10 lies we're told about welfare

(85 Posts)
ttosca Thu 04-Apr-13 14:53:16

Has someone made Jim Royle a policy adviser? Millions are being made poorer while we're fobbed off with porkies

Welfare reform, my arse. Has Jim Royle parked his chair, feet up, telly on, in the corridors between the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions? Employing him as adviser can be the only explanation for the utter rubbish that boils forth from this government on welfare.

Who else could have dreamed up the bedroom tax, a policy so stupid it forces people to leave their homes and drag themselves around the country in search of nonexistent one-bedroom flats?

That one has to be the result of too many hours in front of Jeremy Kyle (no offence) with the heating on full and a can of super-strength lager. It seems as if that is how this government views ordinary people: feckless and useless – poor, because they brought it on themselves, deliberately.

Maybe the cabinet is confused. Twenty-three millionaires in the one room can get like that. But do you know what, enough. Let's call this government's welfare policy what it is – wrong, nasty and dishonest.

Off the top of my head, I can list 10 porkies they are spinning to justify the latest stage of their attack on our 70-year-old welfare state.
1. Benefits are too generous

Really? Could you live on £53 a week as Iain Duncan Smith is claiming he could if he had to? Then imagine handing back 14% of this because the government deems you have a "spare room". Could you find the money to pay towards council tax and still afford to eat at the end of the week?
2. Benefits are going up

They're not. A 1% "uprating" cap is really a cut. Inflation is at least 2.7% . Essentials like food, fuel and transport are all up by at least that, in many cases far more. Benefits are quickly falling behind the cost of living.
3. Jobs are out there, if people look

Where? Unemployment rose last month and is at 2.5 million, with one million youngsters out of work. When Costa Coffee advertised eight jobs, 1,701 applied.
4. The bedroom tax won't hit army families or foster carers

Yes it will. Perhaps most cruel of all, the tax will not apply to foster families who look after one kid. If you foster siblings, then tough. But these kids are often the hardest to place. Thanks to George Osborne and IDS, their chances just got worse. And even if your son or daughter is in barracks in Afghanistan, then don't expect peace of mind as the government still has to come clean on plans for their bedroom.
5. Social tenants can downsize

Really, where? Councils sold their properties – and Osborne wants them to sell what's left. Housing associations built for families. In Hull, there are 5,500 people told to chase 70 one-bedroom properties.
6. Housing benefit is the problem

In fact it's rental costs. Private rents shot up by an average of £300 last year. No wonder 5 million people need housing benefits, but they don't keep a penny. It all goes to landlords.
7. Claimants are pulling a fast one

No. Less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud. But tax avoidance and evasion is estimated to run to £120bn.
8. It's those teenage single mums

An easy target. Yet only 2% of single mums are teenagers. And most single mums, at least 59%, work.
9. We're doing this for the next generation

No you're not. The government's admitted at least 200,000 more children will be pushed deeper into poverty because of the welfare changes.
10. Welfare reforms are just about benefit cuts

Wrong. The attack on our welfare state is hitting a whole range of services – privatising the NHS, winding up legal aid for people in debt and closing SureStart centres and libraries. All this will make life poorer for every community.

Some call these myths. I call them lies. We are being told lies about who caused this crisis and lied to about the best way out of it. But I know one thing to be true: this government's polices will make millions of people poorer and more afraid. To do that when you do not have to, when there are other options, is obscene. That's why I'm backing union Unite's OurWelfareWorks campaign in its efforts to help highlight the truth about our welfare state.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/02/ten-lies-told-about-welfare

Tasmania Thu 04-Apr-13 15:59:27

ttosca - this does not change the fact that unlike in the previous generation, there is simply no money. What do people expect? That the country borrows more and more money like and hide the credit card bills into the cupboard?

- When people can get benefits that are equivalent (if not more) than actual salaries, benefits are too high. What's the point in working then? Benefits are an emergency fund that you should not touch unless you really need to. The fact that we have families that have been on benefits of generations is wrong. Unless you are disabled, you should only be entitled to benefits for a set time period.

- Some people who get a salary, have had the same salary for years, and did not even get that 1%.

