back to article Rumbled benefits cheats offer sensational excuses

Government ministers have revealed a top ten list of improbable and entertaining excuses offered by rumbled benefits cheats, including the defence of one perp who insisted: "It wasn't me working, it was my identical twin." Another brilliantly claimed: "I wasn't aware my wife was working because her hours of work coincided with …

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  1. Stephen Gray
    FAIL

    Here's another

    I fiddled £31,000 after bullying by 'powerful enemy’, says Elliot Morley.

    1. Throatwobbler Mangrove
      Mushroom

      and another

      “All the other peers were doing it”, Paul White alias Lord Hanningfield.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8538585/Lord-Hanningfield-found-guilty-of-expenses-fraud.html

      1. Throatwobbler Mangrove
        Mushroom

        and how about

        "if I had claimed the money transparently, honestly and frankly, I would have been entitled to every penny, if not more", David Chaytor

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jan/07/david-chaytor-jailed-mps-expenses

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Irresponsible government

    These excuses are outrageous, of course they are, but they represent a tiny fraction of benefit claimants. They are anecdotal evidence, and the release of this selection by government is not highlighting anything, it is encouraging a witchhunt against benefit claimants and providing spin and propaganda to justify cutting costs.

    I have written two blog posts in response to this. I would repost here, but it's 2k words.

    www.latentexistence.me.uk/compare-and-contrast/

    www.latentexistence.me.uk/existing-on-benefits/

    1. Andy 73

      re. Irresponsible government

      Would you suggest we let all claimants through without question then?

      Surely it's the government's job to ensure that funds are allocated fairly, and that includes highlighting cases where individuals are abusing the system? You can (and have) chosen to make this a political issue, but insurance companies have used the same tactics for years to discourage casual fraud.

      That's not to say the benefits system isn't flawed, but in this case, I'd rather people with imaginary identical twins weren't being paid when I work long hours to support my family.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        re. Irresponsible government

        @Andy 73

        As I said, those excuses are outrageous and deserve punishment. My point is that they are rare cases, and the vast majority of people are being punished for the crimes of a tiny percentage. (Fraud is down at 0.5% - 2.5% depending on the benefit, lower than admin errors.)

        Making these excuses headline news is propaganda, however you look at it. It is not representative of the norm, but it is designed to turn people against benefits claimants. How would you like it if you were in my position? It very much IS a political issue. Millions of people are suffering because of this government's policies. Not that Labour was any better.

        1. Paul 172

          source?

          0.5% to 2.5% ?? so a variation of 2% ? Can you cite a source for this ?

          I personally don't beleive you. I know of several areas where it is within the culture to "all claim" as much as possible, whilst topping up with whatever else. It's a gravytrain for some people.

          1. Bumpy Cat

            Re: source? @Paul 172

            I think the variation is for different kinds of benefits - eg, 0.5% for DLA, 2.5% for Jobseekers etc. These aren't the actual figures, it's just how I understood the sentence.

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      Well, quite

      I don't really believe a word of it. Sounds like friday afternoon down the pub at DHSS HQ

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      @Latentexistence

      I read your articles with great interest as I myself is on DLA.due to problems with my back and more recently my legs.

      Like you I have bad days and not so bad days, (never good days any more) but to the DSS snoop taking a 1/125 at f5.6 snap shot of my life, I could easy end up in the office having to explain myself. so what If I did carry a sack of spuds in from the car and he snaps away... does he then take another snap of me sat in the chair all afternoon in agony because my shopping trip was a little to much for me to cope with? or do I not going out ever and sitting in a chair for the rest of my life. I dont think so...

      as you said, I can spend all night coding a website or more likely working on a photograph in photoshop, but could I do it for a living? no...

      A lot of people see me posting my photography work on facebook and flikr and assume that I can get around just fine, and to be fair, i do spend a lot of my time out and about with my camera.. (never to far from a car park) and easy make the assumption that I have a grand time of it out all the time in some beautiful places. but the fact of it is I may have planned to go out one day and then cant even get out of bed without help. that's not the part they see....

