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We all pay your benefits

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Just wondered what people's thoughts were on the programme and benefits in general?

Main link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b036yrm8

right wing link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/10175024/Nick-and-Margaret-We-All-Pay-Your-Benefits-BBC-One-review.html

left wing link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2013/jul/12/nick-and-margaret-pay-benefits

My personal favourite link:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/tv-review-bbc1-nick-and-margaret-we-all-pay-your-benefits-8703927.html



I liked the programme and felt my position and thinking open up a bit. As many know I'm a bit of a libertarian but also a lefty (or socially progressive as I like to think of it), having read from Adam Smith to Karl Marx. So naturally, my position was, benefits are important and we should adopt a system like Scandinavia! Lots of benefits for all.

The programme though made me realise that I am not very cynical about people on benefits particularly long term benefits. A great deal of people need the help and those I really commend, like the dad who was ashamed that he was setting a bad example for his family.

But then you saw the lady with 6 pets who felt entitled to have those because they were part of her family. That everyone should support her lifestyle for some reason. This really made me a bit annoyed because she didn't seem like a great role model for her kids and I felt like she was taking advantage really. Think of all the people I know who have been screwed over by the system, and the reason the government is clamping down so mercilessly is because of the game players who feel they are owed a living.

So actually I feel my eyes have been opened a bit, that my rose tinted view that everyone claiming benefits is sorely unfortunate and hard done by and just 'needs a bit of help' might be naive.

I'm not sure. Thoughts welcome!
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Anyone can end up on benefits. It's whether or not you're happy to stay on them is the question.

    I was made redundant a few years ago and when I went in to the job centre on one of my signing-on days a month or two later I had to fill out some forms and as I did so the woman commented on "how nice" my watch was (it was) and that she "bet it cost quite a bit!" (yep it did). When she later asked what the best number to get hold of me on was I held up my phone and said "My mobile". She replied "Oh, nice iphone!".

    Clearly these were suggestive comments. Did she not think that maybe I hadn't always been out of work? Perhaps she expected me to sell some of my possessions? Goons.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was on JSA and HB for about 6 months and it does suck - there were two members of staff at the job centre who dealt with me, one was nice and positive about me applying to the grad schemes, the other was very challenging about whether I'd been trying hard enough.

    The thing is obviously people who aren't happy being out of work isn't everyone, there are some people who would only be content to pay their own way if they could do it without the hard graft or only with the dream job - failing these they would prefer to wait on benefits. In the meantime I have friends who have been working in shops and temporary employment and have done so for years as they have struggled to break into a career, and as we know shop work whilst paying the bills does not afford a life of luxury. Small living spaces, no pets, no gardens, no cars, no holidays.

    Maybe feeling bitter about those who don't worry about trying to pay their way but still have a better lot than others is falling into a trap, which is kind of why I made the thread.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I was on JSA and HB for about 6 months and it does suck - there were two members of staff at the job centre who dealt with me, one was nice and positive about me applying to the grad schemes, the other was very challenging about whether I'd been trying hard enough.

    Same for me. Well, not applying for grad schemes; but he was positive about me applying for suitable jobs.
    Four claimants and four taxpayers come face-to-face to explore each other's lives, examine their values and speak their minds. Will the tax payers feel that benefits are too high, or not enough?

    I have a serious problem with this (this is from BBC, btw) - unless you're in exactly the same situation, (children, disabilities, etc) how can you say whether benefits are too high or not? On another forum I used to post, someone did moan that disabled people get too much and that non-disabled people need the same amount of benefits. :rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Surely that was the point of the programme, to bring people together and help give an understanding of what benefits actually give a person in real terms.

    There are definitely some disabled people who it could easily be argued get too much - and others who don't get enough.

    Personally I'm more cynical than ShyBoy - I think that the benefits system makes it too easy to get comfortable and used to living on benefits. If there are jobs available then you should be applying for them, whether or not they're what you really want to do - and there should be no way that someone can ever be better off on benefits than if they were working.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thing is there is too much BS flying around about those on benefits. Of course the DM will write endless stories about chavs continuing to breed with no intentions of ever working and of course they're usually true.

