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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.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 17:13:05

Thanks Darkesteyes I really appreciate your comments (and your views) But I missposted meant it to go on the Philpot Post re Osbourne and Daily Fails comments on "welfare culture" IYSWIM X

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 17:48:26


"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.

They took over from Labour. Has it occurred to you that the previous government may not have disclosed what they have squandered money on? Spending increased a lot under Labour. Someone had to reil that in!!! I can imagine myself going "WTF?!?" after being elected and finally told the truth. Also... people are exaggerating the NHS issue. They've just been given more autonomy / responsibility. It's not like everyone is told to buy extensive private healthcare for £300 a month per person.

I cannot 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.

Because without quoting the numbers (and believe me, a lot of people did not know you can get that much in HB), it would be even more difficult to make people understand. The way you worded it sounds like social cleansing which gets people ruffled up in a different way, but it has been happening naturally already to those who are not on HB, due to the cost of living in certain areas. You can't win. Either way it sounds wrong, yet something has to be done.

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.

As mentioned several times: this is, in fact, true. I've seen it used as an excuse for the wealthy to take their business abroad (i.e. small firms with well-paid employees moving to Switzerland, for example).

I've said in other threads that Germany had huge austerity measures in place in the 90s - up until now, really, that makes them be better positioned now (they now register lowest unemployment figure for over a decade). In the 90s, German employees commanded much higher salaries than their competition abroad. One of the things the government did was to push down wages. In a proper "We're all in this together" mode, the government worked with the unions and businesses to get this done - each sacrificing things along the way. Workers' wages were cut - with some working part-time, etc. so that less jobs were cut. Some tax cuts were made. Businesses promised to stay. Somehow, I don't quite see the same thing happening here as most will take what they can.

YNK Sun 07-Apr-13 17:55:03

Some stats for you!

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 18:02:57

NanaNina I mean... look at Michael Caine. He was already a tax exile before, and always threatens to leave as soon as a tax hike is in sight. He famously told Blair: "You can't tax people who have enough money for air fare". That's how a lot of the mega wealthy are - internationally mobile. They'll just pay lower taxes somewhere else.

Tasmania Sun 07-Apr-13 18:13:31

Personally, what I would have introduced is rent control... literally slash it! Greedy landlords would see profits decline, HB could have decreased as a result and private renters would have more disposable income to spend... which MAY stimulate the economy.

But obviously, this would impact the lifestyle of the Babyboomer generation who may as well be seen as holy in this country.

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 18:37:08

I am 69 and work bloody hard

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 19:17:48

Hello 2oldtobeamum I thought I had come across you before, possibly on the adoption and fostering threads. I can barely imagine how difficult it is to cope with so many children with such complex health needs, but don't let that Tasmania woman get to you. I don't understand what she means about the babyboomer being seen as holy in this country. A very odd comment. I too am 69 and just thinking about coping with all of the children in your care makes me feel tired! You are saving the state thousands upon thousands of pounds, and I'm sure you love the children in your care, but tories aren't interested in such things as emotions - they are intent on waging war on the poor and the disabled. I just have a feeling though that their bedroom tax might be Osborne's poll tax - I do hope so.

Tasmania I know I said you weren't worth bothering about but I must counter you. The Labour party gave the banks a free rein and the bankers became greedy and were offering sub prime mortgages and the collapse of the Leemans Brothers Bank was the start of the rot. However the tories are now making the most disadvantaged people in society pay for the greed of the bankers, who are still awarding themselves huge bonuses and pensions.

On the issue of the NHS, NO they haven't just been given more autonomy/responsibility, large parts of the NHS are being sold off to "any willing provider" (Cameron's words) and this is happening right across the country. The govt puts out a tender (an invitation to buy) and private companies make their bids, and the one coming in cheapest, is awarded the contract. The govt then pay out millions (sometimes billions) to these private contractors, and they take over running the parts of the NHS that the govt see fit to "selll off" - the contractors know nothing of medicine or how to run a hospital, it is all about making profits, so that shareholders will become rich too as a result. They will cream off the less complex areas of medicine and most costly and take the rest - it's called "cherry picking" This "model" is called privatisation and this the govt's agenda, not just for the NHS but for all public services. Once the new contractors start to take over the employees terms and conditions can be altered at a stroke. Even if there is a TUPE transfer the new contractors only have to wait 2 years to change terms and conditions. You appear to be singularly uninformed about the privatisation agenda.

Since you mention private medical insurance, am I imagining that there are more and more adverts in the press and on TV for private health insurance, because this is how it will end up if this govt win the next election, though I think this is highly unlikely.

As for the mention of Michael Cane - how is this relevant to this debate!!

