?!

    The banks have the money to lend and are taking advantage of record low interest rates, but are they lending it out to small businesses to create jobs? Nope, thousands are still unemployed thanks to the financial crisis and the government has the balls to kick us while we're down with austerity cuts. It's obscene.

    And you people fall right into the trap and blame each other. "It's the poor, it's the minorities, it's the immigrants, it's the people on benefits." They are picking our pockets and laughing all the way to the bank, and when they get there, their banker buddies laugh together with them. They're laughing at you, they're laughing at us! Because we're gullible enough to blame each other, just like they want.

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  31. Excellent point. let's stop bickering & bullying ourselves and write to our MPs, organize peaceful marches to get corporations to pay there fair share of tax. politicians should be renuwing the NHS, helping save youth clubs & projects. making sure police are better trained in dealing with disabled, sorting out public services. instead they use your money to bail banks out, cut our crucial public services and there getting away with it- remember your family's fought for you to have a voice by voting but no one bothers to vote anymore, we are the forgotten an we are the disenfranchised but we need to stand together and tell this government Enough is ENOUGH!!!

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  32. Another myth, is the one where someone suddenly needs to claim, either because their hours have been cut, or they have been made redundant, or whatever, then it is assumed by the ignorant, that all your posessions that you worked and saved for, somehow immediately evaporate into the ether. Two recent encounters I had are as follows (I was made rdundant from a good job, running an organisation helping people gain work skills),
    At the Jobcentre, with the bloke signing me - "That's a bit of a posh car for someone on Jobseekers isnt it?". "It's only a Renault. It was my company car but I was allowed to keep it as part of my severance". "Uh? Oh, sorry".
    A neighbour - a retired gent in a 'nice' area, "Been out cycling again, all right for some. How much did that bicycle cost then?" "Two grand or so" "What? Bloody scrounger! I paid for that!". "Er no you didn't, I did, when I was working". "Piss off scrounger - go back to your estate" "I live here, next door to you" (our house is bigger than his, too) SLAM of his door.

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    1. guess you live next to a Sun reader.. they really like to hear themselves blow their own horns

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  33. ever think that in an age like this where machines produce most of th e things that we consume and eat that large nubmers of people wouldnt have to "work"?

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    1. Oscar Wilde dreamed of the day when machines would do the work for us and humanity would be able to relax and enjoy the day. Nowadays the focus is on providing jobs for as many people as possible.

      Delete
  34. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” Elizabeth Warren

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  35. And I would also like to know - why is there this obsession with the size of people's televisions?? Is it a metaphor for this size of something else?? What the hell does it MATTER whether or not you have a large flat screen telly?

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  36. Thank you for posting this blog, I don't see how anyone could want to live off of 385.00 a month. I cant and that's what I get. Im a single mother with a high school student. The father was very sick. Things fell apart. Welfare made me look for work or they would take that little amount away. So I looked and I found work. I lost my job because of my disability. I found another job and lost that. I said I had a disability, mostly deaf, and other things. They sent me down to a mental health clinic to be diagnosed. The Clinic just handed me meds and said I wouldn't get any help unless I took meds. These meds grow breasts on boys and are band in Europe. I refused, I fought with Welfare about this. I got cut off my measly 385 for not complying. I found a Dr. who diagnosed me as having a over active back side brain that was giving me havoc and meds would make it worse. After years of struggle and still not being able to 100 % comply with the welfare program, because they give you impossible tasks so that you will look for work. They don't make it easy. They make it hard as hell. How can I see my Dr. more when my insurance wont pay for it ? These are the kind of requirements..... It has drove many to suicide. I'm sure of it. .Peace and love be with you all . Hope you never have to go there....

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  37. Hyperbolic gibberish with no real content or factual evidence. Speculative opinion with so much bias and contempt for a difference of opinion it's laughable.

    I've been there, worked through it and certainly may be there again in a position where you relax into your means and most can still afford to piss most of their money up the wall at weekends. Being 'paid' out in Benefits is a wage.. and as confirmed in this drivel, in more cases than not people are getting more than a minimum wage earner.

    Working in the community should be a requirement for those able and on benefits. More social interaction and skills relating to getting - or creating - work for themselves. This isn't a piece of writing to spark discussion it's a one sided opinion that leaves no opening to further the points but just respond as I have.

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    1. You assume that people on benefits aren't already working in their community which I say is 'gibberish with no real content or factual evidence.' The disproportionate numbers of women who are on benefits looking after children, disabled family members and elderly are testament to the fact that in reality you can't survive without being part of a support network that you both depend on and provide resources to.

      You dismiss the hard graft of ordinary people to survive on benefits. If you've got no money then simple things take time and hard bloody work. When my washing machine broke I lived like a 1940s housewife for three months. It took hours every day washing the families clothes and bed linen in the bath and ten times as long to dry. It nearly killed me. It ended when my daughter who lives (and works) away got on to what had happened and managed to buy me a new one on credit. Neither of us had cash to get the old one fixed. Just one example of how being on benefits itself creates work and costs you more when you need to invest in your household. I've got a million of them.

      Your tone and lack of real experience as well as obviously not reading some of the heart breaking accounts above makes me skeptical that you are really in a position to engage in meaningful discussion or that you have any interest in doing anything other than dismiss the experiences of millions by characterising them as scroungers ('most can still afford to piss most of their money up the wall at weekends' really? REALLY?) or somehow complicit in their difficulties.

      Delete
    2. where's your evidence that "most can still afford to piss most of their money up against the wall at weekends"? I spent four months on benefits last year between jobs, and it was hell. I practically forgot what the taste of beer was, let alone went out and got smashed at the weekends.

      You, sir, are talking out of your arse.

      Delete
    3. Who will pay the 15,000 yearly in childcare so that I can go to work? I can't make enough money to pay the child care that would allow me to work and I was making just $30 over the limit that would allow me assistance with my child care. I assume this post is coming from a young single man, who has not found himself the single parent of young children through no fault of your own.

      Delete
  38. and then you have people like myself who have been collecting disability for the last decade and im only 30 but my genetics didnt turn out the bets for me but at the same time i also found a way to collect my deceased fathers social security so i am not sucking tax payer dollars aside from my medical insurance coverage.

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  39. Good post/blog. It shows you have a compassionate nature. Some good comments too, some perhaps not so well thought through. However, the reality we live in is this.

    The UK, like the USA and large swathes of Europe and Asia is governed, owned, administered or 'run' - NOT by the people for the people but by banks (capitalists) for the corporations (capitalists) with the requisite complicity and cooperation of national 'governments' in order to provide the necessary labour for the corporations to get rich and make the bankers richer.

    Please, if you don't know about NEOLIBERAL capitalism, please find put about it. Read, research all about NEOLIBERAL capitalism, it's precursors, Liberalism, Conservatism etc, etc. Research all economics models, the different forms it takes, political structures in economics and alternatives, socialism, communism, anarchism etc, etc.

    Basically, get right into economics and political science. All, I promise you, ALL will become clearer. From the welfare state, moneterism, wars/conflicts, territories, history, colonialism... It's ALL in economics. WHY they do, WHAT they do, WHO for, WHO benefits from it all etc, etc. From political ideologies, to personal, national wealth, etc, etc.

    Ordinary people are rarely encouraged to make such detailed enquiries of economics...especially NEOLIBERAL capitalism. But do so. Set yourselves free of their manipulations. Understand WHY they have made society the way they have and WHO serves WHO...