- I know several young people who got jobs that pay more than the national average this year and last. This is due to good grades at school, with most going to uni. There are jobs out there for young people who did not mess up the first quarter of their life.

- If your son/daughter is old enough to go to Afghanistan... shouldn't they be grown up enough to not live in your house?!?

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Thu 04-Apr-13 17:49:32

Benefits are not equivalent to working salaries. Never have been, to my knowledge.

GlitteryShitandDanglyBaubles Thu 04-Apr-13 17:50:20

Benefits are paid at the rate of the minimum amount the state says you can get by on - and even that is debateable. Surviving on benefits alone is very, very hard.

Solopower1 Thu 04-Apr-13 20:24:50

Glad you posted this.

It's important that we don't just believe everything we're told by the govt and the Daily Mail.

We shouldn't let the govt set the agenda like this.

ttosca Fri 05-Apr-13 00:40:12

Tasmania-

> ttosca - this does not change the fact that unlike in the previous generation, there is simply no money. What do people expect? That the country borrows more and more money like and hide the credit card bills into the cupboard?

There is enough money to give the 'Queen' a £5 Million annual pay-rise and every millionaire in the country a tax break worth anywhere between 40K to 100K (new calculated figure).

Actually, the debt/GDP ratio is at a historical lowpoint:

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/downchart_ukgs.php?chart=G0-total&year=1692_2011&units=p&state=UK

Our cost of borrowing is also very low, lower than many european countries, and close to Germanys.

The deficit is what needs fixing, and this can be fixed by stimulating the economy and pulling us out of a recession. The deficit was at 3% before the financial crisis. It is now 11%. This will not improve until we stop bloodletting the economy through austerity cuts.

>- When people can get benefits that are equivalent (if not more) than actual salaries, benefits are too high.

Firstly, this is false. You hear about the tiny tiny minority in the newspapers who claims a large amount of benefits because they have many kids and are disabled and have a special set of circumstances. For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job.

Secondly, salaries are too low. If you push down benefits any further you will just end up killing people. Benefits are already barely enough to survive on -- in the vast, overwhelming majority of cases.

> What's the point in working then? Benefits are an emergency fund that you should not touch unless you really need to. The fact that we have families that have been on benefits of generations is wrong.

We have very few such families. In fact, there was a recent study done by the CMPO thinktank at Bristol University:

www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2011/wp278.pdf

which found that homes with families with two generations who never worked accounts for 0.1% of total working age population.

> Unless you are disabled, you should only be entitled to benefits for a set time period.

Really? Even in the middle of a recession? A depression? Should people be left to die and starve on the streets, then?

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 00:17:42

ttosca

The Queen may not be one of them, but the UK has to "compete" for wealthy people - they could move to tax havens like Switzerland, for example, to avoid paying UK tax. The UK does not have the taxation policy the U.S. has - which taxes its citizens even if they are living and earning money abroad (i.e. expats). Some of these millionaires or billionaires are not even British. When that happens, that may mean that there would be less people shopping at Selfridges, Harvey Nicks or even Waitrose. They will no longer grace the expensive restaurants in London, or pay for haircuts at fashionable salons. In short, there are a lot of jobs on the line, if these people leave. There's nothing that would stop them from moving somewhere else... and spend their money there. Tax havens will be rubbing their hands. Basically, see them as tourists - tourists pay no income tax in the UK, but they spend their money here, and although the UK is not quite Tourist Central like other places in the world, it would suffer if no tourist ever arrived.

Yes, UK Debt-to-GDP ratio does not actually look as bad as people think, but there are many things excluded from that figure. But you may also have noticed that the peaks of National Debt in the past happened during the two World Wars - which were events of epic proportion. After wars, rebuilding a country (the whole "proper" We're all in this together attitude + you actually HAD TO rebuild the country physically) usually result in an economic upswing that helps. However, I agree the annual budget deficit is a much bigger problem which is at an all-time high. "Stimulating" the economy is quite difficult though because private debt is now relatively high (as opposed to Germany, for example).

