Such negatives do not help people on benefits but plays into George Osborne hands

I have to say as much as I do really enjoy watching Channel 4 documentary programmes I have to raise a serious objection to one of its showing of Benefits Street as it was portraying a very negative picture of people who are on benefits as the programme as done is largely tarnish people with one brush to say that people who are on benefits are down and outs who goes out to steal for a living whilst I acknowledge that there is a small number of people who abuse our welfare system those are far fewer than the majority does  go out to find employment.

photo (3)Those that are on benefits are decent people who wants to work and actual do something about some will be successful in getting employment whilst some will have to go back to the drawing board to reapply for jobs whilst attending college or higher education to improve themselves. Both the Programme Maker(s) and George Osborne need to revisit their objectives and realize that some people who suffers from mental health issue who may or may not be able to hold down a job in some cases but with the right support in the community they maybe able to return to some form of employment

photo (4)What is particular upsetting is the area in concern is part of my constituency and the three local councillors, MP, and police has done lots of work to try to improve the area and the street in concern by working with the neighborhood watch and council officers.  This documentary has played into the hands of West Minister Village and the press who has no knowledge of the area under than one of a deprived area of Ladywood constituency and rather than acknowledging that there have been some positives in the area so it’s no surprise there has been uproar.

I would like to make it quite clear that I’m no way glorifying criminals who in some cases choose to make a living out of stealing because they don’t have a job. all I’m highlighting that central government, local government and other agencies need to continue to work together in partnership to help people back into full-time employment not for the short-term but for the long-term.

It does not help either by George Osborne scapegoating the under 25s by stopping them from claiming benefits as some under 25s have left their parent house to either start-up a new life others were brought up in care and the only means is to receive benefits until they get on their feet again.

photoTo be honest this programme in my opinion smacks of a hidden agenda which plays in to the far right agenda given the current  political climate. I have to say if any of the alleged so-called victims have been found guilty by a court of law by breaking the laws then they deserve everything that they get.

Official unemployment figures give David Cameron the opportunity to bray in his classical Flashman-style bullying manner at Ed Miliband in Parliament.

But he knows that there is far less to these figures than meets the eye.

The idea that 99,000 jobseekers have removed themselves from the jobless roll in the past month because they have found full-time employment is fanciful.

The fall in the official jobless total is due to a variety of factors, only one of which is linked to the good tidings of an unemployed person finding a decent job.

Everyone who signs up to work experience or a “training” course, no matter how threadbare, is regarded as in employment.

The same goes for people pressed to accept part-time work or zero-hours contracts even though they would far prefer full-time employment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, whose apologists project him as the human face of the conservative coalition, has decided to hold a 12-week consultation into zero-hours contracts.

However, he opposes banning them because they offer “welcome flexibility” for some workers.

Cabinet ministers, the British Chambers of Commerce and the Institute of Directors are as one in pronouncing zero-hours contracts beneficial to workers but, when working people themselves are consulted, it’s a different story.

The 5.5 million people suffering this system in the hospitality industry, call centres, care homes, retail, fast food, charities and cinemas identify problems associated with it.

Inability to plan a household budget, punitive rent agreements, constant debt, no access to credit and stress brought on by inadequate hours all affect zero-hours contract workers.

Even most “real” new jobs offer little better than the official minimum wage.

Compare the newly created low-paid jobs in areas such as retail, fast food and hotels with the loss this week alone of 250 full-time jobs and 365 agency posts at Sharp’s solar panel plant in Wrexham, followed by another 230 jobs at First Milk’s cheese factory in the same town.

These twin setbacks in a single north Welsh town are a devastating blow to the local economy, but they also form part of a pattern of insidious deindustrialisation throughout Britain as the government prioritises the interests of the City financial sector over all other areas.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles made clear in Parliament that local authorities in England will face a 2.9 per cent cut in spending for 2014-15.

Given that authorities have their hands tied over a government-imposed council tax freeze beyond the life of this Parliament, this further resources reduction can only herald more job cuts in essential services.

Pickles talks airily about councils cutting out waste, but he knows that it will be discretionary spending on local charities, youth facilities and pensioners’ clubs that will face the axe.

Ed Miliband is right to point out that workers’ average wages are down £364 on a year ago and over £1,500 lower than at the general election, but he misses an open goal by failing to follow up this point.

There is no shortage of wealth in Britain.