I agree that there should be rent controls to prevent landlords and ladies making huge profits and the HB bill being increased as a result. The govt won't be wanting to do anything about this though because again it is privatisation and that is what they want. Landlords/ladies are in a very good position at the moment because people cannot afford their first home (since Margaret Thatcher allowed council tenants to buy their council houses) and they were not replaced.

NanaNina Sun 07-Apr-13 19:22:32

Thanks for the link YNK - I take the Guardian and so keep up to date with what these cruel uncaring filthy rich toffs are doing to our country and the dismantling of the welfare state. I especially appreciate Polly Toynbee and John Harris in the Guardian as they have their finger on the pulse.

The trouble is I think the vast majority of the population read the red tops and the dreadful Daily Mail and believe what they read.

Anyhow Tasmanis why don't you take a look at the link providing stats and let us know what you think...............can barely wait for your reply.

Solopower1 Sun 07-Apr-13 19:43:35

Agree with you NanaNina - you write what I think. And 2oldtobeamum, thank you for posting and saying it as it is. flowers

2old2beamum Sun 07-Apr-13 19:51:01

NanaNina thankyou for your post am so glad I am not the only caring old fart on MN Yes I do go on adoption and I can assure you that are adopted DC's are loved as much as our home grown
Like you we get the Guardian. My main fears as an old midwife etc
is the NHS and the vulnerable
Some of these threads make me want to weep why is there so much greed?

Darkesteyes Sun 07-Apr-13 22:31:58

I get Guardian too. I love John Harris"s articles.

Maggysinge Mon 08-Apr-13 08:16:56

I can see how much good work the Tories are doing and how right they are when some scrounging bum on BBC news is crying that she can't take her 5 feral kids on holiday as all her benefits have been reduced. Now this is what needs to stop and I can't praise them enough. Keep up the good work Cameron et all.

Maggysinge Mon 08-Apr-13 08:18:37

Oh and to see all the lefties handwringing and all the hysteria is positively wonderful. Now that is what I call good work.

2old2beamum Mon 08-Apr-13 10:19:03

Maggysinge Please do not judge all by a few dysfuntional families if they were at the other end of the financial spectrum they could well be tax evaders. Being on Benefits does not make people scum.

NanaNina Mon 08-Apr-13 13:08:58

Well we seem to have lost Tasmania for the time being, but have gained another Tory (a worse one in my opinion) Ms I don't intend to engage with her - a total waste of time. The sad thing is though that so many people believe this crap that the tories put out, about "scroungers" and then picking on one dysfunctional family (like Osborne did with the Philpott case) just as Ms has done with something she saw on BBC. I think though the nastiest part of her post is the mention of "5 feral kids" - these children are almost certainly deprived and disadvantaged, and it is no fault of theirs that they are living in poverty. Don't even think many tories would sink that low.

Incidentally I see on the Osborne/Philpott business thread, that dozens and dozens of MNs are horrified by him trying to use that case to justify the fact that he is driving a coach and horses through the welfare state. I think he might have shot himself in the foot there. Hooray!!

Tasmania Mon 08-Apr-13 18:33:16


Why is everyone who disagrees with you "not worth for you to waste your time on"? This is a forum, and last time I checked the dictionary, that means "a public meeting place for open discussion" - emphasis on OPEN. This should not be a place to spread propaganda without it being questioned or a place where a purely leftist brigate commiserate with one another.

I'm not exactly a Tory - but as political parties here in the UK are so polarised that common sense seems to be going down the drain, I probably would say that at this point in time I agree more with the coalition than with Labour (and let's face it, there aren't more parties worth thinking about realistically). What I myself would do would be quite different to what has been done, but hey ho, I'm not the Prime Minister, nor the Chancellor.

What I would do is:
- introduce rent controls, coupled with a reduction in HB (theoretically, the former would result in the latter); I would NOT reduce JSA, because I do think that is the minimum.
- make winter fuel allowance / basic state pension means-tested (if you are sitting on millions, you don't need that in my mind). This means that only those who really need it will get it - I have a private pension plan, and I don't necessarily rely on ever getting state pension in 30+ years time.
- make NHS more efficient - I do think this should be run more like a company. No company would have gotten by spending billions on IT infrastructure that then gets shelved!

Just doing the above should save you a significant amount of money. I would also do a bit more research about how social housing is allocated. Not sure how that is done exactly, but from other threads, I've seen, some perfectly healthy people who may have gone through a rough period 20-odd years ago are still living in those flats, even though they've pulled themselves out, and are now earning well above the average wage. It was something to do with the flat being made available to you "for life". Surely, these flats are meant to be for those who really need it?!?