    Then you get people with certain levels of qualifications or experience who feel particular jobs (or pay rates) are below them. They're just as bad as the chavs.

    In my time I have worked at upper mid-level management in the civil service. I have worked in the media. I have spent long periods out of work. Why were they long periods? Where I'm from is an unemployment blackspot. I still applied for things though - and today I work part-time for one of the major supermarket chains for just over the NMW. Not what I call a vocation and it's not what I left education hoping to do. But it's money, it's a job, I swallow any semblances of pride and just get on with it.

    Did I ever turn down work because I felt the wages were too low? (that's a pet hate of mine, people who do this and then moan about 'foreigners taking our jobs'). F**k no. I may not be rolling in money in this job but it teaches me a lot about people skills and human nature that perceived 'better' jobs would not offer me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Did I ever turn down work because I felt the wages were too low? (that's a pet hate of mine, people who do this and then moan about 'foreigners taking our jobs'). F**k no. I may not be rolling in money in this job but it teaches me a lot about people skills and human nature that perceived 'better' jobs would not offer me.

    I was always told that if you have a job, you're in a better position of getting a better job than someone who isn't currently working. Given the situation we're in at the moment, any job is better than no job, imo.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    I was always told that if you have a job, you're in a better position of getting a better job than someone who isn't currently working. Given the situation we're in at the moment, any job is better than no job, imo.

    I know what you're saying but there's also a school of thought that says some companies prefer to take people off the unemployment queue. IIRC some companies get incentives from the government to do this.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    BBC wrote:
    Four claimants and four taxpayers come face-to-face to explore each other's lives, examine their values and speak their minds.

    I'm uneasy with how the BBC uses "claimant" and "taxpayer" as their defining attributes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    In the case of this programme though - what else would the definitely attributes be?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think both the description and the programme frame the issue incorrectly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Many people on benefits did / do pay tax. Roughly 1 in 8 on housing benefit do work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm dubious about where the guy with the degree was going round and handing out his CV and they were asking if they were over qualified and they all said no. Can't help but wonder if that was for the cameras because I know I and other people that went to uni really struggled with finding more menial jobs due to having a degree even if we had previous experience. Sometimes we just left our degrees off our CVs altogether. The focus seems to be on young school/college leavers, especially because they can take them on as an 'apprentice' and pay them next to nothing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I hate to agree with the Guardian, but the paper for those who find the Mail too intellectually challenging was for once spot on (and was probably being too kind), the programme was moronic twaddle which skated over a vastly complex subject with the subtlety of a hippo in a tutu.

    If this is the best the BBC can come up with they should next do a programme called 'We all pay your licence fee' and decide that if all they can make is dumbed down bollocks with Nick and Margaret we should cease having to pay the Beeb a thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I got very angry watching those programs. Maybe because I've been a long term benefit claimant (through long term health problems) and I would do a heck of a lot to be earning off my own back. I think it did a lot to just re-enforce the "us and them" mentality that a lot of people seem to display towards a lot of benefit claimants. I think those who have decided that all benefit claimants are to one level or another are undeserving are going to be very difficult to shift, and programs like this, regardless of how balanced it was meant to be really don't help it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think the programme debunked the myth that people on benefits live glamorous lifestyles.

    Taking the woman with the pets as an example, yes she had pets but she lived in a cramped shithole and was buying the cheapest food available.

    That said, she wasn't trying particularly hard to find work, and neither was the graduate. I think to claim jobseekers you should be actively seeking a job. Too many people to the bare minimum and still get their money (although admittedly the graduate was doing this mainly because his family supported him and didn't really "need" a job)

    It's a tough one. The benefit system needs to be generous enough to help people in need but not so generous it makes people way too comfortable and they stay on them forever.

