We’ve frequently reported on the wicked demonisation of poverty which this Tory/LibDem government has been engaged in.
That demonisation has been accompanied by a steady feed of untypical individual stories, like the infamous Philpott case, and underpinned by the re-iteration of myths and half truths.
So here are a few more myths – recently exposed in a report in the New Statesman, in collaboration with the Webb Memorial Trust.
‘There are hundreds of families where three generations have never worked’.
Fact – studies of 300 families in the poorest areas of Middlesborough and Glasgow found only one which had three generations of unemployed.
‘Benefit fraud is costing us billions’.
Fact – Benefit fraud costs us at most £1bn a year; illegally evaded tax costs us all £40bn.
‘Employment is the best route out of poverty’.
Fact – the overwhelming majority of the poor ARE employed. Over 90% of new housing benefit claims come from working households; 62% of children growing up in poverty have a working parent.
You can download the full report here.
A century ago Beatrice Webb wrote
‘Poverty is not due to a weakness of character, but is a problem of social structure and economic mismanagement’.
That’s as true now as it was then.