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  40. Addendum: NEOLIBERAL capitalism is generally acquisition of ALL and EVERYTHING without limit, without end. Until it runs out. Then start on another 'commodity' until ALL is a commodity. EVERYTHING! EVEN your children. To operate this level of acquisition needs the CONTROL of a STATE to administer the requisite component parts of capitalism. Profit is GOD for want of a better description, but it works. When profit is GOD, to continue the religious analogy, imagine where "care" and "compassion" are on this scale? They have NO place on it at all. Hence the misery, destitution, abject poverty & suffering we see all around us everyday. All over the world. These things are necessary for the neoliberal economics of ALL UK political parties to function. Labour are NOT a socialist political party. The welfare state is a capitalist token gesture to prevent the embarrassing starvation of the social "underclass" (the disenfranchised) in order for the capitalists to maintain the more acceptable veneer of being "civilised" - they DON'T want to have a welfare state, but it works FOR them, thusfar, to do so. We are being controlled (governed) by "Statesmen" (State!) of the social "Enlightenment" period, using their economics models that are roughly 300 years old!! Economic history is VITAL to understanding why we are where we are now! Don't follow THEIR mass media, you'll just end up divided along imaginary lines, lines THEY want you to be distracted by while they plunder all they want to. Don't argue amongst yourselves, that's what the capitalists want you to do. Most people believe the way they are living is "normal", "right", "acceptable", to do THEIR will. George Osborne...rewarding those who "do the RIGHT thing"... Ask yourselves WHAT is that? Do the "right thing" for WHO? IS your job vital to human understanding? To the furtherance of better, fairer ways to feed the worlds people and protect the planet? Or have the hours of your life been bought by the capitalists to get richer? Learn about neoliberal economics. Learn ALL about it!

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  41. When my tiplets were small and I was working full time for the minimum wage my WTC and CTC payments amounted to 24k On paper I was living large. In reality my annual childcare costs were 15k (paid to the local Sure Start Centre managed by the local primary school) and we didn't have a pot to piss in.

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  42. OK. Those benefit bashing want some verifiable official figures from the departments responsible. Here goes.

    DWP Date released 20 March 2013:

    5 Unemployed for every vacancy

    "Pool" of 8.9 million "economically inactive" people of working age. This means people who have no job but are not "officially" looking for work. However for some reason last year 118,000 decided to look for work. This is on top of the "official unemployed" This could be early retired who's pensions are no longer sufficient, non working partners who's partners wages no longer suffice and those who's savings have been hit by low interest rates.

    Only 1.5 million out of 2.5 million unemployed receive unemployment benefit (JSA)the rest don't qualify

    HMRC
    Responsible for tax credits. Only 1 in 4 child tax claimants not working

    HM Treasury.
    Only approx 8% of welfare benefits paid to unemployed. Now that means a staggering 92% of welfare benefits is paid to WORKING people and families and the disabled.

    The 1 MILLION jobs created by this government last year is actually only 577,000. If you listen carefully to all the rhetoric you will hear them constantly say 1 MILLION PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS have been created. It was actually 890,000 ( by their own figure) however, 315,000 public sector jobs were lost during the same period giving a net figure of only 577,000. The 315,000 public sector job losses never being mentioned once. Not in the house of commons and not on tv or in other media. This was still lower than the number of people who lost jobs in the previous period.

    Now I challenge all those "benefit bashers" to go, check the figures on the relevant websites and then give me some alternative figures. Backed up of course by official data somewhere.

    I would also like those bashers to tell me how the Work Programme is going to get all them 5 people into the 1 job available. Bearing in mind new rules will soon mean you can't work part time and get any benefits.

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  43. Zzharg5 You seem to be missing the point !!

    Iain Duncan Smith not only attacked those not working but people such as yourself.

    "Those workers on benefits who fail to increase their earning potential through training or working more hours" This is not a perfect quote but near enough.

    According to said man even those working and claiming benefits whether full or part time are not doing enough and you are therefore one of the "Scrounging class"

    Now I don't know how many hours you work, what your pay is nor how much training you have undergone but, by your reasoning, I should believe said man and as you claim benefits, class you as a scrounger who is unwilling to better yourself as long as I am willing to support you.
    So could you please tell me, as the taxpayer I am, not claiming ANY benefits what you are doing to stop claiming benefits at my expense ?

    I assume you see what I am getting at and not making a personal attack ?

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    1. Get over yourself!! tax payers do not pay peoples benefits!!! so get off of your high horse!!! NI contributions and most people on benefits have paid tax too!!! Get a life, people on benefits do not owe it to people like you paying tax!! Not everyone has the potential to get to the TOP in regards to working and there have to be indians as well as chiefs and unfortunately hard workers are not always paid what they deserve and need to keep up with inflation!!

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  44. Very thoughtfully written, I am also sick of reading and hearing diatribes from those who see things in a simplistic way without really thinking about it. I agree with almost everything you say here. Keep up the good work, those who hate others simply because they are less well off or unlucky do not deserve to be the only ones with a voice.

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  45. thank you, i am mentally ill, and not able to work , the guilt i carry for not being able to work is enormous , i feel utterly worthless and nothing but a drain on society , i some times i should just be shot , so i stop costing the government and working people money , i feel i have nothing of value to add to the world as a human being as i cant pay my own way,the chances of me getting better are slim to zero, i am not happy to just sit about nothing , i hate it .
    i am a 36 year old woman,both my parents died when i was young, my father from a brain tumour when i was 9, the mother from cancer when i was 14 , i was left with a step-father who sexually abused me so badly, i had to have my damaged beyond repair womb removed when i was 23.
    i was thrown out of home at 15, at times i ate out of dustbins.
    when i have been been a bit better i have dome voluntry work for charitys and worked with handicapped people , i have done my best to contribute to society when i have been able too, at present i cannot.
    this is not meant to be a sob story, its just meant to make people think why some-one cant work.
    i expect if i could stop feeling so guilty about being ill, i wouldnt be as ill , and could contribute to society again, ever i look it seems to look at the scum on sickness benefit lazy good for nothings , yes that is how i feel but about myself.

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    1. Caroline dont ever feel you are a burden for a condition beyond your control. You have been though hell and back again. This is just awfull and my full felt sympathy goes to you. You deserve a break in life and all the help you can get. If YOU ever want to talk then bog me. Good luck with your life..you are a strong person.

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    2. Caroline, try not to worry about being a burden. Although the papers keep yelling about scroungers and heartless bastards ask "why should I pay for you?", there are plenty of us out here who happily and willingly give some of our earnings over so people like you can have something of a life.

      There are enough things that government spends tax money on that I don't agree with, so as far as I'm concerned I'm not paying for those. I'm paying for the welfare state, the NHS and the other human causes that tax goes toward. There are many others who think this way too - and we've got you covered.

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  46. This is a great post. Although I live in the US, this applies to here as well. I am a poor person who is afraid to apply for benefits because of the social backlash. A lot of my friends and family constantly remind me of how terrible it is and how much they hate people on benefits. I don't want to be hated and looked down on by everyone I know. By mooching off others and selling all of my possessions that I cherish dearly, I at least fend off this hatred. Sometimes I am even considering criminal action to make money instead of going on benefits. I am starting to run out of things I can sell, and people are getting fed up with supporting me themselves.

    And it's not like I'm somehow less human or less qualified. I attended university, got three degrees, have worked in both teaching and moved up in a previous career to management positions... but due to series of bad luck I've been stricken with unemployment. It's been years since I could find a decent and lasting job. Now and then I manage to score part-time minimum wage jobs around holidays in retail. These usually don't even pay enough for me to eat one decent meal a day. Forget all other expenses I may have.

    I am randomly living with friends and family. I don't have a car or my own personal access to most resoureces that others have. I don't have these things because I am poor. This makes finding a job even harder. Most jobs require you have your own reliable transportation. I had a car but I lost it to a fire. I can't get a new one because I don't have a job, I couldn't afford insurance so I didn't have a job, and I am too afraid to go on benefits to attempt saving up for a cheap used one.

    Usually I have a negative amount of money at the end of each month and have to borrow or sell things or perform odd labor for someone in order to make up for buying what I need to live. Now and then I have a dollar or two left over, and I will buy a soda. I feel guilty because I am spending my money on something leisurely like soft drinks instead of just drinking water. I feel like everyone else is going to judge me for the way I use my money because I am poor.

    It's a very difficult life. And people with this unreasonable political opinions are what make my life so much more difficult than it needs to be, when it's already hard enough being poor.

    My husband, who was forced into early retirement, is no longer able to go back to work. The money he receives from his pension from working hard for one company his entire life is very low. He barely affords to live. He does not have a lot of things he needs because he doesn't have money. We can't afford to live together because he can't afford to support me. We would not be able to eat if we lived together anymore. He is very unwell and suffers from illness, but he cannot afford medical treatment. He did everything the "right way" and never was on any kind of benefits. He worked hard his whole life and did everything the way people are "supposed to" do it. But even still, he suffers from not having money.

