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to think that there are people who choose to live a life on benefits?

(1000 Posts)
autumnlights12 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:51:39

the recent threads about George Osbourne made me wonder..
A high number of posters say that people don't choose to live like that, they stumble into it, hate it, what a miserable existence it is, nobody would ever choose it etc..
but if you have two or three children through choice, whilst at the same time having no job to provide for them, or if you turn down the job at the local factory (as I know someone who did) because it pays £7.50 an hour and a full time job there doesn't give you the same unemployment rights and benefits, isn't that choosing to live a life on benefits? Or being trapped on benefits? I'm not talking about people who can't work, disabled people, ill people, women dumped by feckless ex and left to fend for herself etc.. of course they should be protected.
I was watching 999 What's Your Emergency and I know that area. And I know people like that exist. And it's often a second, third generation who have never worked a day in their life, even during times when work was freely available. In the town I live, we have numerous Eastern European immigrants who all seem to be working, but mostly in low paid work the locals wont do
What say you?

TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 10-Oct-12 11:52:42

I say ugh

That's it.

But other people will no doubt have much more to say.

ginslinger Wed 10-Oct-12 11:54:37

I say that you should have a cup of tea, a piece of cake and relax.

kilmuir Wed 10-Oct-12 11:55:35


autumnlights12 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:55:53

I'm sure there are people trapped on benefits. I was raised by a single Mother who had no choice but to go to work because there was no cushion of welfare back in those days.

LFCisTarkaDahl Wed 10-Oct-12 11:57:40

Of course there are people like that - the problem is that it's a very small amount of people and the actual cost of it is nowhere near the amount of tax lost due to avoidance.

So Osborne protects his cronies from 'suffering' during recessions and instead seeks to quell the poor by whittering on about all the 'feckless scroungers'.

If I told you it represented less than a sixth of one per cent of the total bill would you then have it in context?

The Tories deliberately don't provide a context, they'd rather capitalise on class hatred and scare monger.

SoleSource Wed 10-Oct-12 11:57:49

I am a Carer on benefits. I got a job recently. I am English, not Polish, sorry to disappoint you there.

irishchic Wed 10-Oct-12 11:57:52

YANBU but you'll prepare for the flaming that usually falls upon anyone who dares to make this sort of point on MN!

Ephiny Wed 10-Oct-12 11:58:06

Yes I think some people choose to, it's an almost unavoidable consequence of providing a social safety-net tbh. I'm sure most don't though.

HecateLarpo Wed 10-Oct-12 11:58:40

I know that there are. I know several. And there can be a culture of benefits, a generational one. It was like that on the estate I grew up on. People are very naive if they claim that is never the case, with anyone.

however, as a percentage of the total number of people on benefits - it is very small. Very, very small. But it is convenient for the politicians to pretend that everyone on benefits is sitting back, laughing. It's not the case.

Hullygully Wed 10-Oct-12 11:59:00

or if you turn down the job at the local factory (as I know someone who did) because it pays £7.50 an hour and a full time job there doesn't give you the same unemployment rights and benefits, isn't that choosing to live a life on benefits? Or being trapped on benefits?

I think you answered your own question here, dear.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Wed 10-Oct-12 12:01:12

Tell you what OP - why don't you worry about YOUR life and YOUR choices and keep your views on everybody else's choices to yourself. You don't know why people live as they do. You don't know what influences them or has confined them to a certain path.

The concept of the deserving versus the undeserving poor went out about 150 years ago btw.

trixie123 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:01:31

I say duck and cover! The problem with threads like this is that people ignore the caveats that you have added to say there are many people who DO justifiably need to rely on the benefit system and will jump straight into telling you you are a bigot, a Tory etc. You are not wrong, there are people who choose to rely on the state and it is a shame but if they CAN be better off that way than taking low paid work that won't pay childcare costs then I can see how people decide to do it. Perhaps the problem is more that it currently does work out better to stay off work if you have childcare issues. Despite the fact that per hour, childcare providers are also low paid, it is still a HUGE cost for most families.

Snorbs Wed 10-Oct-12 12:01:35

I think there are, but I think people like that are a very small percentage of the overall number of people who claim benefits. Don't forget that there are more people claiming housing benefit who work than those who don't.