What is really needed is probably a mixture of austerity cuts (that is unavoidable) and channeling money into businesses that we believe will pay off in future which - believe it or not - the government is doing. However, we no longer have proper, well-known manufacturing businesses (again, as opposed to Germany), and you don't necessarily want to put more money into the UK service industry which Thatcher built (banks anyone?). Investment tends to happen in niche industries that are not necessarily known to the wider population (e.g. space industry). It's a bit more of a Private Equity Venture, and let's hope they will pay off.

I agree - salaries are too low. They should be higher. My friends on the continent are earning a lot more doing essentially the same job. At the same time, I think house prices are too high. People often spend more than half of their salaries on housing which means there is a lot less money to spend on other things. But what can you do? Gordon Brown did not stick to his promise made in the 90s where he said, he would never let house prices get out of hand. And now, a house price crash will be detrimental to many who own a house to live in.

And yes, I do think that benefits should be capped after a certain period - even during a recession. I say that as someone who was made redundant at the height of the crisis, and had to find another job afterwards, but I did. There are jobs out there for competent people.

The thing is, I'd much rather we CUT BACK NOW, and save the DCs future. It's always the next generation paying for our excesses, and the more we get into debt, the more they will have to deal with. They are already dealt with a tough hand. They will suffer from the following:

- pay off our debt;
- increased global competition;
- less jobs in the middle scale (mergers and big businesses mean that a lot of the jobs that served as the lifeline for middle class professionals in the past are vanishing - one person in a big company can now do the job that many people used to do in different organizations). It is said that future employment will consist of small group earning a lot of money and a large group earning very little;
- environmental matters;

... and many more things.

I do believe that the last few decades will be seen as a Louis XIV era - a period of excess. People in the early 1900s did not live the life we have now. Not many had their own homes. The poor were properly poor. If you were disabled... tough luck. Not much of the welfare state was there (it only began to form around 1911). A century is not really that much when you look back into history. So really, the welfare state is not as tried and tested as people think it is. What we had / grew up with, and see as the norm may be nothing but the Black Swan in the grander scheme of things - i.e. it may be something that is not sustainable in the long-run.

Dawndonna Sat 06-Apr-13 11:52:00

Thing is, we're not paying off our debt are we.
Oh and we're paying out a great deal for Trident.

As for if you were disabled, tough luck, that was not the sign of a civilised society, was it. Are you suggesting we go back to the way it was around 1900. Ridiculous.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 11:58:03

"For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job. "

So why is a benefit cap of £25,000/year after tax... higher before tax than the average annual income from a full-time job... alleged to cause hardship?

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 12:30:17

Dawndona

Clearly, you don't get it, and read things the way you see fit. I was pointing out that previously, there was no welfare state, and that what we have now (and often take for granted, and moan about) may well go down as an anomaly in history as it may not be sustainable in the long-run. Yes, that would be sad, I agree, but what if?

The welfare state is pretty much a pyramid scheme anyway that relies on future growth to sustain it, i.e. more and more children being born, more and more people paying taxes. Environmentally, that IS unsustainable.

Since when has a pyramid scheme been viable?

Dawndonna Sat 06-Apr-13 12:32:06

Damnit, I'd forgotten quite how rude you are Tas
I'll leave you to get on with shouting your corner.

Tasmania Sat 06-Apr-13 12:42:15

Dawn What shouting? I didn't shout? From what I can see, you're the one who thought something was "ridiculous", etc.

Think about it - would the welfare state have been viable, if the population did not continuously grow?!? Pension alone requires that to happen. How on Earth do you expect that to continue? Housing is already expensive as it is - more people would mean it would just go up further. It does not help that Great Britain is an island either.

Before you fire another insult - just answer the question: How is that meant to be affordable if the population is meant to say the same and not grow out of proportion??

ttosca Sat 06-Apr-13 15:17:32

Cogito-

>"For most people, getting benefits is a struggle to survive -- and much lower than what you get in a full time job. "

> So why is a benefit cap of £25,000/year after tax... higher before tax than the average annual income from a full-time job... alleged to cause hardship?

It isn't. The overwhelming majority of unemployed on welfare live on the breadline.