    I also think the programme failed to tackle the biggest issue - kids. I think far too many people have 2/3/4 kids without thinking about how they will afford to pay for them, and as a result the taxpayer ends up paying for them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How do they end up paying for them? a lot of people get child benefit and they're working full time in a fairly well paid job, the same with tax credits. I know you get given a bit extra when you have a dependent but I don't remember that being much.
  • plugitinplugitin Noob Posts: 2,197 The Mix Regular
    Definitely re-inforced the us and them attitude, some of the 'working' peoples' attitudes were shocking. I know some of the 'claimants' could have presented themselves in a better light, but neither groups were shining examples.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I digusted at the BBC for putting the guy with a long term health condition in a position where he's doing a job which is putting his health at risk. Even if it did highlight a very good point that if he's found fit for work he could be pushed into a job which could do exactly the same and end up making his health worse in the long term.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They could have stuck him in an office job or something non physical at least. Maybe it will emphasize a point though
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Given the exuberant troughing going on at the BBC, they should do another programme "we all pay your expenses".

    They could get Jana Bennett on explaining why the BBC bought her a new £2000 handbag when she left her original one in a taxi. Or they could get Mark Thompson on explaining why he's paid £5m in payoffs to people who were already resigning from the BBC.

    Interesting how blatantly the Bullingdon Bullshit Club are now doing the Tories dirty work. In other news, the privatisation of the NHS blood service doesn't get a mention.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If this is the best the BBC can come up with they should next do a programme called 'We all pay your licence fee' and decide that if all they can make is dumbed down bollocks with Nick and Margaret we should cease having to pay the Beeb a thing.

    Applause!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Neddy wrote: »
    I also think the programme failed to tackle the biggest issue - kids. I think far too many people have 2/3/4 kids without thinking about how they will afford to pay for them, and as a result the taxpayer ends up paying for them.

    I know people who are like this. It seems to be "oh well, the tax payer will pay for it". And then you get people who work who can't afford to have a child. The benefit cap won't affect them either because they're supposedly too ill to work, yet well enough to have another child.
    Given the exuberant troughing going on at the BBC, they should do another programme "we all pay your expenses".

    Agreed. (I thought that was going to be about MPs and then I saw your next comment)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I dread being ever made redundant or being out of work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    urgh.

    I didn't like it. Even the title uses the same boring rhetoric that doesn't actually mean anything and everyone seems to spout.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I actually liked the show, and thought it showed the claimants and the issues surrounding benefits worklessness quite well. I have experience of claiming JSA for 6 months, so its not like I am giving an opnion based on no experience. Obviously every person claiming benefits is a human, so everyone claiming benefits has completely different attitudes and experiences - so there is no way that any tv show could portray the full spectrum of the attitudes of people claiming benefits and the lives they live. Also, I would have prefered it if they had chosen a younger graduate, most people a year or two after doing an undergrad at uni are under 25, so would get far less benefit than the young man shown. Overall , however, I did think it did offer a reasonably good snapshot/glimpse of the lives of Britains on benefits.

    Ive seen a few comments on this thread about the woman who had lots of cats. I had to facepalm a bit that she felt her kids were entitled to 2 hot meals a day. If only she fed them sandwiches at home, she would have saved a lot of money. Never mind.

    As for saying the BBC made that man work in that warehouse, they didnt. He wasnt being made to at gunpoint or with any threat of his benefits withdrawn - he was choosing to participate of his own volition. (Having said that, yes it would of course made much more sense if he was provided with a less physical job).

    As for people saying that most people on benefits pay taxes - everyone does! Unless you grow and make all your own clothes, food, furniture etc and walk everywhere, tax is paid by everyone.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also, some benefits are taxable income.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Most benefits are taxable income. JSA is, for instance.

    Talking of women sponging off the state and sprogging up to trough more cash, I see Kate Middleton is in labour. And we're paying for her private hospital too. When will we clamp down on these freeloaders who've never done a day's work in their lives?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I thought she was giving birth at St Mary's in paddington?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I thought she was giving birth at St Mary's in paddington?

    In the 'private' Lindon Wing as the BB FUCKING C do not fucking stop going on about. 'Woman goes into labour' so fucking what.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I thought she was giving birth at St Mary's in paddington?

    She is in the Lindo Wing. http://www.imperial.nhs.uk/privatehealthcare/lindo-wing-prices.html

    Antenatal care is £900 per night. The "normal childbirth" package is a snip at £4,965 and if sproglet comes out of the sunroof that goes up to £6,420.

    I'm so glad my exorbitant taxes are being spent for the good of the country!
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