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

ssd Mon 22-Apr-13 08:18:12

so fargo, you think the bankers played no, or at least, just a small part in all this?

and your airy fairy view of people being happy to live on benefits is so so patronising, when will people like you learn for every family happy to live out their lives in the benefit system there are thousands desperate to get off benefits and find jobs that will give them more than a hand to mouth existence.

and mamatee, I agree with you, the above post from fargo demonstrates what you wrote entirely.

2old2beamum Mon 22-Apr-13 08:44:45

fargo You seem to think it is so easy to get off benefits Try telling my 2 beautiful daughters who were both "sacked" from thier voluntary due to their learning disability!
I am dismayed at some posters lack of compassion.
Life on benefits is crap and very few would choose it choice.

cory Mon 22-Apr-13 09:14:20

The government are working very hard to get disabled people off benefits: what they don't seem to have is some kind of plan for forcing employers to take on employees who are likely to be less productive, need expensive adaptations in the workplace and have just had their funding cut for the aids that help them to get to work in the first place.

So hand on heart, how many of you would offer a job to somebody who was paralysed or had terminal cancer or had a mental age of 4, if you had even one applicant who was fit and healthy and of normal intelligence? How many could afford to take that risk? The small firm dh worked for suffered severe economic hardship because one of their workers was off ill all the time and not physically fit to do the only jobs that needed doing. So how many of you would take on a new employee who was having chemo?

Of course, in current times, most people can expect to have to apply for many jobs before they get one. But a severely disabled person can expect to come bottom of every single job application pile forever.

We are not talking people with a minor impairment, like missing an arm or something. That kind of person does not get signed off work, they are working.

ExRatty Mon 22-Apr-13 10:08:46

Did you know that if you are under 35 and single you are paid a housing benefit rate for a shared house.
If you are a single person who loses their job you aren't paid a housing benefit rate for a one bedroom flat (which seems reasonable to expect) you are paid an amount for someone expected to live in shared accommodation.
This means that for many people they cannot afford to remain in their flat.

niceguy2 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:04

so niceguy, do you think austerity is the answer, rather than ensuring legal tax avoidance is stopped and the bankers who caused the mess be brought to justice and the banking system changed to ensure it never happens again?

Austerity is not the answer on it's own. It cannot be. We do need economic growth. I'm all for investment projects which will benefit the economy in the future. However, I'd take a lot of convincing to believe that this investment should come via more borrowed money. I'd personally prefer to see money coming from existing tax revenues.

Otherwise it's akin to a man up to his neck in debt suggesting that the answer is to borrow more money to buy a car/suit/whatever whilst he hasn't taken any serious steps to curtail his unaffordable lifestyle. Sure it's possible....not very credible though.

Legal tax avoidance will never be 'stopped' completely but a lot is already being done to clamp down on it. Something which I support. But I think we need to accept that some of the magical figures quoted in the press are inaccurate. Again, I don't think that is a silver bullet to our problems. Even the TUC say the figure 'lost' is 25 billion so it's far short of the £100 billion deficit. I'm not saying £25 billion is not welcome but that even if this mystical figure could be recovered, we'd still need austerity. Interestingly they claim that £8 billion of taxes are lost because the wealthiest have engaged in 'tax planning'. Erm...isn't that sensible? I've put my meagre savings in an ISA. That was planned on my part. Am I a capitalist tax avoider?

And the bankers? Yes they caused a mess but that is not the root cause for the UK's problems. As you can see from the links I posted earlier, we've been sleepwalking our way to into a debt crisis for decades. The banking system is being changed. The EU are capping banker bonuses & have changed the amount of capital which is needed (source). In the UK the FSA has been changed into the FCA (source). And of course the EU are talking about a transaction tax which personally I think is a good idea if it were global. Not sure it's a good idea for just the UK/EU since it will drive work abroad.

And I read an article (link) which I thought was excellent. And that is that the UK banks which have been bailed out did not fail because they did a lot of casino gambling but in fact failed for more 'traditional' reasons.

HBOS, Northern Rock & Dumferline BS all failed because they lent too many people too much money. Something the new rules on capital should help avoid.

RBS went bust because it paid an insane amount of money buying ABN Amro.

The banks with huge investment arms such as HSBC, Barclays. They all survived without government bailouts.

So in short I don't believe austerity is the answer on it's own any more than I think closing tax loopholes will be the answer. It is clear to me that the only answer is going to involve a mixture of austerity, closing tax loopholes, raising taxes in certain areas, lowering taxes in other areas. We also need investment in capital projects leading to economic growth.

Of course it's nice to believe that there is a pain free answer and I can understand the desire to jump on the bandwagon to claim cuts are unnecessary but I don't think the facts reflect that.

ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 14:01:54

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ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 23:40:02

'nice'guy-

> In practice it isn't as simple as that. Let's take 2011-2012 since it's the last year figures are readily available for and a good illustration. I'll even use the Guardian for the figures which is hardly a right wing rag.

> We currently have a deficit of around £120bn. source

Yes, and look at the period - using the source you quoted to support your argument - from 2008 upwards.

