10 lies we’re told about welfare

Letters to the Editor


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

• Ruth Patrick: This is how people on benefits actually feel


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.

Protesters against the proposed 'bedroom tax' gather outside Downing Street in London. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
Protesters against the proposed ‘bedroom tax’ gather outside Downing Street in London. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

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.

The Guardian

14 thoughts on “10 lies we’re told about welfare

  1. wildthing666 says:

    Lie #1 is the reduction really 14% of £53 or is it 14% of the house rent? IMHO it is 14% of the house rent, so using my 2 bed flat as an example then after the new taxes they bought in he would have £17.74 APPROX less than that to pay for water, gas, electric and food about £35 a week add that like council tax they expect some bills to be paid over 10 months not 12 then he would have £7 per week for council tax leaving just £28 per week the gas,electric,water and food or an average of just just £7 per bill per week. Seems it doesn’t take much to prove IDS is totally stupid

    1. wildthing666 says:

      Think I may have added the council tax twice, but even @ £35 per week he wouldn’t do it.

  2. jed goodright says:

    It comes to something when it’s a celebrity getting angry about what is happening in this country whilst the labour party say and do FUCK ALL

  3. kelpiemare says:

    IDS, Godeon Osborne, David Cameron et al are, purely and simply, are absolute liars.
    IDS could live on £53pw….really? Hm £7 per day. Well, matey, my electricity costs average out at £8 per day. (Old farmhouse…..and winter has been Baltic.) So, Tory liars, should we heat our home or eat?

    Better still, why don’t y’all f*** off and grow up.

  4. Peachy says:

    Thank you Ricky. I am a Carer married to a man with a small business, 3 of our children ahve special needs and on FFriday we might find out why as we get the results of tests we have waited for since August. We know 2 have autism already. O er the apst few eyars we have worked our butts off caring for the boys, studying alongside working (me for a part time MA in Auutism, husband completes his degree in teh same field as his business in June). And yet we are, apparently, lazy scroungers. How? We worked hard, paid our dues, the business was established when amrk was made redundant rather than be made jobless. This last lot of cuts don’t hit us too abd as we are in a privately rented house, but i dread when my sons need to claim PIP, pretty sure then one on High Rate DLA won’t get it becuase of how it’s now worded ( a teenager who has never beeen able to leave the house without supervision and attends a special school unit). When universal credit comes in it will make the bbusiness so very much harder to run, adds a lot to admin and requires Mark to take on extra work if profits are low- he already does a 70 hour week. I can’t even find an answer on what would happen if I tried to complete my CV with a special needs teaching qualification, something I might manage around the boys as they get older. it’s ridiculous, unfair and quite, quite cruel.

  5. Ray Smith says:

    I too back the sentiments in the Unite Our WelfareWorks campaign but like most things that come from Unite these days its no more than meaningless words without concrete actions. This time the words are seemingly designed to put a a bit of spin on McClusky’s election campaign. For example since 2001 Unite gave Labour £41 million with no demands for any promise of substantial returns. In the meanwhile ther Labour government destroyed the protection afforded by the 1974 Consumer Credit Act to please the bosses, bankers and financiers. Meanwhile Unite general secretaries live millionaire lifestyles compared the vast majority of the membership who live on the minimum wage, no wage or benefits. For this and lots of others reasons I support Jerry Hicks.

  6. Annos says:

    “On April 1, the new Health and Social Care Act came into effect. This overturns the 1946 legislation that founded the NHS as a provider of free, universal health care. Clause 12 of the act states that the government, via the secretary of state for health, no longer has a legal “duty to provide” a comprehensive health service. Instead newly created Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) merely have a “duty to arrange” health care.”


  7. Kevin Mullins says:

    Hi Ricky
    hope you soon get justice for the stitch up you and your comrades have endured all these years. Thanks for giving your time to the campaign.

  8. Humanity2012 says:

    It is those Westminster Scum Politicians who have been on the Expenses Gravytrain
    who are the Real Scroungers

    They Piss me Off

    Increase Welfare and Stuff the Wasting of Billions on Warfare in Afghanistan

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