    All because people who are already priveleged and have plenty of money want to cry about paying an extremely minute amount of tax which they would probably end up getting taxed anyway for some new government program that replaced benefits (and did something much less helpful to society).

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  47. I'm a single mother of two in the U.S. who is claiming unemployment benefits while going back to school to further my education as an RN. I face this type of prejudice all the time. People will say things such as, don't have the kids if you can't afford to take care of them. No one plans for their spouse to have an accident breaking his neck that leaves him physically unable to work, leaving me to hold it all together. I would LOVE to be working right now instead of going to school, but I can not afford the child care. I am a licensed practical nurse and was only making $15/hr. You can not support a family on $15/hr, let alone buy anything extravagant. We are living on $1,200 in benefits per month while I go back to school in hopes for an increased wage that will allow me to earn enough to support us on my own. I often do not have enough money to buy basics like food, heat, and shoes for my kids. What is my alternative? Find an employer who will pay me enough to support my family and I will go to work today gladly.

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  48. The way the government advertise you'd think everyone was on the make.
    These are the official statistics for benefit fraud.
    Given the low rate of fraud you'd be right to wonder why such a fuss is made.

    http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/index.php?page=fraud_error

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    1. And what people tend to overlook is those committing fraud are usually working and claiming Job Seekers, so not lazy scroungers greedy fraudsters.

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  49. A fabulous post worthy of the widest possible circulation. I found it myself through Feckbook.

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  50. I chose not to go to university, because I wished to become self-employed. I tried to get a job in the mean time to save money for my business, and couldn't get one. My parents (who I still live with, because I cannot afford to move, but I still pay them rent) made me apply for Job Seekers Allowance. It was that or be penniless, and now, even my parents agree it could have been a better option to be poor. I have seen things in the past few months that have shocked and disgusted me.
    7 weeks ago, I saw a man signing on at a Job centre+, and he had to take his small child with him as he could not afford childcare and was a single parent. I was sitting near by and could he his personal adviser patronizing him and talking as if she was speaking to a ten year old child who had not done his homework. What had he done? He missed an interview because another one of his children was very ill and couldn't go to school that day. I watched this man get told off like he was a child in front of his young son. That is humiliating and degrading. But this man obviously had no choice in whether or not he got benefits because he has a young family to care for.
    I have been given an opportunity to take part in a recent scheme, New enterprise Allowance, to help me set up my business. After I complete a course, which I have saved up for myself for a very long time, I should be able to take part and get of JSA.
    I am still looking for work (I apply to over 10 jobs every two weeks, and sent at least 20 cv's out to other employers during this time), but my personal adviser decided this still wasn't enough and I was told I had to go on an employ-ability course, with the chance of getting an interview at the end with a supermarket. I didn't wish to go, and after attending the first day, I found I had the highest qualifications and after looking at the course content, I realized that it was a waste of government money sending me on a course that will "better my CV" (which the job centre already looked at, and they said it was brilliant), "better my presentation skills" (I speak with little accent, I don't swear, I am polite and in interviews and when job hunting, I wear smart outfits)and might possibly get me an interview. After sending my adviser a message explaining why I felt it wasn't the right route for me, I was told I had to complete it or I would lose my JSA.
    I am on a course I don't want to be on, it is wasted on me, when it could be used to help one of the people who were not chosen by the college.
    Furthermore, if I do get an interview, after hearing I am soon to take up a business course, I will most likely not get the job as the course takes up a lot of hours. And as this is a minimum wage job, with very few hours, the government will still be paying me money to make up my £50 a week of JSA.
    And, as this is a full time course for employ-ability, I do not have time to study for my upcoming course, or work on my business plan, product and many other aspects of my future career.
    WHO RUNS THIS SHIT?

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    1. To answer your question "WHO RUNS THIS SHIT?"

      The answer would be the same assholes that are now going on strike because their nice pathetic middle class civil service jobs are now getting attacked by the same Regime that make them attack anybody not working.


      Karl Marx believed that the collapse of capitalism was inevitable because it had within itself the flaws that would destroy itself. The basic flaw was that the type of capitalism that modern industrialization created cause two separate social classes to form. These were the bourgeoisie, who were the owners and controllers of the means of production, and the proletariat, who were the common workers. These classes were naturally at odds with one another and as capitalism grew, it would create more and more common laborers until they would so outnumber the bourgeoisie and be so tired of oppression that it would revolt against the bourgeoisie and overthrow it as the dominant class. Marx felt this would happen no matter what was done to stop it.
      Capitalism has not destroyed itself, not entirely and not yet, though many economists, even conservative economists, are beginning to opine that the redistribution of wealth from the many to the wealthiest few is behind the current global economic crisis, as a consumer-driven economy ceases to function when money no longer circulates. This leads to the loss of jobs, the erosion of the middle class, and greater unemployment, to name a few outcomes. The current Occupy Wall Street movement and its counterparts in more than 80 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide on October 15, 2011, are symptomatic of capitalism consuming itself, like an ouroboros consuming its own tail.
      The European Union faces severe economic difficulties, Greece faces the very real possibility of defaulting on its debts, and the eurozone and the euro itself may become casualties.
      However, back in 1921, Vladimir Lenin resorted to capitalism to help save the dying Soviet economy by instituting the New Economic Policy, suggesting that his version of a communist economic model was not functioning sufficiently well to survive on its own. Today, most of the world's economies are hybrids of capitalist and socialist economies.
      Marx's "proletariat" may be said to never have come about because capitalists were astute enough to preserve their positions by improving some conditions of the workers (like fewer hours, higher pay, unions etc) so that they never became the politically aware "proletariat" he thought capitalism would create. However, the OWS marches and their counterparts worldwide suggest that the sleeping giant of the proletariat may, indeed, be awakening.

      Delete
  51. Well sorrel, I thin you are an amazing person with an intellect to throw most people off of their bitchiness towards those worse off than they are. What a fantastic read. Well done,

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  52. Please read Patricio's Views on Google.

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  53. i was on Job seekers allowance because i couldnt get work due to a company that i had an apprenticeship with, which chinned me off because i had the ability to stand up for myself when i wasnt in the wrong, nasty office people.

    im now a british soldier, so the way i see it is good things come to those who wait and not everyone on the job seekers is just a scrounger.

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  54. Thank God, so sick and tired of listening to sad sad people bitching on and on about people on benefits. Two years ago, sat around having a lovely Christmas dinner when the subject veered towards foreign nationals and unmarried mums etc etc. Christmas day for God's sake. Got up and did the washing up, disgusted. Thank you. Thank you

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  55. This is a really great read, and everything is so well stated. I live in the USA but mainly follow people in the UK on Twitter, where I saw the link to this blog. Reading the comments daily around this issue from all my lovely friends from all walks of life, the voice that chants inside my head throughout it all is a sad, "Please, don't take the path of the US." I am over 40 years old and never received government benefits in my life and enjoyed private health insurance, etc. until a few years ago, after a marriage breakup, as a single mom. My former husband got away with not even paying child support the first 2 years after he left us for another woman. He was made to pay the past due amount back slowly, but those years took their toll on us. And we didn't go on benefits. I worked for $3.01 an hour as a waitress (because that's legal many places, as it's assumed your tips will, "on average" bring you up to earning the minimum wage) having previously stayed at home for several years with an autistic child after her birth. I worked when my other child was small earlier in our marriage. I was a trained dental auxiliary, but by the time my husband left I had been out of that field for years and so not current with skills and required continuing education not up to date. I was no longer legally certified to do that work. I ended up eventually going back to university as a mature student, but life has been hard. I juggled full-time classes, work, parenting an autistic teen alone, and oodles of homework.