What happened in 2008? Gosh - was it all that spending on schools and hospitals and welfare?!

By golly, I think it was the financial crisis! I think you've cracked it! The financial crisis was the cause of the huge jump in deficit (and also debt).

> As you will see, welfare makes up the largest piece of the pie by a significant margin. With health and then education.

As it should be, since health and education are prerogatives of the state, along with social security.

> So...I'd be very interested in seeing where you believe we can cut back and save £120bn? Which departments do you deem are totally unnecessary and should close and which do you think should cut back to fund our welfare bill? Since it's all about priorities isn't it, I am interested in seeing where your priorities are.

We don't need to cut back and save 120bn because we have a 120bn deficit, you silly person. We are in the middle of a recession, due to the financial crisis, which means that tax receipts have plummeted (corporate taxes, VAT, and other taxes) whilst welfare costs have risen (rising unemployment).

We need to get ourselves out of the recession, and return to growth. This will automatically fix a huge chunk of the deficit and government revenue recovers. This must be our first priority.

> Lastly even the Guardian notes that '....how anything less than a billion is really not that much in government terms' In that context £10million for a one off single event isn't anything to get het up about. It's the equivalent of saying "I earn £2k a month and am spending £3k" then you getting pissed off at me because I bought a Freddo for 10p. The elephant in the room isn't the 10p, it's the grand a month I'm overspending by.

No, the problem is that you've lost your job, not that you've bought a Freddo (whatever that is). Seeking employment should be your first priority.

Likewise, we're not 'overspending' 120bn pounds per year. If you think that's the case, then explain how public spending rose from £36 bn in 2007 to £156 bn in 2009? Did we spend an addition £120bn annual on schools, hospitals, nurses, roads, etc.?

No, we didn't. We have a huge deficit now because whilst our spending has remained constant or increased marginally, govt. revenue has dropped considerably due to the financial crisis and subsequent recession.

I've explained this to you 1,000,000 times. If you don't understand, say that you don't understand. Otherwise, stop repeating the same old economically illiterate nonsense.

ttosca Mon 22-Apr-13 23:59:51

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ttosca Tue 23-Apr-13 00:01:54

> And the bankers? Yes they caused a mess but that is not the root cause for the UK's problems.

They are precisely the root cause of the UK - and global - financial crisis and recession.

> As you can see from the links I posted earlier, we've been sleepwalking our way to into a debt crisis for decades.

As you can see from the link I posted earlier:

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1950_2011UKp_12c1li011mcn_G0t

We most certainly haven't beed accumulating debt for decades.

ttosca Tue 23-Apr-13 17:53:30

*This is the self-censored version of a post which was removed by Mumsnet*

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niceguy-

> So. The argument here which ttosca is referring that we've been arguing debating over to is whether or not we need austerity. What I'm saying is that in my opinion yes we do.

We need austerity in the same way that an unemployed person needs to sell his house, his car, his computer, and all his clothes.

AUSTERITY IS A FAILURE. We have had no economic growth for the past three years since the coalition came to power. Unemployment has RISEN. The debt has RISEN. The UK credit rating has been downgraded TWICE. We may be heading for an unprecedented triple-dip recession.

Austerity during a recession DOES NOT WORK.

> Ttosca's opinion is that we do not need cuts and in fact we don't have a debt
problem.

No, that's wrong. Austerity during a recession almost always exacerbates the recession. That is why austerity is wrong and counterproductive. Once we the UK economy has recovered, we can re-examine the finances, and then discuss how the rich should pay for the mess they created. In fact, we can do that now in any case.

>Given we're clearly borrowing so much money each year, I think that attitude cannot be justified.

Once again, you're confusing debt with deficit. The debt (as debt/GDP ratio) has not steadily risen year after year. It has declined for most of the second half of the 20th Century.

www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/spending_chart_1950_2011UKp_12c1li011mcn_G0t

Prior to the financial crisis, it fluctuated around the same percentage (35-40%) for around two or three decades.

There was a a large jump after the financial crisis because we bailed out the banks worth hundreds of billions of pounds and because our deficit increased massively due to a revenue crisis (loss of tax receipts due to the recession).

> I believe the sooner we deal with it, the sooner our kids will be better off.

Our kids will be better off if we don't don't live in a world modeled on neo-liberal economic policies.

> Ttosca's answer is to deny the problem and keep borrowing. Is anyone seriously saying that we can get out of debt without cutting anything and just keep borrowing?

No, my answer is to spur economic growth, and most of the deficit will fix itself. We can do this by investing in infrastructure. Meanwhile, we can recover tens of billions in lost tax through stopping tax evasion/avoidance.

> Now Ttosca likes to paint me as some right wing Tory boy who loves the rich and hates the poor.

> In reality I think I'm more right of centre than right wing. I believe in the NHS, state education, being in Europe and also welfare. What I don't believe is that we can continually spend money where we simply don't have it.

And once again, the cause of our economic situation we find ourselves in today is the result of the financial crisis and subsequent recession. It was not caused by overspending in public services like schools and hospitals.

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