Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Tabloids, lies and benefits
An article in today's Daily Express is typical of how the tabloid press lies about the benefits system.
Under the headline "Benefits mum rakes in £70,000 in welfare", the Express tells its shocked readers about a divorced mother of three in Hertfordshire whose "taxpayer-funded handouts will total £3,905-a-month or a staggering £46,860-a-year...To enjoy the life she currently leads only a job paying £70,000-a-year before tax would be worth taking." So that's over £23,000 a year they've just knocked off the claim they made in the headline.
What they mean by "taxpayer-funded handouts" includes a bursary that her student son receives, £1,400 Housing Benefit that her landlord gets and exemptions from paying NHS dental charges and Council Tax. What she actually receives is Employment and Support Allowance of £394 a month (the article doesn't tell us what medical condition means she's unable to work) and tax credits of £403 a month, presumably for the children. But I guess "Divorced mother of three struggling to bring up three kids on less than £800 a month, or £9,500 a year" wouldn't raise enough hackles over the cornflakes.