    Then, I got seriously ill last year. I had mini strokes and got where left side was very weak, had difficulty walking, left side tremor, and cognitive issues. I have only been well enough to work again since the 2012 winter holidays. I am doing better health-wise, but not back to normal. There's no housing benefit here for anyone without dependent-age children and my daughter is now over 18. I have no medical insurance. When I had the strokes, I was at home alone and forgot to even eat for a couple of days. I have no family nearby and my daughter was (thankfully) visiting her dad on the opposite coast at the time. I wasn't sure what had happened. I lost spaces of time. It was very scary. When I was well enough weeks later to venture out and seek help, I finally got on a program for uninsured, but it was only for while I was seriously ill. There are so many here that are unemployed or otherwise can't afford health insurance right now, that resources are nearly nonexistent. So now that I'm improving, that program's run out.

    Sorry this is so long, but I grieve to read about privatization of the NHS. I was priveledged to study in England for 2 different terms, in 2009 and 2011, and I experienced the A & E four times in 2011 with initial and return visits due to an eye infection. I thought the system brilliant! I received excellent care. I had temporary private international student insurance during my time abroad because I wasn't eligible for free medical services in the UK as a non-citizen. My UK friends were absolutely shocked that my bill was over £900 (then $1,300 with the exchange rate at the time) for getting some eye drops, and 3 brief rechecks to monitor healing and vision improvement. I told them, "THIS is what you're not paying!" These are the kinds of medical bills we have in the US every day. I hate to see an increasingly slashed health and safety net in a nation I've always looked up to as exemplary in that regard. I have wished to live in the United Kingdom since I was a little girl. The place and people left me with such a wonderful impression. My childhood dreams of it were not disappointed. I hope a lot of things can turn around somehow for the better in both our countries. Great writing.

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  56. What a load of hog wash! In part there are people who you are writing about do truly needed benefits for one reason or another but there are some many that are just plain lazy and expect the taxpayers to pay for their weekly drinking sessions. I come from an area where the people think it's their right to get money for nothing. I couldn't wait to get out the area when I heard a teenager say "I can't wait to get out of school and go on the dole, get me a free house and money for booze every weekend and when I wanna go to spain. Get a crisis loan. We won't have to get up early again." I don't disagree that people need them if they are getting money for food and utilities but when they use it for sky tv, booze and cigarettes and moan that they need more money because they don't have food then they need to get a job. We are on very low income and we've been on the waiting list on council housing for god knows how many years now but we keep getting passed over with immigrants who come for benefits and the young kids grown up with parents who work the benefits system who's passed their knowledge on to them. Get pregnant for free housing and more money. The attitude of them if they don't like the house they are given they can turn it down and get another one or have one built by the council. When I tried to claim for benefits when I injured my back they told me I was entitled but was rewarded £0.00 but a guy who didn't work and had everything paid for who faked his back problem so he wouldn't have to look for a job received £250 plus per fortnight. I was obvious to the staff but got away with it.A human body can only have so many leeches on it for such little time before it starts to die. Same go's for this country's benefits system.So what would would you rather? People keep abusing the system until it collapses and then even the people who need it will suffer or the government removes the people who are a drain to the system and are able bodied and able to work

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    1. The majority of people claiming benefit need it.

      I am one of them. I did work, now I can't. The second generation of so called scroungers were created by Thatcher and the government of the day. They feel cut off from society, unable to do anything useful and are the minority. There is no work. There are no jobs for them. Where are the thriving factories, shops and offices in which they would be employed? If my son with a degree can't find a job, what chance someone with no qualifications? You are obviously more privileged than most. Lucky you. Wake up. You cannot put everyone in the same boat as one or two with a bad attitude.The system is not collapsing because of scroungers. It is stressed because there is a depression and not enough work. It has an ailing, aging population and allowed all its industry to be taken abroad, losing jobs and income. Then the lazy greedy bankers robbed us all., ~That's what the government are trying to deflect away from themselves and blame those who need help as the problem. Kick them while they're down, then divide and rule. What tosh, and you're falling for it.

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  57. (The State) " would pay for any special equipment you needed and a personal assistant to help you go to the loo, bathe and perform household chores"

    Not unless you are completely broke it won't because these things are means tested.

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  58. banks banks banks banks and those with more money coming in a yr than most of us make in a lifetime....
    pushing the costs up to keep the rest of us down, wages are long off what the cost of living is for a large % of Europeans.....
    look at what the usa done to themselves! yet when moodys says you're country's value is no longer aa+ it causes mayhem its not about benefit scroungers its the whole system
    business cant afford to take on or expand while europe bails company's out who produce but cant sell
    a little war in the middle east and petrol goes bonkers! wake up Europe`s gas and petrol comes from Russia!!!!! I agree with you Sorrel but it needs sorting at the top!
    F.Y.I when they get rid of the euro monetery system which they will only three countrys will come out smelling of roses the U.K Holland and Germany why ? U.K still got pounds Hollands system is spot on has been for as long as i can remember and the crafty Germans done what no one else done they have in storage all the deutche marks locked up waiting to pump back in the system

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  59. Awesome blog. I'm a self-employed (freelance cartographer) and live in Chester. When work started to dry up and I needed help with the rent, it took me by surprise how many local folks thought I was some sort of layabout. Award winning cartographer one week - dole scum the next. Landlords in Chester won't let to the unemployed (part of the reason I'm being made homeless in 3 weeks) and things are looking pretty grim (I'm currently on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme of £33pwk which ends on the 10th of April, at which point I will have no income (apart from a pending invoice)). What's more worrying than the poverty.. is the govt directed fear based hatred and lack of humanity from my fellow man. I've never looked down on anyone, raised occasional money for charity, and thought of others, yet some consider me lazy and selfish now. Well, ive never had an issue with anyone richer than me, I just don't want anyone to be poorer than me. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

    Thank you Sorrel for noticing the likes of me and for standing up to prejudice.
    I have a few art pieces left that I can't take with me when I become homeless so if anyone likes any of my art here: http://steffworthington.blogspot.com they can have it for free (if I still have it on canvas and if they'll pay for the shipping). Failing that I'll have to throw them out.

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  60. I am 59, disabled by a stroke, I worked all my life, brought up two children to work, saved for my pension and bought things like a flat screen tv. Several months back the council came to see me in my tiny sheltered bungalow and told me to claim benefits as i was going through my savings rapidly. My savings would have got me to 60, the age I should have retired until the government changed the marker, now I cannot retire until 66 and a half. So I claimed on the councils advice. A couple of months later I started getting letters telling me I was over housed due to the tiny box room. I am not a skivver or scrounger and yet now come under those titles due to bad press and propaganda from the government, even though I have only been claiming for a few months.
    Well done young lady for putting over the truth of the situation so many are facing in this country. Whilst people think that what they heard about skivvers and scroungers must be true they are playing into the lies and do not realise that one day their own lives could change course.

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  61. I agree with what is written in the article above. I hate it when people persecute others for something they don't really understand.

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  62. We all know about the bad "examples" loudly discussed by the press.
    Well, here's a consideration: JK Rowling used to be on benefits. I wonder, would we ever have had a Harry Potter book series, or a film franchise, if she had not gotten benefits when she arrived back in the UK with her infant daughter?
    Speaking of which, how much money has been generated from the taxes paid by JK Rowling now, and how much of an economic boost did the hooplah around her work generate? More than she claimed in benefits, I would assume...

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    1. I loved this article and applaud J.K on her stance:
      "J.K. Rowling, says she remains a citizen of Great Britain even though she's now a billionaire.
      The bottom line?
      Rowling loves her country, and she wants her kids to grow up there. And, as someone who once depended on the safety net designed to help those going through hard times, she feels a debt to her society.
      Here's Rowling in the London Times (via Chris Bertram of Crooked Timber and Frank Black) :
      "I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.
      A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug."

      Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/jk-rowling-on-high-taxes-2012-9#ixzz2OIjn2qmL"

      There are so many great points in the replies to this very well thought out and interesting blog. May I just say that more often than not, people are unemployed through no fault of their own, and also rely on the benefit system to get them through these stages of their lives.

      People on benefits are not scroungers. There are some scroungers on benefits, but these two things are not the same, and no one should make such sweeping generalisations.
      Whilst we are pointing fingers at our less fortunate neighbours our government is laughing all the way to the bank.