      No doubt their is a lot of people out there claiming benefits that they are not entitled to and this does need cleaning up.

      1. RichyS
        Thumb Down

        @AC 30th May 2011 19:49 GMT

        So, I'm paying for you to go out and about enjoying your photography hobby. Brilliant.

        If you are good at photography, there are plenty of things you could be doing that don't put you too far from a seat: wedding photography (pays very well); studio-based photography; Photoshopping other post work; product/catalogue photography; sitting in a car photographing other dubious benefits claimants (okay, that one was a joke, sort of).

        Seems like you're just looking for excuses...

        1. Intractable Potsherd
          Stop

          @Richy S

          You have no clue what having a disability is, especially when it comes and goes. Planning is impossible, and that makes doing a paying job very difficult (you know, people want things done to a schedule, usually).

          I wouldn't wish such a disability on anyone, but if you haven't experienced it, you are not qualified to make any comment that should be taken seriously.

          1. RichyS
            Mushroom

            @Intractable Pothead

            There are plenty of people out there with disabilities who don't use their disability as an excuse. They have the tenacity and self-worth to think what they can achieve, and not to wallow in self-pity.

            For them it must be even more galling to see people using their disability as an excuse. And this is what I object to as well. Unless you are severely disabled, there is always something that can be achieved. Maybe with additional support form the Government too. But to just sit at home on benefits because you have a bad back some days is pretty pathetic.

            1. Brezin Bardout

              Well, the propoganda seems to be working...

              If RichyS is anything to go by, anyway.

              And I can guarantee you, the people most likely to be affected by all these changes are going to be the genuine claimants. The easy targets. The ones least likely to be affected are the ones who actually do want nothing to do with work ever, who've been on benefits all their life, know how the system works and exactly how to get around it.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Flame

              @RichyS

              You really are failing to understand the nature of the problem. Living with a disability, there is no way to predict ability to do a task. It might happen tomorrow as planned, or never. You can't earn a living that way. Since you obviously won't read the links I posted, let me repost a little bit of it here.

              As regular readers will know, I have a variable illness. There are days when I can walk to the shops. There are days when I can’t get out of bed or as far as the bathroom. There are times when I go out without using a walking stick but I have to use one to get home. (Staggering all the way.) There are times when I am well enough to ride a motorbike. There are occasions when I have ridden that motorbike for four hours, but then an observer has no idea what I go through after doing that. If someone sees me walk to the shops without a stick, they can’t make any assumptions about what I can do the next day, or even an hour later.

              A major flaw in public thinking, and in the Work Capability Assessment, is the idea that if a person can do something once, they can do it again. I can choose to do a task at the expense of a day, a week, or however long in bed. I couldn’t do that task every day. I certainly couldn’t do it all day every day. I can sign my name, but I can’t write a page of text. I can commute to work, once, but couldn’t get home again. I could set up a whole website in a couple of hours in the middle of the night, but I couldn’t do it all day every day for a living, or tell you when I could next do it. Other people with health problems might be able to mow their lawn, put up a shelf or paint a wall, but at a similar cost to their health along with the associated recovery time. Living on benefits, as many of these people do, they are poor. They can’t afford to pay someone to do these jobs necessary in everyday life, and so they do them themselves, and pay the health costs later. Yet neighbours and passers-by see them doing these tasks, and instead of asking “can I help?” they phone the DWP and report them as a benefit fraudster.

        2. Paul 172
          Thumb Down

          w/e

          hear hear. WHY cant you support yourself using your computer? Plenty of others manage it.

          when did i owe you an easy life while i have to work long hours ?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Obviously......

    this is just a fabrication, because nobody wants to be out of work, do they? *Rolls eyes

    but in saying that, it is quite amusing what people can come up with, if only there was a way for us to put that creativity to good use....

    how about giving them jobs as script writers? many of the comedy shows on the beeb and such like are terrible, i dont think they could do any worse.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    ... but what if they're genuine

    Just for a moment, let's imagine that some of those 'excuses' are genuine reasons - specifically the last two.