Startail Sat 06-Apr-13 15:40:17

I know several young people who got jobs that pay more than the national average this year and last. This is due to good grades at school, with most going to uni. There are jobs out there for young people who did not mess up the first quarter of their life.

Not all DCs are lucky enough to have been with the IQ that they can get 5 A-Cs however hard the work. Lower ability DCs tend to have parents least likely to have the skills to help them. They get the worst teachers and the worst behaved class mates.

SN provision has been cut to the bone, only DCs with parents who are bright enough to fight the system stand a chance.

To accuse DCs of wasting a 1/4 of their lives is unbelievably crass and simplistic.

- If your son/daughter is old enough to go to Afghanistan... shouldn't they be grown up enough to not live in your house?!?
However well paid do you think an 18y squaddie is???

They can't afford houses for themselves and their families when they leave the army after many years serving their country. Of course they can't afford to own a house that would then stand empty most of the year.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 06-Apr-13 17:10:25

So you're saying the benefit cap won't cause any hardship at all because no-one currently gets an income of more than £25,000 from all the various benefits combined? I'm glad to hear that.

13k a year on first joining, DH pays £16 a month for his army accomodation bills all in as well as mimimal council tax charge. Think most Army recruits could afford to send their parents the money to keep their room.

NanaNina Sat 06-Apr-13 20:16:05

Well done ttosca for starting this thread. You are clearly very well informed and I agree with everything you say about these welfare cuts and I am sickened by this shabby uncaring bunch of toffs that are now waging war on the poor whilst at the same time giving a tax cut to the wealthiest people in society. It is simpy appalling and they even make Thatcher look reasonable and I never thought I would say such a thing!

The only thing I would query in your list ttosca is the issue of foster carers and the bedroom tax. I understood that foster carers were exempt along with families who have someone who normally lives with them away on active service. It is the foster carers I am more concerned about, as I am a retired social worker and manager with a career spanning 30 years, and there is a national shortage of foster carers. Has there been some change?

I thought disabled people were going to be exempt too, but it appears not. They are going to have to apply to the LA who will have to use their discretion as to whether they are exempt or not.

Can I have a rant of my own please!

The Work capability tests. The govt are paying millions to private companies (the French company Atos in this case)
and the test is a crude computer based tick box system, and you have to score 15 to be allowed onto the ESA (Employment Support Allowance) but there are 2 groups - one WRAG (Work related activity group) and the other you get what you were getting on IB (though only for 1 year) Mind I think you have to be dead to to get what you were on IB!

Some 50% of people who score below this magic number appeal and 40% of people are successfull on appeal, but then after a few weeks the DWP calls them in again and hey presto finds them fit for work! The admin of the appeals themselves is costing 50 million per year, so the govt have another nasty trick up their sleeve to save money. They are now going to have "further consideration" (or somesuch) meaning that the DWP will "re-consider" their decision on the original scoring. No one will be allowed to appeal until this "re-consideration" has been done and the govt wil not give any indication of how long people will have to wait for these "re-considerations" and will only be paid JSA during the waiting period. How sneaky is this........it means that thousands of people who have physical conditions that make them unfit for work, or serious mental health problems are going to be living on JSA between £50 and £70 a week, dependent on age.

They are now testing DLA (disability living allowance) and guess who got the contract - yep - right first time Atos. I saw a programme where a GP who was an ex Labour councillor attended a training programme put on by ATOS for people conducting the WCT. The GP took in a secret camera and the woman running the training programme started off by saying the test was Toxic - yes she was right there.
Many of the people who have fallen foul of the system described above will be in receipt of DLA - but not for much longer.....there are targets for people conducting all of these tests. The govt can deny it all they like but there are most definitely targets and if someone is finding too many people unfit for work, or in need of DLA (which is changing to PIP (Personal Independent Payment) they will have to be "interviewed" (euphamism for being told they are not being ruthless enough)

Oh god I could go on all night. This shower of shite are not going to be satisfied until they have privatised all public services. Do yu remember that huge poster of Cameron I'll cut the deficit not the NHS...........yeah right. And how he could promise no "top to down bottom re-organisation of the NHS" - I do not know. Well I do know, because they are liars.

