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Thread: Benefits Street : Gratuitous Poverty Porn or genuine documentary?

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    Benefits Street : Gratuitous Poverty Porn or genuine documentary?

    I'm interested in this issue. Like most of us I had opinions on the benefits "culture" in the UK and spent most of the first episode of this shouting at the TV. However as the series progressed I started to feel ashamed of our country's policies that both encourage a mentality where people see themselves as better off out or work and also effectively works to keep many people who want to work unemployed for fear of actually losing money. The debates that have followed have generally followed one of two threads:

    1- that channel 4 spent 18 months filming the entire street yet Cherry picked those likely to provide the "best" talking points and that in doing so grossly misrepresented the vast majority of those living on James Turner st
    2- that the show actually highlights the true problems associated with a life on benefits but that actually the majority of those claiming benefits do so correctly and the majority of those being because they are actually retired rather than unemployed.

    Clearly this is a divisive issue and I'd be interested to hear everyone's opinions on the show or the argument it has raised both in and out of parliament. Does our benefits system need over hauling?
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    Without a doubt our state needs an overhaul.

    What it should then look like, or who should be responsible, I have no idea!! xx

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    I couldn't bring myself to watch the programme as I knew I'd be screaming at the tv for exactly the reason, the benefit system does need a overhaul. How can it be that somebody is better off on benefits than working, and how can they afford no essential items, such as pets, alcohol, cigs etc I'm not saying these should be banned but its just irritating that they seem to be able to afford these things whilst I have to save up.

    I'd like to see something like a debit card for those on benefits which can only be used by the card holder & can only be used for say food and essential items & maybe for fuel.

    I also think that people today expect to get benefits if they can't work and they also expect to have a roof over their heads as well.

    Well I've not really answered your questions, but in a nutshell yes the benefit system does need overhauling, I think Cameron has started to put some good plans in place.

    As for the tv series it wouldn't make good tv if they didn't show those like to raise the 'best' talking points.

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    During one of the tv debates a good idea (I thought) was touted that apparently is adopted in Wales. That those that have been unemployed for a year or more but who CAN work are guaranteed 6 months paid employment with a company. This isn't designed to give them a long term solution but is designed to give them better workplace skills to make them more employable in the future. This would then be funded by the government who would use the money saved in paying benefit during that period of employment to offer incentives to established companies to provide these work 'placements'.

    Ok ok it wouldn't solve the issue of those that can't work through disability but it might help school leavers and grads to get work and it gives an impetus to those who maybe see themselves as better off on benefits to work as they run the risk of having their benefits cut if they don't comply.
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    Good idea, along as it doesn't lead to cheap labour, yes it gives them working skills which a lot of young people don't have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Holidays View Post
    Good idea, along as it doesn't lead to cheap labour, yes it gives them working skills which a lot of young people don't have.
    They couldn't dip below minimum wage either way so they would be no worse off than many many others.
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    I saw one of the guys from benefit street in town yesterday, he was selling the big issue I didn't buy one as didn't have any cash

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Holidays View Post
    I couldn't bring myself to watch the programme as I knew I'd be screaming at the tv for exactly the reason, the benefit system does need a overhaul. How can it be that somebody is better off on benefits than working, and how can they afford no essential items, such as pets, alcohol, cigs etc I'm not saying these should be banned but its just irritating that they seem to be able to afford these things whilst I have to save up. I'd like to see something like a debit card for those on benefits which can only be used by the card holder & can only be used for say food and essential items & maybe for fuel. I also think that people today expect to get benefits if they can't work and they also expect to have a roof over their heads as well. Well I've not really answered your questions, but in a nutshell yes the benefit system does need overhauling, I think Cameron has started to put some good plans in place. As for the tv series it wouldn't make good tv if they didn't show those like to raise the 'best' talking points.
    What about the people that can work, and want to work, but can't find a job? You are aware that there are more people than jobs in this country?

    Why shouldn't people expect help and a roof over their heads? Introducing the welfare system and stopping the poor houses were two of the things that made Britain Great!

    I'm interested to know what countries you think do it well? What you'd like us to aspire up?

    Do you know many people that have to survive on benefits? Of the people I've met that do, not many are proud of it and not many have an easy ride.

    The people avoiding paying tax are doing far more damage to our country.

    The only job Cameron has done well is demonising the poor, and making the British public believe it's the poor making us poor, whilst the rich keep getting richer.

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    It's a television programme.

    The sole concern of the producers of television programmes is to make what they call "good television". It doesn't matter who or what gets damaged in the process.

