What Britain thinks about benefits
They may have based their opinions on inaccurate data, but British people want the system reformed
Who should be entitled to claim state benefits has become one of the most hotly-debated topics in the UK.
Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms have been heavily discussed by political correspondents and charity campaigners, but Channel 4’s show Benefits Street has catapulted the argument out of newspaper columns and into pubs, around dinner tables and onto Facebook walls.
We know that the Conservatives are clamping down on benefits, what with David Cameron’s constant references to “hardworking families” and Iain Duncan Smith comparing himself to an abolitionist, freeing benefits claimants from the shackles of welfare dependency.
We also know that the left are outraged by the portrayal of benefits claimants in mainstream media and on television. Independent columnist Owen Jones wrote that Benefits Street “ demonises” welfare claimants, while thousands signed a petition demanding that Channel 4 take Benefits Street off air for ‘creating a skewed image of a section of society and stirring up hatred’. Freelance web consultant Stephen Reid even set up a “Parasite Street” about a street in Kensington and Chelsea.
But what do British people think? Ahead of Channel 5 broadcasting The Big Benefits Row: Live a poll was conducted by You Gov on their behalf. The poll of 1814 adults showed that despite the volley of outraged tweets sent during Benefits Street, the majority of British people back reforming benefits and want tougher rules about who can claim support, particularly when it comes to welfare for immigrants.
Despite this, nearly half of us think that people on benefits are portrayed unfairly. Take a look through the gallery below for what Britain thinks about benefits.
However it's worth noting that this is British perception and does not necessarily accurately reflect the situation. For example, although £1.2bn in benefits was overpaid due to fraud in the last year, this figure is smaller than the amount of money underpaid to those entitled to it (£1.3bn). More figures like this below.
The hidden "ghettos" of long-term unemployment: Iain Duncan Smith on benefits and Benefits Street
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Tube strike July 2015: Is it still on? Everything you need to know about the industrial action
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...