    "He lives in a caravan in the drive, we're not together."

    "He does come here every night and leave in the morning and although he has no other address I don't regard him as living here."

    So, you have a friend, and they're technically homeless. Maybe they've got a month between moving out of one house and being able to move into another, maybe they've been crashing on your sofa for a bit longer, because, y'know, you're cool about these things. And sure, you're only living in a small one-bedroom house, but you're on benefits, and you can't afford anything more.

    So, the benefits people turn up. They don't actually care too much about him living in the house (except for council tax, which we'll ignore for now), what they're far more interested in is establishing that you two are actually a couple. At which point, they'll ask where he sleeps, and make tutting noises as you say he sleeps on the sofa or in the caravan. They'll ask where he keeps his food, and explain, in a voice that gets louder and more forceful as you attempt to get a word in edgeways, that because you don't have separate food storage areas, you are technically a couple.

    So, now you're a benefit fraudster, lost your benefits, he's lost his and you're both out on your ear. It's happened to my friends more than once.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Exactly

      I live with my best friend and we are of opposite genders. He is a benefits claimant and I work. We are not a couple. We have separate bedrooms and computer equipment but share most everything else (technically the TV, sofa, etc. are mine, but whatever). I am absolutely petrified that if an inspection were to occur that the council would determine that we were 'as good as together' and stop his benefits, making him reliant on me... until of course we could find a time to go our separate ways when he would go straight back on benefits in order to rent a more expensive one bedroom flat to himself... so really they would have just fucked over our perfectly good living arrangements and made things more expensive for themselves.

      1. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d
        Thumb Up

        He is a benefits claimant and I work.

        "He is a benefits claimant and I work."

        If unemployment benefit - tell him it's about time he got a job - you go to work to pay for him not to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          give up barkingmad

          you wont get much support from people on here, apparently everyone out of work wants to work, nobody is happy or better off not working

          They are also happy that the govenment borrows £100s of billions a year to pay for all they things we want, but that doesnt matter, everyone wants to save money as long as it doesnt effect them.

          Or lets look at it another way, the govenment has to borrow around 10% if our total GDP to prop up the budget. So lets look at it in a way that doesnt use Trillions and billions, yes i know its not accurate but im only trying to get the point across

          The average wage in the UK is around £23000, we'll liken that to our GDP, which will give you about £1400 after tax a month

          So based on that i want you to get a credit card and spend £140 a month and only pay the minimum payment. You wont last long doing that, and if we keep that up neither will the country

          Now lets scale that up, we had to borrow £160,000,000,000 (thats 160 billion) last year to pay for all these things. Total National debt including pensions is around £4,000,000,000,000 (4 trillion)

          Can you imagin the intrest on that lot alone? i cant, its staggering

          Why people seem to think we all live in some utopia where everyone wants to work and no one is at it, and everything will be fine, i dont know.

          Crazy days, but hay, not to worry long as our own lives dont change the big picture doesnt really matter does it?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Uhh

          He is disabled and I don't mind my tax money being used to help genuine people like him. Nor, as a matter of fact, the genuinely unemployed and looking for work. If I were in that situation I'd like people to help me out, too.

        3. Paul 172
          WTF?

          wtf

          "He is a benefits claimant and I work."

          If unemployment benefit - tell him it's about time he got a job - you go to work to pay for him not to.

          --how did this post get 11 downvotes ???? Why shouldn't he go and get a job ? I might have totally misread the readership of this site.... Are we not all hard-working IT professionals ? Are there 11 layabouts to every 2 workers ? How do you pay for your internet connections ? Just wonderin.....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            it seems.....

            that the vast majority on the readership of this site dont mind spending a collosal amount of money on people who MAY not want to work, im guessing the clues in the red ;)

            you just have to mention that the state of the country is crap and that SOME people are happy to live off Benifits and youll get downvoted, lets see how much this one gets,

          2. Jedit
            Flame

            "Why shouldn't he just go get a job?"

