The cold hard truth of living with Osborne’s ‘austerity’

The Voices Of Austerity – The Cold Hard Truth

Published on Jun 8, 2013

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The extremely effective propaganda campaign by both the Tory/LD Coalition and most of the mainstream media has been hugely successful in spreading a mythology about benefits and benefit claimants.  Here are the real statistics c/o Michael Meacher MP:

The Labour Force Survey shows only 0.3% where two or more generations of working age have never worked.

The biggest element of social security expenditure |(42%) goes to pensioners.   Then housing benefit is next, accounting for 20%, of whom one-fifth are in work.   Then 15% goes on children, through child benefit and child tax credit.   Some 8% goes on disability living allowance, 4% on income support mainly for single parents and carers, 4% on employment and support allowance to those who can’t work due to sickness or disability, and 2% on carer’s allowance and maternity pay.   Just 3% is spent on jobseeker’s allowance.

The latest official DWP estimates show that last year just 0.7% of benefit expenditure was overpaid due to fraud, including a mere 0.3% for incapacity benefits.   It is equally false that benefit fraud is increasing.   The figures for combined fraud and customer error for JSA and income support show it halved from 9.4% in 1997-8 to only 4.8% in 2004-5.

Welfare expenditure totaled 11.6% under the Tories in 1996-7, but only 10.7% under Labour up to the crash in 2008-9.

Over the 2003-8 period leading up to the crash, only 37% received incapacity benefit long term, while 38% were on benefit for less tha one year.

Unemployment benefit levels fall well below what research shows most people believe should form a minimum household budget.   A single adult of working age receives just 40% of the weekly minimum income standard, and a couple with two children receive only 62% of the weekly minimum.

The truth is that many of the people claiming incapacity benefits are those with low employability in areas of few jobs.   Unemployment remains at 2.6 million, there are an average of 8 persons chasing every available job, and most employers (given the choice, which in a very slack labour market they have) would prefer not to take on the risk and hassle of emplying a disabled person.   Many people then end up in a situation where they are not fit enough to do the jobs they can get, but can’t get the jobs they can do.

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