I quoted the Michael Caine comment, because you said somewhere that those with more money / businesses should be made to cough up. Unfortunately, the ones who have the cash, are very, very mobile, and they could just leave the country, losing us even more revenue.


Of course, you are not the stereotypical product of the Babyboomer generation! Apologies for that. People like you should have been given salaries rather than benefits to have done what you did. But statistically speaking, those who were in that generation benefitted from rising houseprices and a largely buoyant economy, with very little competition. They are also the biggest voting mass (it was a babyboom after all) in the UK and most likely to be home owners - which I believe is one of the reasons successive governments are unwilling to do something about the cost of housing... you'd lose a big proportion of your electorate if you go for policies that will result in a reduction of house prices...

NanaNina Tue 09-Apr-13 13:05:06

Yes I agree it is a place for debate, but I suppose I get weary of "debating" with tories as they are as wedded to their view as I am to mine. Glad you are not exactly a tory and I have to admit that there seems to be little difference between the coalition and Labour. Ed M is far too nice, too polite and that's no good in politics, you need to have the "fire in your belly" and be committed in your policies. He is mainly silent, and should be pointing out the ruthlessness of this coalition.

I agree with you about rent controls - there used to be legislation "The Fair Rent Act" - long gone. Also agree about winter fuel allowance - I give mine to my sister who needs it more than me.

Totally disagree with you about the NHS. As I said before you seem to be largely uninformed about the privatisation agenda. Public services do not need to be privatised and highly paid managers coming in with the business model and changing the terms and conditions of people who have spent years toiling away in the public services. OK this is something of a generalisation but I have always believed that public services run on goodwill. I am a retired social wrkr and middle manager and routinely worked 50-60 hours per week. My son and dil are primary school teachers and get home at 6.00 and then work for a couple of hours on most evening, and one of the weekend days, and parts of the holidays. My friend is a specialist nurse and works around 12 hours per day.

The truth of the matter is that govt don't trust public servants and as they don't produce anything for profit, the only way they can make money out of them is to commission private contractors to run the service and pay them billions of pounds, so that money can be made for the contractors and the shareholders. We are seeing it in the NHS, schools being bullied into becoming academies, privately run prisons, hospitals, probation service, police - as I said before they won't be satisfied until all public services are privatised. This doesn't mean the service will improve (many of the academies are doing less well in terms of exam results) than schools run by the headteacher and the LEA. The NHS has "authority" from the govt for up to 50% of their beds provided for private patients. What does that mean for the rest of us - I'm no economist but it's not difficult to work out how we will be disadvantaged.

I don't understand your point about the allocation of social housing and people put in "those flats" 20 years ago when they fell on hard times, but are now perfectly healthy and earning a good wage. In the days before Margaret Thatcher allowed people to buy their council houses, they used to be allocated on the basis of need by the LA. The problem is that insufficient new properties were built by councils to take the place of the council houses bought by the tenants.

As far as I am aware all LHAs contracted out the building and letting of housing to Housing Associations and the term now is social housing. Again this was done on the basis of need and numbers in the family etc. What we have now is the bedroom tax where people who have lived for years in their council homes or social care homes and have raised a family and they now have a spare bedroom, losing £14 per week in Housing Benefit if they have 1 spare room and £28 per week if there are 2 spare bedrooms. The only alternative is to try to move to smaller accdt. There are no smaller social housing for them to move to and their only option would be to leave their home and rent in the private sector, and because of high rents, the HB would paid would far outweigh the "savings" made on the bedroom tax.

Disabled people are not exempt from the bedroom tax and if they need a spare room (maybe for a carer to use) or a partner (where a disabled person needs a bed for themselves and their equipment) to use the remaining bedrom. They will have to apply to the LA for exemption. This is an absolute disgrace.

There is just no limit to what these toffs are going to do to make disadvantaged people worse off, whilst bailing out the HBOS Bank with 20 million of taxpayers money - yes that's right 20 million. Osborne will not agree that bankers' bonuses should be capped at twice their annual salary!!!!

I just hope Osborne's bedroom tax is the equivalent of the poll tax which Thatcher tried and failed to impose on the British people.

NanaNina Thu 11-Apr-13 13:27:11

SO why aren't you furthering the debate Tasmania.......??

cory Fri 12-Apr-13 10:13:23

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."

No, and as independent economic bodies are trying to point out to the government, there won't be any either, unless they revise their austerity policies which are holding back economic growth.

This government is like a farmer who has lost his crop due to bad weather and decides the only way forward is not to manure the next batch of seeds and to cut back on feeding his milk cows.

Yes, he may not have the money, but unless his seeds and cattle are treated right, he will lose all his chances of making money in the future too.