      We need to look at the bigger picture, the one which the government and the media are so anxious to distract you from: whilst folks are fingerpointing about scroungers taking £5bn per year not many folks are shouting about the companies actively evading and avoiding corporation taxes which amounted to £120 billion for 2011 alone.

      When we, the people, rally and fingerpoint at these companies...citing Starbucks here...this can make a difference. So why doesn't our government do the same??

      Stop attacking the 'have nots', stop assuming they're all scroungers, and point your fingers at the companies who denied the UK of £120 BILLION pounds in revenue, and don't forget to point your fingers at our government for allowing this to happen by not closing the loopholes and not only NOT chasing these avoiders/evaders, but almost assisting them by making cutbacks in the HMRC departments that investigated these. /rantover

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  63. Remember, those with money are happy when we fight each other. That's our system of government, that the working man is his own worst enemy.

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  64. EXACTLY.....there are so many ignorant people out there that I have to remind them of the truth!! Good on you for putting this out there. I hate people that judge and are that stupid they think they're immune/superior?? Unbelievably naive.

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  65. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2013/mar/22/jobcentre-sanctions-money-stopped-video

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  66. For all those in work who moan about paying taxes for the upkeep of unemployed scroungers might I suggest that you must be careful what you might just set in motion. .... Compulsory job share where half of your job is taken from you and given to the unemployed scrounger. The end result is that you will be much worse off. There is never going to be a situation of full employment where vacancies match the skills or experience of the unemployed. Who can you moan about then ?

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  67. Well said. Should be written in letters of fire on the door of every UK politician.

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  68. Capitalism thrives on high unemployment and low wages, this country is a paradise for the elite ruling class with money and their sidekick Politicians

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  69. Great blog post, thank you.

    The UK is in an economic quagmire but the Tories have done such a brilliant job of demonising those on working-age benefits they've stealthily deflected from the real issues. The UK's public debt isn't so high because of years of Labour's generous public spending (which brought with it economic prosperity), it is so high because the banks that brought our economy to the brink were bailed out. George Osborne now fights to protect the bonuses bankers are paid while people claiming JSA, ESA and IS are demonised. He will cut corporation tax to 20% when many companies (banks included) already bend the rules and make private arrangements with HMRC to pay virtually nothing. There is an endemic greed in our country and is NOT that of people surviving on just £71 a week.

    And did you know that the contact with ATOS costs more than it saves? The controversial work programme pays £16,000 to providers for each person they get into sustained employment. The cost of implementing UC will outstrip any savings. But, tough on benefits, right? That's the mantra. That's the POLITICAL spin and there are unfortunately people foolish enough to fall for it.

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  70. "Every citizen has the right to the same freedoms, rights and basic standard of living, regardless of their personal situation."

    I cannot even imagine my country (America) putting this into policy in my lifetime.

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  71. Just FYI, obesity isn't a lifestyle choice. It's based on BMI, which is a weight/height ratio, and it often boils down to hereditary body type more than habits. You can't just stop having a BMI over 30 like you can stop drinking or smoking.

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  72. Being one of the "invisible people" ie: disabled, I was sent to ATOS to find out if I was fit to work. Of course their conclusion was that I could. I appealed and before a judge was given the decision that I was unable to work for an indefinate period of time. Just this week I was sent another letter by ATOS to go for another medical assessment to find out if I could go back into the crowd of hopeful job seekers, with the treat of having what little benefits I do have removed if I didn't attend. I wonder what part of the word "indefinate" do they not understand!! I am 59 years old, I have severe arthritis in my back & legs. I can't walk more than a few feet, or even stand without being in great pain. I have no way of getting to these appointments, as I don't drive anymore due to the disability I'm suffering. I have no qualifications that would make me a valuable member of society!! Who the hell is going to employ me? All my working life I did manual jobs that entailed standing for long periods of time & lifting heavy packed boxes. There is no work out there for me now!! When will these morons get the idea that, as distasteful as the thought might be, there are people like me that need benefits through no fault of our own & stop harassing us to find a job!! Quite honestly I can say I'm looking forward to going for my "long sleep" ie: death, then at least I won't be a burden to this country anymore.

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    1. That's what they want: they want people to lose hope and voluntarily off themselves so the state won't have to support what they consider to be useless mouths. Hanging on to life is an act of rebellion. So hang on!

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  73. Who takes the harshest anti-welfare line? Those on state benefits

    I talked to families directly affected by the cuts and many wanted benefits themselves – yet resented anyone else getting them

    On a daily basis I spoke to people who were in receipt of tax credits, child benefit, ESA, DLA, income support and housing benefit yet still told me matter-of-factly "we don't claim benefits". Over time I understood that what this really meant was that they were striving to define themselves as something other than the endless media presentations of "scroungers".

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/12/anti-welfare-rhetoric-families

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  74. That is a wonderful article in the Guardian. It's a class thing, it's a stupidity thing, it's a tabloid thing, it's a divide and rule thing, but most of all it's a 'me' thing. I am good, 'they' are bad.

    No one in the 1980s was so stupid as to believe in mass dole scrounging, almost everyone is now. That is fucking SCARY. The reason - Murdoch and a dumbed down television culture that makes them believe they are smart, when they really aren't.

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  75. One small quibble in this otherwise excellent post:

    "Obesity" is not a lifestyle choice. In a world where fat people are relentlessly bullied and shamed, nobody would be fat if they could help it. Our bodies aren't as easily controlled as many of us would like to believe.

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  76. This is a truly excellent blog .... how refreshing to have so many honest and valid points of view instead of the emotive garbage which is put out by the red-top press and other Tory rags .... They know that telling people what they want to hear will keep selling their papers - which keeps their share-holders and fat cat press barons happy. The morons who keep buying them are just oiling the wheels.

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  77. Thank you - I am in Canada and I have shared this on FB as a lot of people here still fall into the right wing media's trap of thinking that welfare fraud is actually a thing that needs addressing. over here the government just wasted $9 billion on fighter planes that it cannot now take delivery of and yet somehow that isn't an issue but welfare fraud is.

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  78. This is just great, I might nee to quote some bits in a paper I'm writing. This piece just rounds up all that I've come to know and believe after a year on benefits and the last two months (thankfully and luckily for me) working, all the while dealing with the ignorance of people.

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  79. Frankly, I'd start with #2 -

    At the end of the day, as much as it may annoy you to help people maintain a standard of living on low or no income, the alternative is to . . . not do so.

    And that doesn't actually work. It costs society, and you personally, *more* to not do so. Instead of paying for basic medical care, you pay for last minute emergency intervention, instead of paying for basic nutrition you pay for saving someone starving on the streets.

    So make a decision, right now. If people aren't contributing to society at the level you feel they ought to be - Go full sociopath and try to convince society to have them executed. Or agree to maintain a standard of living for them despite that. But don't pretend that there is some level below basic human decency that you can maintain on the cheap - that doesn't work.

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  80. I am disabled, certainly too disabled now to work in a workplace safely and I 'should' easily pass the tests to get E.S.A. ( I say 'should' as you never know with ATOS ). I worked for 28 years as a Software Engineer and for 10 of those years I earned enough to be paying 40%-50% tax. I am now self employed making crafts in partnership with my wife.

    If I went on to E.S.A. would I be seen as a scrounger ? Would my life so far where I have never been unemployed for more than a week be ignored because I would be on benefits ? The answer to both questions would be yes. This government and the media should be ashamed of itself for portraying disabled people like me who have gone to the benefits system because they had to as scroungers.

    I was a staunch conservative supporter until these welfare reforms started, but believe me when I say I will never vote for them again.

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    1. Hi ratty,I can so empathise with you.After nearly 26 years working my husband has finally had to give in to his muscular dystrophy and give up work.He was under the illusion that as he had paid into the system for so long he would be treated better.not a word of it.From day one we have had to fight,fight for a adapted home,fight ATOS and win a very stressful tribunial(they apologised to him for wasting his and their time)And keep fighting every few months as he has to prove he hasnt GOT BETTER!.we live on the breadline and pray for the day we can retire from this...although even those goal posts they have moved.Ive worked myself for 23 years in the nhs and do not claim anything..because to do so would mean i would be hauled up before the ATOS beak having to justify why I have to help my husband to the toilet,get up with him several times a night,feed and clothe him,and take him out in his wheelchair.If anyone and I dont care who they are dare take us to task in the street I would quite happily punch them in the face.Ive learnt the hard way how to defend myself,and I will......there but for the grace of God go I.....should be the lesson the rock throwers need to learn.