My (admittedly anecdotal and non-professional) experience suggests that many of the people who are resigned to a life on benefits have drug/alcohol issues that make then nigh-on unemployable anyway. There may very well be mental health problems underlying those drug/alcohol issues as well.

What do you suggest happens to such people? Just stop the money and watch them die on the streets?

autumnlights12 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:03:43

I don't care how small or high the percentage is though, it's still a vast vast sum of money. It needs to be addressed instead of avoided because it's politically incorrect to notice that the sky is blue.

OneHandFlapping Wed 10-Oct-12 12:08:52


Snorbs Wed 10-Oct-12 12:09:22

So I ask again. What do you suggest happens to such people? Just stop the money and watch them die on the streets?

nemno Wed 10-Oct-12 12:10:10

My, admittedly limited, experience of families who rely on benefits and have no intention of doing anything else suggests that the benefit part is the least of the costs. Way more is spent on them because of frequent police and SS involvement. Targeting these few families in each community for extra help will work out much cheaper in the long run if the children can be weaned out of the vicious cycle.

HecateLarpo Wed 10-Oct-12 12:10:58

It matters a lot that it is a small percentage because that should change how it is dealt with. The majority should not pay for the actions of the minority.

Instead of taking a hammer to an entire system and act like everyone's sitting back with no desire to have a different lifestyle on the grounds that some people somewhere have the attitude that they are just going to claim and never work, they should look at the small (statistically) number of people who have this life and this feeling, really look at why they do and identify how best to change that. How best to break the cycle.

olgaga Wed 10-Oct-12 12:12:23

42% of welfare spending goes on pensioners: £77bn in total. And more than 15% - £31bn - goes on children, via child benefit and the child tax credit. That’s almost £6 out of every £10 of welfare spending accounted for and, so far, not a “scrounger” in sight.

Then we’ve got another 10% going on support for disabled people – and this should not be confused with incapacity benefit, now called employment and support allowance, or ESA. A further 5% goes to carers and boosting the incomes of the working poor.

Only a shade over a 10th of the benefits bill – and a far smaller share of total public spending – is actually spent on directly replacing the incomes of those not in work, through jobseeker’s allowance, income support and ESA (£21bn in total). The remaining large items of spending are council tax benefit (£5bn) and housing benefit (£20bn).

Source: IPPR

MumsGoToReykjavik Wed 10-Oct-12 12:12:34

I know of several families (my sister and her own family included) who make a deliberate choice to not work and to live off benefits. Lots and lots of people like to try and pretend it isn't going on but it most certainly is.

Bubblemoon Wed 10-Oct-12 12:13:20

It clearly is a lifestyle choice for some who should know better and could make better choices for themselves. But what an unfulfilling life. Shame on us all for making it possible.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 10-Oct-12 12:14:14


Too many people deny that others like that exist, and they are wrong. These people do exist, and not in small numbers. There are entire postcodes where no one works.

I think most of us could name at least one family who chooses to be on benefits, so while it may be a small percentage of all people, it's not a small number. In the same way that some of the socialist lefties on here talk about every landlord being greedy or every higher rate taxpayer being guilty of avoidance, we should take steps to prevent people making choices that are detrimental to society, at other ends of the scale.

wannabedomesticgoddess Wed 10-Oct-12 12:14:14

Ofcourse there are. I know people who choose to live for brew days and get pissed all week and go down to the JCP as a social outing to apply for another crisis loan.

I know a girl who had another child to get more money even though she cant cope with her first.

The problem is, these people are in the minority. But the government would like everyone to believe that anyone who is on benefits chooses to live like this. Its simply not true.

People have lost jobs everywhere. People are now having to claim the benefits they paid tax and NI for and are being demonised for it.

I said it on another thread, I will say it here again, 999 Whats your emergency? feels very much like another form of government propaganda to reinforce their message that benefits is a choice.

Peachy Wed 10-Oct-12 12:14:32

What hecate says.

I am trapped on benefits (tax credits, DH works but low paid) because there infrastructure in disability services that would allow me to work is non existent- I am a Carer. i did work, iI now do not.

I used to work in a parenting charity in a town notorious for unemployment and trouble: yet to meet a family for whom I cannot see any reasons as to why they ended up thee, from abuse through to whatever. It's help they need, which costs, so they just get insults from the state instead.

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