Manchester City Council

Myths and Legends

Back to the benefit system and a presentation I was at by Trafford Councillor Anne Duffield on the recent " reforms ". Anne had collected research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and other reputable organisations which really expose many of the myths that underpin the unpopularity of the present system. Here are just a few:

Myth1. There's lots of fraud in the system.

Reality. For 2011/12 it was estimated that just 0.8% of the total benefits expenditure was overpaid as a result of fraud

Myth2. The unemployed get most of the benefit bill.

Reality. 3% of the total benefit bill goes on unemployment benefits. ( 40% goes to pensioners )

Myth3. The welfare changes will only affect people that aren't working.

Reality. Of the country's 14.1 million working age households with someone in work, 7million will lose an average of �165 pw

Myth4. The UK benefit system is too generous

Reality. The UK spends about the same as the EU average on unemployment and disability related benefits but 12% less per head than France and 81% less than Germany.

The Benefit system did and does need to reform. The Coalition Government's approach isn't the way to do it.

There are 10 responses to “Myths and Legends”

  1. Val Says:

    So true. It is interesting and telling that the DWP calls the state pension a benefit. Many working people have paid NI all their lives and do not regard the pension as a benefit. The 40% includes the state pension. I know the argument is that it has been underfunded from the start and everyone pays for their parents' pensions but "benefit" Entitlement is a better word.

  2. Bill Harrop Says:

    It is refreshing to see recognition from yourself that the misinformation being peddled about benefit recipients is, at best, inaccurate.

    Taking the realities provided above, alongside your thoughts and opinions aired in your ‘Hard Times’ post on 05/04/13, and also in your letter to the MEN on 01/04/13 I would like to ask:

    How Manchester is going to respond (or is already responding) to any citizen who falls into rent/ council tax arrears as a direct result of the reduction in financial assistance towards these costs?

    Has/is Manchester considering implementing measures similar to those made in Knowsley and Leeds; that is re-classifying properties to ensure tenants can continue to reside in them, and avoid facing additional financial hardship?

    What are the exact figures for: Over occupied and under occupied properties; the number of properties potentially, and actually available to balance these out?

    I appreciate that Manchester’s influence on housing is significantly diminished, and you may not be able to provide answers for the whole of the city. However, as there is a great deal of housing stock still wholly owned by and/or influenced at the board level by MCC information on these, if that is all you can provide would be appreciated (taking advantage of you Combined Authority position and providing Greater Manchester wide info would be even better).

    I apologise if this information is already published somewhere (if it is please tell me where), the World Wide Web does have a habit of making some information hard to find, or distracting the searcher with kittens.


    Bill Harrop, concerned citizen
    ps: please get you IT peeps to do something about the size of the comments box, it is so small it is almost off putting.

  3. franky Says:

    You can never expect tory politicians to tell the truth!

  4. Darren Says:

    What I find interesting is that over 60's account for around three-quarters of welfare spending; but are being almost totally protected from austerity cuts. Now that's what I call Grey Power.

  5. franco Says:

    Just a couple of questions for you:

    Why didn't Labour reform benefits despite 13 years in office, a good economy and growing employment ?

    -What would you do to reform benefit ?

  6. nodrog56 Says:

    Speaking of Legends, nice to see The Notsensibles in what passes for the charts these days. Every cloud etc..

  7. Another Myth Says:

    O.8 % are the prosecutions for Fraud, the vast majority of overpayments are classed as Error. And, of course, fraud that is not detected is not recorded at all.

    If you seriously believe that over 99% of benefit claims are honest then we have a perfect system, which doesnt need reform.

  8. Dave Says:

    Lets be honest £500 a week for a couple and £350 for a single person is not to bad if your not working, lets be honest for a single person that works out at £18,200 a year. Half of the people I know don't get that for working full time.

    I'm all for people working if and here is the if there are jobs to be had.

    Yes why did'nt after 13 years of Labour they not look into the beniffits system?

    Lets look at HB now if we were to go after the Landlords who are making massive amounts while supplying homes that are not fit for purpose, sorting them out would then have a knock on effect on the rental sector as well as saving money from the budget.

  9. SERPRIZED Says:

    Are you sure people get 350 per week? I don/t know anybody getting anywhere near that.
    I do agree that the private rental sector is on a deep downward slide with regards to housing quality. But, and it's a big but, most council housing officers have left the council or doing many other duties, so my point being who is watching the errant landlords?

  10. Concerned Says:

    These reforms were meant to simplify the system when in truth there will be approximately 5 different benefit systems running over the next 5 years until all people are migrated onto the new benefits. There is still far too much misinformation out there. There is a cap of £350 for a single person this includes single parents who will have to pay their rent out of this amount before they think about gas, electric and small things like food and clothing for them and their children!! Too many changes in such a short time will leave people very confused and much worse off!!!



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