I’ve been around council estates and all the houses have Sky dishes!

Because, of course, the presence of a satellite dish is absolute proof of a Sky subscription. And people on benefits have always been on benefits, never had a period of work when things like a satellite installation may have been paid for. Sky don ‘t come and take the satellite away when you cancel your sub, you know? You own the dish and the box so you can access the FreeSat channels. The same goes for TVs or cars or anything that someone might own. It doesn’t magically disappear if you become disabled/lose your job!

Did you know that with the changes the government want to make it will be essential to anyone claiming benefits to have internet access, every day? I’m afraid that internet access is rapidly becoming an essential part of life in this century. Though most of the poorest will never have it and will have to rely on the libraries (the ones this government and the last are continually closing) for access. A pay as you go mobile phone is cheaper than a landline and the DWP pretty much demand that you are contactable all the time (and how does a potential employer contact you if you have no phone?)

Did you know that an average family with *earnings* equal to the £26,000 benefits cap are also entitled to benefits that push their income up by around another £5K? So, in order to be paid enough to not get benefits at all, yeah, that friend who said he’d need to be paid more than £500 a week wouldn’t be far wrong! JSA is only a very small amount of the total Social Security bill, approx 3% of the total, in 2010 that was £5 billion. Pensions is by far the largest proportion of the bill at 36% or £67 billion with another 6% or £11 billion as “other pensioner benefits”. About 15% goes on various child related benefits; Employment Support Allowance – paid to people unable to work because of chronic illness or disability – & Income Support total about 8% – add that to the JSA and you have just over one tenth of the Social Security bill going to support people out of work. One tenth.

Do you know what the estimated amount of “benefit fraud” is? Out of a Social Security bill which ran at £194.3bn in 2011/12, fraud cost us £2bn and error, genuine mistakes made by claimants (have you seen the forms?) or official screw-up,cost £3.4bn last year – error costs us more than fraud! And that fraud amount is across ALL benefits, not just the out of work ones. DWP themselves estimate that around £7 to £12 billion is unclaimed by people entitled to it across all benefits (that’s often because many benefits are not advertised and if you’ve never claimed anything you really don’t know what you might be entitled to – especially if you, or your partner, have a job and simply assume you wouldn’t be eligible for anything).

In the greater scheme of government finances, fraud in the Social Security sphere is around 2% of the total monies the government is losing to fraud of various kinds.

Everybody “knows a bloke/girl” who they believe is “scamming” benefits. The thing is, that’s not a one for one figure when you count them up. A single person can be the same “fraudster” known by 50 people, the same “friend of a friend” or similar for another 100 or so. Those stories the media like to show are the outliers, the odd ones out, but the government and their mouthpieces in the media would like us to believe that they are representative of the whole. They aren’t.

One thought on “I’ve been around council estates and all the houses have Sky dishes!

  1. Ali

    As regards the post title, you forgot another factor – just because a flat is on a council estate, doesn’t mean it’s a council flat any more, due to the explosion of Right to Buy in the 80s. And even if it is a council flat, it doesn’t mean that the tenants are on benefits anyway, due to the way allocation policies used to work.


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