Big business is sitting on cash reserves of at least £440 billion and the gap between rich and poor is stretching, yet Labour remains wedded to an austerity-lite agenda.

Miliband should respond in kind to the Con-Dem government’s anti-working people class war and propose a transfer of wealth from the rich and powerful through taxation and increased public ownership.

I’m glad that the West Midlands police are considering launching a new investigation based on footage from Channel 4‘s new hit documentary Benefits Street, after receiving many comments from viewers concerned that it may have featured criminal activity.

photo (1)The force said it was assessing whether footage from the show, which focuses on a community in Birmingham‘s Winson Green, could assist in ongoing investigations, or could warrant new inquiries being launched.

Featuring the inhabitants of James Turner Street, which Channel 4 claims has one of the highest proportions of benefits dependents in Britain, the first episode of Benefits Street, broadcast on Monday night, is the broadcaster’s most popular show in more than a year, attracting more than 4 million viewers.

“Throughout the programme and in the hours that have followed, we have been inundated with comments from members of the public, many of whom are concerned about elements of the show which showed criminal activity,” West Midlands police superintendent Danny Long said on Tuesday.

photo (2)“We are currently assessing whether the content of the programme can assist us as part of any ongoing investigations or indeed whether any new inquiries should be launched in light of the material that has been broadcast.”

Channel 4 said it had received about 100 complaints about the show late on Tuesday. Media regulator Ofcom is understood to have received more than 100 further complaints relating to unfair, misleading and offensive portrayals of benefits claimants, alleged criminal activity and excessive bad language.

photo (5)A Channel 4 spokesman said: “The production crew were filming in a purely observational capacity – at no stage was criminal behaviour encouraged or condoned. All contributors were briefed that if they carried out criminal activity on camera, this could result in criminal investigations after broadcast.”

The spokesman added that Benefits Street was a “fair and balanced observational documentary”, with contributors briefed extensively before filming and given the chance not to be included, or to view and comment on programmes they featured in pre-transmission.

“They said they believed the programme was going to be called Community Spirit. They found out about the name change last week. They were concerned about it and their concerns were borne out last night when it was aired,” he said.

Other residents were on Tuesday coming to terms with a kind of celebrity they had not exactly been looking for. Within hours, one said, people were tweeting threats on social media. By yesterday afternoon, bored young men in fast cars were driving down the street shouting “benefits street!” and laughing at people walking down the road.

Another resident, OnOne pensioner, who said she’d lived on the street for 50 years, said she had many calls from her grandchildren telling her she must move. “All I worry about is my grandkids,” she said, “The shame.”

Long said that police were also assessing whether people posting comments about the show on Twitter had potentially committed criminal offences.

Chaman Lal, who represents the area on Birmingham City Council as a Soho ward councillor, said he found the first programme in the series to be “unfair and unrepresentative”. “I know that most of the residents are law abiding, honest, hardworking, some are retired and anybody on benefits [it] is not by choice – jobs are very hard to find.”

Walking her child home from school Nadia Bi, who lives on the street, was also angry at how her road was portrayed. “They are trying to say this area is a bad area. Not everyone on this road is bad. They have put it on this road, it’s not right.”

Jamie Rivers, who is 28 and currently looking for work, was asked to appear on the programme and did some filming with the team before changing his mind. “I’m glad I did. They have got people to sign up and they did not know what they were signing up to. It makes the street look really bad. But they have made it now, there’s nothing we can do.”

Suzie Stennett, said those who appeared might have been “a bit naïve”. But she questioned the premise of the programme, in a climate when “people are gunning for people on benefits”.

“Yes, there are people that are stay-at-home mums, I’m sure there are everywhere. You can’t hate on them for that. Not everybody takes advantage of the system. Most people are trying.”

Benefit Street is made by independent producer Love Productions, which also makes The Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee.

Well lets hope that if the producers who made the programme did informed the alleged residence that they were making a documentary on benefit fraud


One response to “Such negatives do not help people on benefits but plays into George Osborne hands

  1. I haven’t watched it but given the media’s predilection for sensationalism I doubt if it was ever designed to be fair and balanced programme. I someone that the tories and media hate, I am unable to work and they would prefer me to be dead, that is why the esa scheme has been introduced to get people like me who can’t work off all benefits, The payment is time limited to 12 months not the 3 years claimed by camoron.

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