2old2beamum Fri 12-Apr-13 16:06:38

Beautifully put cory. Could not have put it better

NanaNina Fri 12-Apr-13 19:24:49

Ooh haven't seen you on MN for ages Cory but remember your name. Can't remember which threads though. Might have been when I was defending MILs!! Agree with your post and your analogy, but this govt won't listen to any of their critics, be they economists, doctors, teachers, whoever - so long as they look after their own interests (and those of their ilk) the rest can be written off.

2old2beamum Fri 12-Apr-13 21:42:17

NanaNina We speak the same language am glad I am not the onlyold fart on here. Have read some of your threads smile
Sorry off thread.

ttosca Sat 13-Apr-13 23:18:17

Voters 'brainwashed by Tory welfare myths', shows new poll

Survey shows public ignorance of the level of benefits and who gets them


Ministers were accused of demonising benefits claimants in an attempt to justify their controversial decision to increase most state handouts by less than inflation.

Polling commissioned by the Trades Union Congress suggests that a campaign by Tory ministers is turning voters against claimants – but only because the public is being fed "myths" about those who rely on benefits.

The criticism comes before a crunch Commons vote next Tuesday on the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, which will ensure that most benefits and tax credits will rise by only one per cent for the next three years. Labour, which will vote against the measure, tried today to answer Tory claims that it is "soft" on scroungers by announcing a "tough love" plan to force adults who have been out of work for more than two years to take up a government "job guarantee" or lose their benefits.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has spoken about "the shiftworker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next-door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits". Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has highlighted figures showing that benefits have risen by almost twice as much as earnings in the past five years. According to YouGov, four out of 10 people think benefits are too generous and three in five believe the system has created a culture of dependency. However, people who know least about the facts are the most hostile towards claimants. More than half of those who are "least accurate" about the system think benefits are too generous, while fewer than one in three (31 per cent) of those giving the "most accurate" answers agree.

Mr Osborne's decision to cap most benefit rises at one per cent is supported by 48 per cent and opposed by 32 per cent. But, by a margin of three to one, people think the squeeze will mainly hit the unemployed. When told it will also affect low-paid workers receiving tax credits, people oppose the move by 40 to 30 per cent. Only one in four people believe benefits should go up by less than wages or prices, while 63 per cent want to see them linked to wages, prices or both.

Frances O'Grady, the TUC General Secretary, said: "It is not surprising that voters want to get tough on welfare. They think the system is much more generous than it is in reality, is riddled with fraud and is heavily skewed towards helping the unemployed, who they think are far more likely to stay on the dole than is actually the case. Indeed if what the average voter thinks was true, I'd want tough action too.

"But you should not conduct policy, particularly when it hits some of the most vulnerable people in society, on the basis of prejudice and ignorance. And it is plainly immoral to spread such prejudice purely for party gain, as ministers and their advisers are doing, by deliberately misleading people about the value of benefits and who gets them."

Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, accused ministers of resorting to "smears" by claiming they are targeting the workshy and benefit scroungers when two-thirds of those affected by the cap are in work.

Mr Balls announced that Labour would raise £1bn by limiting tax relief on pension contributions to 20 per cent for those on more than £150,000 a year. This would fund a "compulsory jobs guarantee" for the 129,000 adults over the age of 25 who have been jobless for more than two years, a move that would later be extended to those on the dole for more than a year.

Writing on the PoliticsHome website, Mr Balls said: "A One Nation approach to welfare reform means government has a responsibility to help people into work and support those who cannot, but those who can work must be required to take up jobs or lose benefits – no ifs or buts. Britain needs real welfare reform that is tough, fair and that works, not divisive, nasty and misleading smears from an out-of-touch and failing government."

Ministers insist there is strong public support for reducing the welfare bill, saying the TUC had failed to produce an example of the Government misleading people. Mr Osborne hit back at Mr Balls, accusing him of making uncosted spending commitments because he had already announced plans to spend the same £1bn on reversing cuts to tax credits.

A government source said last night: "It beggars belief that Labour's union baron backers think people are stupid for daring to suggest the benefits system needs reforming. If Labour seriously thinks stopping households receiving more in benefits than families earn going out to work is prejudiced and ignorant, it is completely out of touch."

LaVolcan Tue 16-Apr-13 19:56:01

May I commend this report to you.

The only problem as I see it is that the ones who need to have the facts pointed out to them will almost certainly be the ones who won't bother to read it.

Astley Tue 16-Apr-13 20:27:20

All soldiers are provided with accommodation at their home barracks once they have finished basic training. So no one needs to live at home. If they do, it's because they decided to, why should that be funded by the tax payer?

Also, barrack accommodation is heavily subsidised and deducted straight from salary, so no chance of rent arrears and/or eviction.

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