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    One of the most interesting points is something I saw emblazoned on a news paper billboard about 1m benefits cheats blah blah but surely that's sensationalising those in the minority and using emotive words like "cheats" tars everyone with a singular brush? What about the other, perfectly valid claimants that use the system for whatnot was intended.

    I personally believe that whether someone wants to work or not shouldn't come into it. It should be down to those that CAN and every help should be given to them to ensure that that happens. If the government is failing people in this way by not investing in industry and things like apprenticeships etc then this is a section to be overhauled. That's why I liked the idea if guaranteed paid job placements for school leavers. Like I said before it doesn't fix anything but surely its a step in the right direction. The government should be doing all they can to help people who can work find a job and it should never be the case that someone has to work for less than the current benefit system has them on.

    Outsourcing of industry to cheaper countries, bringing in our food so we can enjoy out of season produce has all added to the downturn in our work availability. This should be addressed too!!
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    I agree our system needs an overhaul but other factors need to be addressed, for example our childcare costs. I currently pay £1000 per month for a part time nursery place plus a further £200 for a place at after school club for my eldest. Luckily, we both earn decent money and paying this doesn't affect our lifestyles too much. Apart from having to wait a while before number 3. I have a friend who wants to work but couldn't afford childcare, she would be classed as a 'benefit fraud' as she can work but can't afford it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pippa1987 View Post
    What about the people that can work, and want to work, but can't find a job? You are aware that there are more people than jobs in this country?

    Those that can work but canít find a job are those I think we should help as said earlier posts, mores should be done. Yes Iím aware the jobs to unemployment ratio.

    Why shouldn't people expect help and a roof over their heads? Introducing the welfare system and stopping the poor houses were two of the things that made Britain Great!

    What I was getting at is there are some unemployed people who donít want to work yet expect to be given benefits, such as a roof over their heads. The NHS also made Britain Great!

    I'm interested to know what countries you think do it well? What you'd like us to aspire up?

    Germany has a good welfare system Iím not saying we should aspire to them.

    Do you know many people that have to survive on benefits? Of the people I've met that do, not many are proud of it and not many have an easy ride.

    Yep, Iíve been one of those who has had to survive on benefits.

    The people avoiding paying tax are doing far more damage to our country.

    The only job Cameron has done well is demonising the poor, and making the British public believe it's the poor making us poor, whilst the rich keep getting richer.

    I still believe Cameron has done some good & IMO he is working to make a fairer system, but not everyone likes change.
    I've put my response above

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    Quote Originally Posted by louise1982 View Post
    I agree our system needs an overhaul but other factors need to be addressed, for example our childcare costs. I currently pay £1000 per month for a part time nursery place plus a further £200 for a place at after school club for my eldest. Luckily, we both earn decent money and paying this doesn't affect our lifestyles too much. Apart from having to wait a while before number 3. I have a friend who wants to work but couldn't afford childcare, she would be classed as a 'benefit fraud' as she can work but can't afford it.
    I agree and that's my point. If she wants to work then there should be things in place that mean she can. Whether that's addressing the childcare issue or making work pay a decent living wage that she can afford childcare. There is an imbalance. I spend nearly 50% of my wages on childcare. Either way the current situation where your friend wants to work but can't because she is artificially better off as she is and not paying childcare is crazy. The government need to wake up to this issue.

    Also "can't" work isn't limited to disability. I'd agree that she can't work and there is a perfectly valid reason why. She has a dependant and actually women are more penalised than men in this respect. Traditionally anyway. Although, before anyone says it, I'm sure there are plenty of stay at home dads who also find themselves struggling to find work because they have given up a portion of their careers too.

    a benefit fraud is someone who falsely claims despite being able to work either through deliberately failing interviews to keep the jsa coming in or through fraudulently claiming disability when they shouldn't. Thankfully these are few and far between in the scheme of things.
    Last edited by lickthelid : 3rd March, 2014 at 08:14 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by louise1982 View Post
    I have a friend who wants to work but couldn't afford childcare, she would be classed as a 'benefit fraud' as she can work but can't afford it.
    Is she a one parent family? Reason I'm asking is if not then why can't she work evening,nights or weekends?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cavegirl13 View Post
    Is she a one parent family? Reason I'm asking is if not then why can't she work evening,nights or weekends?
    No, she's not a single parent. She did go back to work briefly after her mat leave ended and worked opposite shifts to her partner but travel costs and the loss in housing benefit meant that she didn't come out with anything at the end of the month, plus there was no quality family time.
    To get a better paid job she would have to put the children into daytime nursery but that's not an option. I feel for them, as they really do live hand to mouth each month.

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