In light of my previous article where I explained the blame which mass immigration faces due to the country’s shortcomings, I began to dwell over another instance where a different category of people have a bad reputation in society, known affectionately by the right-wing as the “welfare scroungers”.
Of course, we’ve heard it all before, about how they are a drain on society, how they do virtually nothing apart from leech off taxpayer’s money, and so on – or perhaps the reader themselves may hold these particular views.
However, from what I have observed, this is a degrading display of reprehension towards a group of people who, I speak for many of them; most likely do not deserve the stigma attached to them. Of course there will always be a minority of people who do manage to twist the system, but in many other circumstances different to this one, the minority often ruin it for everyone else. – Government statistics actually show that only 0.7% of people receiving benefits have been found guilty of committing benefit fraud – Therefore the other 99.3% are being tarred with the same brush as the 0.7%.
But wait, before people start getting militant towards me for defending people that “steal their tax”, just hold on. I’ll explain why I have these views.
First of all, some of us will know that many benefits, including JSA (Jobseeker’s Allowance), will alone not suffice for someone to live off – last time I checked it was roughly £112 per fortnight. So it’s unlikely that many people will voluntarily try and live of this.
Secondly, if one looks at the newspaper headlines, our old friend the Daily Mail will sometimes have a headline about say a mother of twelve living in a £55,000 house, earning £3000 a month from the state – of course, all paid for by taxpayer’s money! An article from The Sun, also mentioned how “hundreds of thousands of scroungers are robbing hard-working Sun readers of their cash”.
As I’ve mentioned before in previous articles, the Daily Mail and the Sun have often been caught out with much of their bogus statistics and knowledge, most of which is pretty embarrassing for two mainstream UK newspapers.
It appears the only reason that these stories are highly prominent is because they are stories that make money. Again, another example of the media playing on people’s ignorance.
Anyway. Using rationality and judging from my own personal experiences, I am inclined to believe that most people on benefits are genuinely in need of their support.
I’d like the reader to play a little scenario in their heads for a moment – if you or I went into the job centre, looking to sponge of the government (as you do), is it really conceivable that either of us could walk up to reception, claim we have a bad back or a similar injury, and within thirty minutes be given a four-bedroom house, with benefits equalling £5000 a month? Because to me, it seems like that is how many people see it.
From what I’ve witnessed, many people on benefits do get involved with other activities such as volunteering, whilst claiming their measly funds. Or else, they are simply on benefits for reasons such as being made redundant, or they may be a former-drug addict looking to turn their life around. Also, the main type of benefit I have heard of people claiming is child benefit – often claimed by single parents who have little or no hours at work. Again, of course there will be some that abuse this privilege – but generally, the whole purpose of this benefit is to keep a child fed and alive – have a heart, people!
Of course, one would make a credible point if they said that the Conservative Party were happy with this scapegoating. In fact, David Cameron has recently revealed his attitude towards those claiming benefits. This is due to the policy he announced a few weeks ago, in which someone claiming benefits will have to do voluntary/community work, for about 25-30 hours a week. Jobs that will include cleaning the streets and caring for the elderly.
This in hand shows his true colours, as he is getting people to do work that should be paid work (cleaning and care work, come on!) – showing his unwillingness to help the disadvantaged. Also, the fact he is giving jobless people tasks similar to that of someone undertaking community service work, suggests that in a way he is happy to treat them like criminals.
This brings me to my next point – while people are busy saying it’s not fair how people can claim free money from the benefit system, more serious corruptions have been and still are taking place. Two key examples are tax evasion and the bailing out of the banks. According to a report by the Public and Commercial Services union (a union for most staff at HMRC), the tax gap had risen to roughly £119.4 billion last year (and is still rising), while in 2008 the amount needed bail out the banks in the UK was £850 billion. These two astronomical sums completely dwarf the comparatively miniscule sum of £1.1 billion, which is the average yearly cost of benefit fraud.
On this particular topic, does it really seem logical to people that the Conservative government, after all the cutbacks they are making and the money they are trying to save, would freely give out benefits to people and let vast amounts of people claim free money? Sounds absurd, the more you think about it.
In the words of long-standing Labour MP Dennis Skinner – “There are currently about 3,250 people examining benefit fraud, while there are only 300 HMRC people examining the fraud by those that are wealthy tax-dodgers, many of whom give a lot of money to the Tory party. Why is it that there’s one law for the rich and one for the poor?”