Tories - please don't bother to reply. This govt is taking us back to the Poor Law of 1834.

2old2beamum Sat 06-Apr-13 21:17:53

Well said ttosca and NanaNina you speak my language.
I don't know what makes me crossest.
JSA who can live on that ? And there are no jobs
They are well on the way to ruining our fantastic NHS (lying snake in the grass)
Don't get me started on disability ATOS are heartless Having struggled to get DD her ESA 1st of 5, fortunately I am tougher than they.
I could go on but you 2 are far more erudite than me
And I am a poor old pensioner

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 00:47:47

Just remembered something else I think needs pointing out to any Tory MNs or those who read the DM. This business of there being a limit of £26,000 p.a. in benefits, after tax and insurance is another clever trick because obviously most people are going to think "wish I earned that much" etc.

This equates to approx £2000 per month, but if you are living in London or within striking difference, and your Housing Benefit is approx £1,300/£1,500 per month, and all other benefits taken into account eg. DLA, carers allowance, child benefit, tax credits etc., and you have children, you are going to find that even with the generous sounding £2000 per month you are not going to be able to manage. This is a sneaky way of carrying out the social cleansing of people claiming housing benefit and living in London or other parts of the S.E where private rents are very high.

Cameron has said that people claiming HB and living in London shouldn't be allowed to live there, when others couldn't afford to live there. OK there might be some truth in that, even though the relatively few families in this position have lived in their homes for many years and have family and friends nearby and children settled in schools. Many of these families have already been moved out of London, to areas far from London, where rents are cheaper. They have been moved to places where rents are cheaper, sometimes in the North of England, where they have been dumped through necessity, with no support from relatives and friends and children being uprooted from schools.

This benefit cap is only going to affect people living in private rents and claiming HB where rents are very high. SO why don't the govt come clean and say this is what it is all about, but then they don't come clean about anything do they.

2oldtobeamum - I don't even know what erudite means so please don't put yourself down. YOu never know it just might make some people see this awful crowd of toffs for what they really are.
I know Ian DS has said he could live on £53 per week if he had to- what rot. Yes, maybe one week........he actually receives over £2000 per week!!!

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 04:39:21

NanaNina You didn't really provide an answer to the dilemma, despite admitting there is some truth to it: what about people who have to work in London, get no housing benefit,etc. and cannot afford a home for £1,300/£1,500 per month? I was paying that out of my net salary when I lived there (DH was still in higher education) - and it was difficult, too. That is one of the many reasons I ended up moving out of London, and the thought that I am paying for others to have that for free is not very nice - to put it mildly.

Most people move out of London because they can't afford to live there. Some of them were born and raised there, and have children to take out of school, too. Most of the time, they also leave friends and family behind. Why should anyone be entitled to live there just because the state pays for them to do so?

I myself do not like the excruciating cost of housing in this country, but asking the state to pay for it as a benefit may well be one of the reasons it has become such a burden to most. It's a simple equation of supply and demand. If less people can afford to pay that rent and move out, then there will be less demand. Landlords then can't demand to be paid so much (for doing very little), and the cost will eventually come down.

A few years ago, a colleague was looking for a flat to rent in London. She had a well-paid job, looking at a 2-bed flat for herself and her sister to live in. Budget was around £1,500 for a posh part of London. The flat she wanted ended up going to a woman on benefits who could offer more money. My colleague was appalled - needless to say, I was, too...

It isn't fair working insane hours for your money, only to see those you are essentially subsidising get a better deal in certain circumstances.