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  82. So glad that this is being said by someone other than myself. I used to work with these sorts of people, and in six years I came across a handful of people who abused the system, 99.9% being as described above. It was also those same folk who were most vociferous in lambasting the Poles, for taking all the jobs and scrounging benefits. They can't be doing both, I would explain, however, they had to keep their diatribe going so that no one looked too closely at themselves. The government and mainstream media do it for the same reasons.

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  84. You have some valid points, my prejudice as you put it is not against people on benefit, mobility or disability allowance. My gripe is the peolpe that take the p---- ,the people that are lazy, the people that waste money because of an unfair benefit system. I am not complaining about the tax I pay, or the fact I haven't got a council house. I actually do clean people's shit up for a living 6 days a week, I had to go self employed and create work to survive and pay rent. I have often been in the position of food or rent, I have struggled all my life always paid my dues and have been homeless on at least 2 occasions, forgive me for sounding bitter but there are too many people taking and being aloud to take advantage of the system in this country. I am embarrassed to be English .

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    1. Excellent Article, and some sanity in this madness of calling all people on benefits as scroungers. The current benefits system is very demoralising and hard to qualify. I had worked from the age of 16, never claiming unemployment benefit or any benefits until the age of 46 when I got M.E (CFS (chronic Fatigue syndrome) I became extremely ill because I struggled on and continued to work, horriefied at the idea of going on the dole. finally I was unable to do maintain a full time job and worked parttime, not able to work enough to pay for the roof over my head, let alone food or heating bills. I explained to Jobcentre and they told me to give up work (what they should have told me was that I could get Disability Working Tax Credit) and claim Incapacity Benefit). I then had 6 months after claiming and giving up the part time work where the DWP made me jump thorgh all sorts of hoops to qualify for Incapacity benefit - they lost my papers several times and kept telling me a cheque was on its way. I had to phone them many times to try to get it all sorted. Upshot was that because I had only been working p/t and due to the length of time it took for my claim, I was not entitled to Incapacity because I hadnt paid enough NI. Those 6 months were hell, I had no money for food and was without hot water or heating during freezing snowy weather as I was till waiting for them to pay me. Finally after writing to my MP about it and endless more phone calls, I got a cheque.
      In the meantime my buidling society had taken me to court to repossess my home. All the stress and truama caused a very severe relapse in my condition and I became bed-bound for 18 months. Fast forward to 2 years later and the new regime tests etc coming into force. I had started to recover, but the stress and indignity of filling out 40 pages forms , getting drs and consultants letters, undergoing the ATOS medical all contributed to another relapse. Even though I have now been awarded ESA in the WRAG group for 2 years, due to more cuts and trying to cut the welfare bill even more, I have now been been mandatory forced to do the work programme, when I tried to explain that my recovery at the moment that although improved from my bedbound state, that I cannot be out of the house for more than 2 hours before getting extreme exhaustion and needing to rest, so I would find it difficult to do the work programme and it would probably make me relapse, I was thretened that if I dont agree to do it, they will cut my benefits. At times I have been suicidal, and I am very scared for my future. It has taken me a long time to recover to the extent that I have, and the hoops you have to jump through to prove you are unfit for work, and the threats of sanctions if you dont do as they say, have all contributed to making my illness far worse than it was originally. I have had months of having massive anxiety attacks and sleepness nights, I feel so helpless that I am in this situation through no fault of my own, and I feel a uselss worthless piece of shite for being on benefits. the current system is so hard for people genuinely ill - the process makes you more ill when you are already in a bad way. Without all the stress and obstacles put in your way to getting these benefits, I am convinced that I would have recovered much faster and been able to get back to some part-time work - therefore contributing to society. Instead I constantly worry about the future and further benefit cuts and question how will I survive. the latest round of cuts now means I have to pay £7.00 per week towards council Tax - that may not seem a lot, but when you are already struggling to make ends meet, I really wonder where I will 'magic' it from. I do not drink, do not spend money going out socialising, have not bought any new clothes or shoes for 3 years. when my boots were beyond repair I bought some more from charity shop. Life is a contant and miserable struggle, I despair as I cannot see a good future for myself.

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    2. the black dog stalks us all from time to time dilly,hope this cheers you up. the worlds richest woman, fellow australian gina reinhardt, suggests that australians should follow the sterling example of modern day slavery in developing economies and be happy to work for 2 dollars a day, in the national interest. thereby freeing up money otherwise wasted on wages to be invested in development, her development i assume. my point? that our communities and society are not economies to be plundered by the powerful, but collectives of individuals who have choices. not just in the ballot box, but every day. easy to say i know, perception clouded by pain can be limited but, true wealth is measured by the quality of our relationships with others and ourselves, be gentle with yourself and take some time to see the beautiful around you and inside you. i hope it helps. there is someone thinking of you on the otherside of the world, wishing you well, adam howard

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  85. Of course it is important that there is a benefits system in place to help those in need of it. But the system itself is to blame and not the people taking advantage of it.
    It's not difficult to get upwards of £15000 a year from the state but that doesn't mean it is right to.
    I know a lot of people who have taken advantage of the benefits system when they have been completely capable of work, no myths here, this is fact.
    A French-Algerian woman my partner worked with had a 6 week work contract and because she was only working for 6 weeks she was still allowed to claim all of her benefits, regardless of the fact she was earning more than minimum wage and not having to pay any tax. She has lived in the country for the past 20 years and has worked no more than 2 years in total, yet she receives as many different types of benefit as possible. She claims she shouldn't have to take a job earning less than £25,000 a year and so she will continue to claim her benefits and work a few weeks here and there to pay for her luxuries.
    She is getting out a lot more than she has paid in.
    Are you telling me that that is right? That our country should pay for people to do that? She is physically and mentally capable to work, but she chooses not to because she doesn't want to work for less than 25 grand a year. Why is that okay? I have had numerous jobs that I have been over qualified for and yet have been paid slightly more than minimum wage for, but I do it because, morally, I feel it would be wrong to claim benefits, just because I didn't want to work.
    I also believe there should be a minimum amount of tax that you need to have paid in the few years prior to claiming benefits in order for you to be entitled to it.
    I have no figures for this, but I'm sure there is a high number of young people leaving school or college and going straight onto job seekers allowance, claiming housing benefits and whatever else and never having the motivation or the push from family, friends, or government officials to get themselves a career and therefore they may never do so.
    These are important problems we are faced with and I understand peoples' frustration, but maybe it is not the individuals that are wrong but the system itself?
    There should be more pressure on individuals to gain employment, regardless of the pay rate, and there should be a cap on how much per year you can receive, which I believe shouldn't coincide with the average salary, but instead with minimum wage, otherwise it's not motivating any body to start earning if they can receive more for free.
    If there is an individual with minimal qualifications who is considered to be qualified only for a minimum wage job, yet they are entitled to receive benefits up to the average yearly salary, which are they going to choose?

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  89. Yes indeed, people who read the Daily Mail and the Telegraph do need to sstop bitching about the unemployed and people on benefits, 100% full employment will NEVER happen, live with it and stop the bitching!

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  91. Excellent points, very well made. I hope you don't mind me posting this, but I thought you might like my few words: http://fromthemindoftinapj.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/a-decent-living/

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  92. I could not have said this so comprehensibly as you have, thank you. I have shared this on my facebook.

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  93. What an amazingly brilliant blog. I've shared and liked you on Facebook. What you have to say is so well put. You speak for us all with problems and needing to claim benefit. It's about time our society stopped its Victorian attitudes to the less fortunate and started attacking the greedy rich. GREED is the biggest vice, not being disadvantaged.

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  94. I agree, well said, inequality breeds non obidience.

