Being poor isn’t a crime!

Last week the Daily Star reported on Marie Buchan, a 31 year old mother of 8 who lives on benefits. According to the Daily Star, Marie is ‘raking in £30,264-a-year in child tax credits, child benefit and income support as well as living rent-free in a large three-bedroom semi-detached house’

Marie has had her benefits capped at £500 per week (£26,000 per year) and she is now facing the prospect of eviction. After the cap her housing benefit was reduced from £115 per week to just £33 and she has to make up the short fall of £82 per week. She is in arrears on her rent to the tune of £2000.

The article was brought to my attention when a friend posted it on Facebook and I was disgusted to see peoples reaction to the story.

‘Sell a few of those kids, slut’ ‘These sluts are in every town’ ‘Stop fucking’ and my favourite ‘I don’t think you should get benefits over 3 kids’

What upsets me the most about this whole situation were not the venomous remarks, not the fact that a mother of 8 who lives off the state has a larger ‘income’ than me. It’s the fact that people seem perceive this as a real problem in UK, a bit like immigration. We have media outlets like The Daily Star and The Daily Mail to thank for that.

So let’s clear a few things up…

– 93% of people claiming housing benefits, work.
– 0.8% of benefit spending goes on fraudulent claims, which works out to about £1.2 billion. Now compare that to the £11 billion in unclaimed benefits.
– Only 8% of benefit claimants have 3 or more children

There is an excellent article here on the subject

The truth is that the vast majority of people who rely on the welfare system are everyday people. Our friends, family members and work colleagues. The notion that people who live off the state are somehow living rent free in a large house with Sky TV, broadband and all the trimmings is pure fiction. There are 30 million individuals who claim benefits along with 64% of families. With the ever increasing price of houses/rent coupled with lower paid jobs, the end of overtime and in some cases wage reduction it’s any wonder that these figures aren’t higher…Give it a few years.

I will not argue that there are indeed people who abuse the system and I’m sure with a few minutes research you could find said people. But they are the overwhelming minority, and if it’s the price we pay for not letting our fellow human beings die on the street, starving or freezing to death, then so be it. I for one am happy that we live in a country that has a safety net for people to use when and if they fall on hard times.

Poverty in this country has got to the stage where more and more people are relying on food banks, Welfare and hand outs in order to survive;  The Red cross has started collecting food for people in Britain, this is the first it’s had to do this since World War 2!

The Buchan’s are people, and have every right to water, food, shelter and warmth. These are not privileges extended only to those who can afford it. We ALL have a right to them.
If you are looking for someone to blame then I direct you towards the people that run the country. Some of whom live off the state with salary’s in excess of £100,000, with an expenses account, a second home and private education for their children. The IPSA has just given the OK for MPs to receive an 11% pay rise just days after George Osborne announced more cuts to government services.

So if you want to start bashing people who live rent free at the tax payers I say we start at the top and gradually work down.

A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
~Samuel Johnson

T

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One thought on “Being poor isn’t a crime!

  1. Love the article, it’s easy to make villains of those who take advantage of our benefit system but they by no means represent all folks on benefits.
    I would say the stat 93% on housing benefits are in work is not true though. I think it’s more like as low as 1\5. This may represent new claimants??? Not that it matters as it’s not really what your piece is about!

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