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 04:42:21

Oh... and NanaNina - there was a point in my life where after paying rent, I only had about £200 a month left at the end. Just weird to think that I was actually sitting in an office all day, while someone else could get that without getting out of bed.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sun 07-Apr-13 08:24:57

How do we actually know how much is lost to fraud? Fraudsters by their very nature are liars and cheats they want the money, they don't want to get caught, they are not going to put up their hands and say 'Hey I am cheating the system' add me to your fraudulent claims figures

If everyone who is on welfare was re evaluated using multi department checks I would bet that the actual fraud figure is a lot more than 1% however I would also imagine the cost of doing so would be a lot more then the money it would save plus the cost of putting and keeping those thieves in prison, so it will never get done, but unless it does we cannot put a percentage on the amount of fraudulent claims because we simply do not know the full scale

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 13:44:09

"Fraudsters by their very nature are liars and cheats" - yes agreed - so how about the way this govt have lied lied and lied again. None of these so-called welfare reforms or selling off the NHS was in their manifesto. In fact quite the opposite in terms of the NHS -remember Cameron's big smiey face "I'll cut the deficit not the NHS" yeah right. There have been large numbers of redundancies in the NHS.
There was a promise that no front line police officers would be cut, that too was a lie. When did you last see police officers marching against redundancies in the force.

What about all the billions of pounds that is "hived off" in off-shore accounts by the wealthy so that they don't have to pay income tax. What about the fraudsters with the expenses scandal (and yes I accept that this was true for Labour MPs too) What about the 2 ex Tory ministers, Jeffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken serving custodial sentences for fraud and perveting the course of justice, ie. lying?

You say we will never know the true figures of benefit fraud which is probably true but it is also true that we wil never know what kind of "white collar" fraud is being committed, and we are talking in terms of billions of pounds here, not the paltry sums of fruad committed by the "little people" (that's what the Tory toffs call people who are at the bottom of the pile.)

Tasmania I canot disagree with what you say about the high cost of rents in London, but why didn't the govt come clean and say "We are moving people out of London because they are not deserving of living in places where deserving people can't live" instead of hiding behind this benefit cap. I know why, they found a way of making people furious that benefit claimants were getting £2000 a month. They chose not to make the point that this was only going to effect people living in highly priced rented accommodation and in receipt of HB. SO 2 birds killed with one stone - get the undeserving out of London and make people think that all claimants get £2000 per month.

Are you aware that the vast majority of people needing to claim benefits are actually in work, but are working for the minimum wage which is not sufficent for their needs, thus forcing them to claim benefit in order to live a half decent life. Also many jobs are part time, and it is now comonplace for employees to have a "zero hours contract" which means that employers can pull them in when needed, amd shunt them off when they're not needed. Try telling that to the DWP and trying to claim benefit for when you are not receiving any income at all.

As if that wasn't bad enough, employed people are being told that they must seek to work longer hours, or benefits will be with-held. Tell me how do employees who work part time (not out of choice) going to force the employer to give them permanent contracts. Maybe IDS has the answer.

I'm not going to waste any more of my time. This govt is rotten to the core and what is happening now is the tip of the iceberg as they continue to wage war on the poor and give tax cuts to the rich, ie. Osborne cutting top rate of tax from 50% to 45% and then trying to justify it by saying high earners will take their business elsewhere if they have to pay too much tax. He must think we are stupid as him if we believe this.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 16:39:44

Please give me time
DH good job, Me paediactric nurse/midwife 3 lovely DC's perfect middle class YUK
One day baby arrived in SCBU (I was at delivery) he was Downs parents not interested so to cut a long story short he became the 1st of 8 of our fantastic adopted children 3 sadly have died. DH made redundant in 1992 as jobs were so scarce we decided to adopt a chid with extra special needs sadly she and her her subsequent brother died but we decided to battle on and have adopted 2 with very complex needs (tube fed Colostomy deafblind weekly infusions bowel washouts) the list goes on and that is just the youngest 2
We' re now OAP's Still as a family depending on benefits to support our lovely people and I must add we are not poor. So please tell me we are scroungers.
DC's 1 33 Downs poorly controlled epilepsy
2 27 Downs Crap heart pace maker
3 24 Downs crap heart
4 14 deafblind cerebral palsy epilepsy gut probs /tube fed
5 7 emanuel syndrome tube fed immune problems/weekly infusions
The list goes on
I have several friends are in our "old" position
BTW we as a family have saved the tax payer in excess of £6,000;000
DC4 was costing £5000/wk in care.
Would just like to point out we are not sitting on our arses

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 17:06:34

2old i think you are an amazing woman You and your DH both. The love and adoration for your children shines from your posts.
And i bet they love you very very much.

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