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  95. Simple. Welfare is not a career. Drug test welfare recipients. Don't reward laziness

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  96. When the government wants you not to look at the big picture as to were the money is being spent, they camouflage with media about a smaller problem. Exciting the viewers with such frivolous quotes that have no real point of cutting back or taking away. There have been many cuts to the benefit system already even though cost of living goes up. Most are working and only getting topped up. The few you may know only stand out in your mind as the ones you don't know are busy trying to make ends meet. If your on benefits and need another car as the one your driving died, to get a loan will cost you 8.5 percent instead of 2.4 percent because your on benefits, if you need to renew your mortgage , you can only get one year mortgage rates at 9.5 percent instead of 3.5 percent for 5 years. This is what you get to learn the prejudiced is when you get into with the financial market still trying to make ends meet. With this in mind the debt of the ones on benefits will always be there. The money that is given to the unlucky benefit receiver to help pay the mortgage needs to be paid back if the home is sold or lost to bankruptcy. So are they living of the lamb ? No---- I am sure you know who is if you have read anything of this.

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  97. My opinion is that you should only get out of the system what you put in. In other words, I can only claim job seekers allowance back up to a point of the amount of tax/value that I've personally created through working. Is that harsh? Yes, but at least its fair. In periods of weather times and good health, if I don't work then I only have myself to blame. The system is NOT working today, so something has to change.

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    1. Maybe you think insurance should work the same way too; thus it wouldn't work at all.

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  98. Hi Sorrel - I work for an online, UK-based magazine and we'd be keen to re-publish this as a guest blog. If you'd be interested in that let me know: lucy@planetivy.com. Thanks!

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  99. She's got an awful lot to learn in life. Completely blinkered. I can give over 700,000 reasons why they really need to sort the benefit system out so it actually helps to the right people, which at the moment it is not. You want £100 given to you, you come and do 10 hours community service or help an elderly person for a day.....who cares? Do something for it!!! But over 700,000 would say sod that give me another tin of beer, why should I work for my benefits? Simple answer....Because working will actually benefit you. more than the benefits that you receive.

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  100. I still believe that child benefits should be capped at 3 children. Any more, and you need to make your own financial arrangements for them. In the Philippines, there is no welfare state. If you are unable to work for any reason, then you must rely on your family to support you. In this country, that would encourage deeper family ties and tighter family units. Western governments and media seek to undermine the family unit.

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  101. I have a problem with this post. I think there is a very small minority that bitch about all people on benefits. 85% of the people in the age bracket 21-40 have been on benefits at some point in their lives. So everyone knows a family member at least who has been effected.

    I'm not on benefits but I have been in the past. I'm 27, have a degree and experience in my field. I live in central London but I'm originally from Hull. I've also lived with partners who are on benefits when I aren't, it's hard work and they are from the same ilk as you.

    BUT I have also seen the people that have free housing and genuinely have children as a source of income and discuss this method of making money freely. I think that's what people have a problem with. If people like yourself were the only people on benefits that would be wonderful, people out of work and trying to better themselves looking for jobs each day are the people the benefits system is built for.

    Unfortunately people DO abuse the system and are unscrupulous with it. It is hard to weed out these people that don't want a job. No one is saying they're living the life of luxury...but they are content. Many middle class people wont know about this culture as unfortunately it does breed in 'rougher' areas. I did get the wiff of middle class from your post (nothing wrong with that I may add) and that perhaps you've taken it to heart when you've heard people complaining about people on benefits..... they aren't talking about you, or your need to better your life, they're talking about the people on benefits that make it their life.

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  102. only a person sat on ther ass all day can come up with such a load of shit maybe if they worked they might understand the plight of us hard working people for a start what you did get right was the fact that benifits is a safty net for people who lose there job not a fucking hammock to sleep in for your life popping out kids you cant afford. people who are on beifits all there life are lazy spongers science calls animales and insects that live off others parasites. what do you know about tax you pay none so dont talk about it we pay that for you aswell forgot to mention that didnt you of course if you break it down into 1 person its not alot but its not one person is it dumb ass if you think you sums are right then its a calculater you need not a flat screen and jermy kyle we should support the vulnerable in society but not lazy no hopes who just pop out kids you might find it hard to accept when you cant afford to send your kids on every school trip but if you dont work they can go for free or if you can afford to give them lunch as you have no money but if you dont work oh yes the free school meal bottom line if you dont work you can afford to have kids so dont grow up and take a look at your life

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    1. Try using punctuation next time; it helps others understand your argument. For your information, and in case you don't own a calculator yourself, if you multiple that one person up to include everyone who is claiming unemployment benefit it comes to 74p - per year. Who looks like the dumb ass now?

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    3. 'Who looks like the dumb ass now?'

      Maybe the guy who thinks that 74p times by 63 million people equals enough money to pay 1.3 million people JSA for a whole year... :)

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  103. You write: 'Seriously, the amount of tax you pay into the welfare state is a pittance'.

    Sorry, but that's clearly not the case. According to the Guardian:

    'The Department for Welfare and Pensions is the biggest spending department in the UK - spending £166.98bn in 2011-12, which is Of that huge sum, £159bn was spent on benefits - an increase of 1.1% on the previous year. That is 23% of all public spending.'

    From http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending

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    1. That includes state pensions and other items filed under welfare. You need to actually look at the data, rather than just the big figure the newspaper have sensationalised.

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    2. The same article tells us that '47% of UK benefit spending goes on state pensions'.

      So 53% of the £159 billion goes on welfare in the way you are defining it - hardly a pittance...

      Jeff

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  104. In question 3 you state :- If you earn £20,000 a year, you pay 0.00003066 pence a year to each individual person on unemployment benefit

    So if there are 2.4 million unemployed currently in the UK that is 2,400,000 x 0.00003066 which is £73.584 paid by each individual earning £20K a year

    This would pay my gas bill for over a month

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    1. She was talking pence, not pounds. So your calculation should have been 2,400,000 x 0.0000003066 which is 74p (£0.74) per year total. What will that buy you?

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    2. Your sums are a bit out there...

      The annual cost of JSA is £4.9 billion according to the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/08/uk-benefit-welfare-spending).

      £4.9 billion divided by 64 million people means that, on average, each British man, woman and child is paying about £76.50 towards JSA each year (and each working person paying considerably more).

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  105. I have only just read this original article, and I thoroughly endorse the author's comments and well worded arguments. At last, a sensible balanced view.

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  106. it could be me? yes it could be me and i've been paying my contribution to national insurance since i was 16! therefore i am more than entitled to it and so are those on benefits who have contributed to national insurance. However, there are some lazy fuckers out there who cant be arsed to work because they know they can be on benefits and do whatever the fuck they want each day! and dont go telling me there is no work! i've gone to the job center twice since the age of 16 to sign on but i have never received a payment because i have found myself a job before my first benefits payment was due! some people are just lazy fuckers!

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  107. Just read this after seeing the link posted on FaceBook and agree with what you are saying , the media and certain programme makers are publishing anti benefits propaganda on behalf of the government .
    This kind of thing was seen in the 1930's only it was Hitler getting the media to produce this kind of tosh about the Jews etc .
    I saw a clip a while ago of Cameron talking in some shopping centre and he was rallying the anti benefits thing like Hitler at the Nuremburg rally .
    And these people that are jumping on the " lets have a go at the benefits claimants " are weak minded and this is what the government rely on

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    1. It didn't take long for Godwin's Law to kick in...

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  108. Benefits Street - See why everyone's talking about this programme: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/benefits-street/4od

    Whatever your views the politics of the welfare state are, it's makes for great viewing!

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  109. I know for a fact there are some lazy people who don't want to work but then there is people like me .. I apply for 10-20 jobs a week and yet still can't manage to even get an interview.
    I have had a job in the past but it was an off the books one. I haven't actually been able to get a job i have been on job seekers for about 5-6 months yet i am struggling to even get an interview
    I agree 110% that there are some lazy arses out there who don't even try but i don't get why people label people like me as "dole bums" when people like me actually try to get jobs!

