The BBC have just reported on the government’s advertising campaign (at what cost?) in their attempt to cut down on ‘benefit fraud’.
The BBC doesn’t look into any factors which contribute to the government’s claims they lose £1bn a year. Why is the BBC so faithfully publicising the official line without any investigation into facts or proper research?
This BBC report is blatantly biased towards the government and against the people who fund it through their TV license. It lacks any sign of balanced journalism. It is probably a government issued press release faithfully reported without any editorial input.
Where are the journalists seeking truth who take the wider view to ask why there is a higher amount in unclaimed benefits that people are eligible to than the amount lost in fraud (see previous blog)? Surely the BBC should be asking, for all us license payers, why is the system is failing everyone so grotesquely?
Here is an article in the Guardian which gives a more researched and investigated look at the whole picture, by looking at figures, trends and behaviours, such as the strong work ethic found in people from families with a generation of worklessness.
A position of responsibility is needed to see why benefits are not reaching the right people. The government plumps the blame for its failures squarely on people who have no power over its methods.
Is the system more accessible to people with time, leisure, comfort of mind and a lack of urgency? Is this a state of being that a busy person, short of income, juggling family and work and struggling to make ends meet and focus on matters in their day-to-day lives, or is this the profile of the exact kind of fraudster who has worked out how to play the system to get more money?
Do conditions and requirements from people get clearly communicated so that it is fair on honest people, or is the system so tricky to navigate that it consistently catches out honest, trusting people and leaves the system open to people who are out to learn how to play the game?
The BBC quotes the Work and Pensions minister saying there are “new and better” methods of detection by police and officials. That sounds like increased bully-boy tactics to me.
What are these new and better methods? And why is the focus always on wrongdoing in a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ way?
None of the conditions of receiving benefits are helpful to people who are honestly and diligently seeking work. As it is so much harder to get from benefits into full time work, people need:
* Attention space to look for work.
* Enough money to live on without the distraction of undue stress and worry.
* Means to travel in order to reach interviews on time and to get to work on time and be able to get home without impeding their health.
* Confidence to do their best in interviews.
* Encouragement to seek out work that will sustain.
* The means to dress according to expected levels of smartness and dress codes for work applied for.
Where is any proof that these calls are done honestly? Surely a person committed to getting free government money is going to do whatever they can to protect themselves from detection, including shopping in anyone they think might report them?
The whole system is based on hearsay, not on proof. That means it is one person’s word against another’s. That could not be more open to fraud if it tried.