welfare systems

Busting the poverty pimps

Our media loves to pimp the poor and tell us stories about poverty. The same happens in the UK and like here they get busted every time.

The latest poster child for the perils of poverty has just been busted for being a stupid cow.

This week, a charity called Church Action On Poverty launched a poster campaign that says ‘Britain Isn’t Eating’, mocking the Tories’ famous 1979 election campaign poster ‘Britain Isn’t Working’ that helped Margaret Thatcher to victory.

This time, the charity claims, the long queues are not for the dole office, but for food banks. ‘Thousands are going hungry because of benefits changes,’ it protests.

I thought of those posters when I read the story of Katie McGill, a 28-year-old unemployed single mum.

In an interview this week, Katie claimed her benefits payments soon won’t leave her enough to buy food and basic necessities for her two children.

Another victim of ‘cruel Tory cuts’? Hardly.

This Christmas, Katie gave her two children Mya-Renee, three, and Calvin, eight, two new bikes, TVs, DVDs and numerous computer games — all paid for after she took out eight payday loans that have left her £3,000 in debt.

The result? The repayments mean she’ll have no money left over from her welfare cheques to feed her children. Another candidate for the food banks, then.

Now, I realise that not all families in need have been as foolish as Katie — and that there are thousands who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, and who, with the cost of living soaring, are in genuine need. But I also suspect that there are a lot of self-indulgent and irresponsible fools like Katie.   Read more »