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    1. Invisible Girl -

      I do sympathize. It's tough out there, and I agree that there are many people who are earnestly trying to get back into work.

      Everyone applies to jobs advertised in newspapers, which can make that approach a bit of a lottery. What you might want to consider is doing things like going door to door on an industrial estate, and bring along a memory stick containing your CV. I once did that, and was told by a couple of business owners that not many people approached them like that. It shows initiative, and can be a great way of finding unadvertised vacancies.

      I'd also consider using LinkedIn to find work. I got my current job by changing my status to looking for work on LinkedIn. Someone at a supplier to the employer I'd recently been made redundant from suggested that I apply to her company, and I ended up having a series of interviews and ultimately being offered a job. It has to be worth a try. :)

      Good luck.

      Jeff

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  110. the government pays out more money to banks and corporations in the form of bailouts and tax relief then they do to welfare claimants so if I would you I would be more pissed at this to be honest

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  111. A very well put arguement. My wife and I had to survive on one person's dole for 21 months because I'd lost my job and she *gasp* came from outside the EU. It was hell, having to cope on handouts from my mum and sister. All the while, my niece's husband was bleating on at every opportunity about "dole spongers". I can't wait until the arsehole loses his job, so he can see what it's like!

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  112. yeah, and also we are all alcoholics and junkies :)

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  113. Brilliant! ^_^ Ugh, I loathe the looks I get when people ask where I work and I respond with, "Actually, I'm on the disability pension." Never mind the fact that I also co-founded a medical research foundation (Australia's first Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome foundation), having begun work on that before my 20th birthday. Never mind that I'm a Human Genetics major, working my already fragile health to the brink doing 3 units a semester so that I can get OFF the disability pension.

    And that awful, invasive up-and-down look that people give me, searching for some sign of deformity, when part of my condition is that it actually makes me look abnormally youthful and healthy. But, of course, everyone's a medical expert.

    I tried for two years to get a job. Even when I got all the way to the interview stage, for a job I could just about do without completely destroying my health and ending up in hospital, again... As soon as they ask that obligatory question, "Do you have any chronic health issues or limitations we should know about?" Ugh. They always go from being enthusiastic about me from just pushing me out the door as fast as they can. Many employers CLAIM to be "equal opportunity", but I've yet to work for, or even apply to any, that genuinely are. And these days, since my health declined further, there simply are no jobs that don't require a university or TAFE qualification that I can do.

    So yes, I'm claiming the Disability Support Pension. I'm also claiming the Disability Education Supplement, which helps to pay for things like uni books. When I finish my undergraduate degree, I intend to go on to do a Masters and ultimately, a PhD. I'll get involved in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome research. My body may have failed me, but I'm using my mind to contribute to my community in the best way I can. Surely, that's worth the menial amount of tax money it costs to support me in doing so.

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  114. I don't often comment on these things now, but after a very well put together blog feel urged to tell my end of this.

    I am young, eager to work, and on the scrap heap.

    I have on-going severe medical issues, which mean I am unable to gain employment.
    I have even managed to get a job at times then been let go due to these difficulties - not due to anything I have done wrong, every place and person I have worked for has been impressed by my skills and eager to keep me on or give references to lead to better things - but this has simply not been possible due to my health difficulties.

    As a result I receive benefits.

    I am also a volunteer.

    I run community arts projects - such as a yearly charity raising music festival, regular pop-up film screenings, arts events, and a regular live music night.
    All events I run either for free or a small fee simply to cover licensing and venue costs.
    I take nothing from it.
    My local council will not support me, yet I provide the most that happens within a small city community.

    Basically, I am made to feel guilty to receive benefit due to nowhere being willing to employ me because of serious and on-going health issues. Yet I put the most into my local community that I am aware of from anywhere, including heavily funded and council run programmes.

    I hope my small example can help a few realise the kinds of predicaments people can be placed in.

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  115. Mairead, is it not perfectly acceptable to be 'pissed' at and 'bitch' (have an opinion) on both lots of parasites in this world?

    This is what I am having a problem with here. It is not as if anyone is really blind to all the corruption going on, and has been for years, but it is like so many things now. 'Oh, we have to excuse their behaviour, it is not their fault, they are so unfortunate'. Well actually in many cases it IS their choice. I know many that were NOT brought up that way, but for whatever reason, circumstance they chose to either defraud, abuse a system as they are to lazy to work. Oh Yes, we should all do the same, should we? (Yet I do not use it, therefore should I pay into it)?

    The system is now a problem, it needs reform. Sadly the way they are doing so, it is hurting many decent, very needy people in the process.

    The parasites come in many guises, and every single one is worthy of a bitch. From the chav to fatcats. From the Politicians to the common criminal. Does not stop us knowing or feeling for the middleman, that is scraping by with a conscience and bit of pride.

    The problem is, there are too many liberał retards and bleeding hearts in this country now, making perpertrators victims. So how about just allowing all an opinion.

    7 reasons to bitch........

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  116. Still as relevant as when you first published it. As I'm sure the recent propaganda documentary "Benefit Street" shows.

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  117. Nobody would deny an official whom has genuinely fell on hard times benefits. After all this is the reason our welfare system was put in place. The mother careing for disabled child. The sudden redudancy. The accident resulting in incapacity. The individual suffering mental illness unable to leave home. The wife/ husband suddenly widowed. I have a heart and a noggin, so I understand this can happen to anybody and I would happily give my wages to help people in these situations.

    What upsets people is getting up when it's dark, working tirelessly all day, coming home when it's dark, not being able to pay basic bills or a proper food shop and don't even think about luxuries like holidays, cars, alcohol or nights out. Meanwhile, work shy Bill up the road has managed to get up a noon, to spend a productive day in the pub. Or "full time mummy" Becky; stays home with her many fatherless children, orders take-always every night and Smokes 40+ a day. Or university graduate Stewart; the world owes me more than a minimum wage job cleaning toilets so I'll sit in my computer all day and allow all you tax paying idots to fund my ski trip and computer games, just until something better comes along.

    We all started somewhere; minimum wage, General dogs body. We'd all love more take-aways, but budgets don't permit.

    I live in an area rife with people who don't work cos they don't want to. I've lived with it all ny life. They have kids, who never work, and they've kids never work and so it goes on and on and on and now has a result the welfare us thinner than ever, resulting in dramatic cuts to our vital services. So now tax payers are getting angry cos we are the ones missing out again, we are the poor working class who are really missing out, us and our families, as well has all of those genius cases in need of help and support.

    BLAME THE IDLE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY FOR THIS. They do exist I've seen them, I live with them. I'm willing to bet you have too.








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    1. If all the 'benefit scroungers' are spending their days in the pub, why are pubs closing down at such a high rate? And no single mother would be able to afford to smoke 40 a day (or have the time) and eat take-aways every night. Just like the lazy, scare-mongering journalists, you've used a fictionalised feckless few to cast a generalised shadow on the majority of people who legitimately claim benefit. Something more productive needs to be done for the long-term unemployed than lambasting them in the national press on a daily basis.

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  118. Very glad to see you highlight the issue of low wages as an element of this excellent blog. Every employer who pays less than a living wage is themselves supported by the benefits system which tops up their employees' wages so they have enough to live. Many of these employers are huge corporations and many of these (as highlighted over the past year) pay NO tax via various loopholes. They use infrastructure and services - their goods are transported on roads, they use health services etc. They pay ZERO in tax towards this. These tax-avoiding corporations are the real benefit scroungers. If the government would take proper effective action to stop the very rich from tax avoidance (and thus halt the follow-on drain on benefits, infrastructure and services) they could make a significant economic difference.

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  119. Some very good points there, as a working man I too have found myself needing the safety net of Benefits a couple of times in my past. I have also believed whilst the majority of claimants are honest decent people who have had the misfortune to have fallen on hard times, it's the tiny minority of cheats that have given claimants a bad name. Perhaps the focus of frustration should be aimed at the greedy rich instead. Those that have benefited from higher property prices, extortionate energy costs and cheap migrant labour, the politicians who have made a good living blaming the previous government for their lack of effort and the jobs for the boys club that is the EU. Not to mention the madness that is globalisation.

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