Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April Fool's joke? No!

Yesterday we woke up to BBC Radio 4 flagship 'Today' programme in which a man claimed that after the recent changes to benefits, he is left with £53 a week. He wanted to ask IDS (Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions) whether he could survive on £53 a week.

The interviewer John Humphrys (also known as the 'rottweiler') did just that, but he also kept interrupting the Minister who was trying to answer the questions and this really annoyed my husband: Why don't they ask me on radio to talk about how I don't want my taxes to be wasted on such people.

Today, we learn from a newspaper, that the man who claimed to be left with £53 a week was not all he made himself out to be. More crucially, it shows the left-wing bias of BBC in allowing this benefits claimant the air-time.

Those of us in Singapore who grew up on the BBC World Service might be surprised to learn that BBC is very much derided, hated even, by many in the UK because we pay a 'licence fee' which is akin to a tax. The head honchos at BBC make obscene sums of money, and they are clearly left-leaning Labour Party supporters.

Take this guy who challenged IDS. As a market trader he must surely earn quite a bit more than the £200 a month he claims. But that's a good figure to claim, making him 'self-employed' enough to claim Working Tax Credit, but not enough to have to pay Income Tax or National Insurance. At some point, for whatever reason, he also qualified for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

He talked about how he worked '70 hours a week' and still did not make ends meet. Then he said he was only able to trade 21 days in three months. Hello! Inconsistency there. Either he was very hard-working and shortchanged (working 70 hours a week) or he was unfortunate (only able to trade 21 days in three months = about 70 hours a month).

If he worked only 70 hours a month then his number of hours would be short of the 25 [correction: should be 30] a week he needs (as a single person, as his ex-wife looks after his children) to qualify for Working Tax Credit. If he is working more than 16 hours a week, he also does not qualify for JobSeekers Allowance. So I wonder on what basis this man claimed benefit. ???

Elsewhere we read of churches coming forward to voice their concern with the 'benefit cuts'. I'm afraid these church leaders do not speak for me.

British Christians cannot be selective in their use of the Bible to support their views. One group talks about taking inspiration from Jesus clearing the temple to support people who are exploited and marginalized.

They include amongst the 'exploited' those in the "Workfare" programme requiring benefits claimants who have not worked for years to work in the community for 30 hours a week or lose their benefits (face 'sanctions'). The aims of the programme is to give such claimants some skills and even the habit of getting to work on time which is alien to many claimants.

Objection is particularly vociferous from those who believe that benefits claimants should not be made to work 'for free' for supermarkets and big retailers. To get £71 for 30 hours of work is exploitation.

Hello! No such thing as a free lunch, OK? Claimants usually get more than just the £71 a week. Housing/Council Tax benefits are several times £71, so don't kid yourself. Who is exploiting whom?

Why should my husband work 40-50 hours a week and we only take one real holiday once in two-three years while some people sit on their butts all day long in front of their satellite TV?

What does the Bible say about responsibility for oneself and one's family? About the holy state of matrimony? About not stealing, because benefit fraud is theft.

No jobs, you say. Why then the influx of East European migrants? Why are employers crying for workers to work in restaurants, care homes, farms, etc.? Jobs or no jobs: mutually exclusive categories.

Employers not paying a living wage, you say, better stay on benefits. That's the point, isn't it? We pay one lot of people the minimum wage to do the jobs that are there because the locals do not do those. Then we pay the locals to stay on benefits.

Employers and taxpayers are effectively paying two lots of people. If we paid only for one lot then we can afford to pay this one lot double the amount, right? To do that we must reduce the welfare bill.

About 80 per cent of the clients I see are 'single mothers'. 'Better off' not working. Suffers backache and cannot work.

When clients say they are single mothers and they've just had a new baby, I have to ask whether there was any violence involved. They say 'no'. So it's not like they were forced to have a baby. Modern contraception is very effective, you know. But having a child under five keeps you on Income Support, you see.

I don't want to be included in the group of Christians who condone such irresponsible lifestyles.

There's free healthcare, free education. How could families be three generations out of work? It beggars belief.

Eradicate the fraudsters, the feckless, and give my hard-earned taxes to those who are really not able to help themselves. Please.

Welfare reform isn't about hurting poor people 

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