            Because sometimes the job just isn't there. Employers pass you over for the jobs you're not qualified for because they can find someone who is; they pass you over for the jobs you're overqualified for because "you'll only move onto something better as soon as it appears". After a while your skills get out of date and you can't even get the jobs you're trained for any more. Eventually, employers start passing you over because you've been unemployed for a long time and so there *must* be something wrong with you, or you'd have found a job by now.

            Unemployment is a trap, and it can be very hard to escape. Every time I see some clueless fuckwit holding forth that "unemployed people could get jobs if they really wanted" I feel an overpowering urge to pick up a shotgun and create a vacancy, because these people are the same kind of people who *do* think "I won't employ him, he's been unemployed so he must be lazy".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        re:Exactly

        That is why a tenancy agreement and proof of rent is Essential.

        If you want Government Money play by the Government Rules.

      3. Paul 172

        so...

        he should get a bloody job ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      bull

      So your friend, who is working, sleeps on your couch, using your electricity and your water and your food without contributing anything despite the fact that it is you who is claiming benefits? Well thats okay then. However, if he contributes to your electricity, water and food bills then thats fraud because your benefit is based on you paying the bills without any help from either a spouse (common law or otherwise) or a lodger. Oh, and if your friend isn't working then he must officially be listed as living somewhere else and getting benefits for that address. Again that is fraud.

      I personally know many people who have been on benefits for a long time (I'm from one of the worst employment blackspots in the UK) and have, in fact, never officially worked for longer than a month or two. The majority of these personal acquaintances live in a nice house, paid for by the government, better than the one I'm struggling to buy, and fully loaded with the latest gadgets. They get the house through having kids and the gadgets through working on the side or not "officially" living together. These people have decided that this is their way of life and they exploit it to the full. There are of course the other side, those who have descended into drink and drugs and/or a life of crime, but again it is their choice.

      I also know people who have worked for 10/20 years or more and now find find themselves unemployed for an extended period. A couple don’t get any benefits at all because they foolishly saved while they worked and are now being punished for it. But dont worry, either they will find a job or their savings will run out and they will then get benefits. All of them (except for one who is near retirement anyway) are actively seeking employment.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        people likr you are why

        the only people to get a fair crack from the benefits agency are the fraudsters. if you devote the time and enery of a full time job to playing the systems you do uk, if you bowl up like some schmo expecting the system to be fair, you get screwed.

        benefit fraud in the uk costs a fraction of tax fraud, yet 10 times the effort goes into detecting/recovering beenfit fraud.

        kinda sounds like the legislators see tax fiddlers as being in some way _People Like Us_ and consequently give them an easy ride. b ut poor peopl _Nothing Like Us_ so lets get them.

        the system is made complex to dicourage claims, and because it's complex it's open to abuse

        go figure

        1. Paul 172
          Thumb Down

          source?

          again...... can you provide a source for your "stats" ?

      2. Rob 5
        Facepalm

        Whoa there, hoss

        "However, if he contributes to your electricity, water and food bills then thats fraud because your benefit is based on you paying the bills without any help from either a spouse (common law or otherwise) or a lodger."

        She's not claiming any benefits, she has a job.

        Still, don't let the facts deter you from convicting them both of fraud.

      3. Gilbert Wham

        No.

        No, you don't. This is the same horseshit that is trotted out *every* time.

      4. Jedit
        FAIL

        @AC 11:21

        Try reading the post, moron. The poster works. Their friend who is lodging with them is on benefits.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rob 5 and Jedit

          The post immediately above mine did not exist when I posted. I was responding to the original post.

          As for the "Exactly" post.

          If he (the unemployed one) is not claiming rent for staying at her (the employed one) house then the DSS are unlikely to give a damn. If he is claiming rent then I hope she is declaring it on her tax otherwise its tax evasion. Also, if he is claiming rent then the DSS will have already done some form of investigation to determine how much of that rent they will pay.

          As it is, the DSS have not stopped his benefits, have not investigated them for cohabiting, have not made any determination of their status other than they are independently living at the same address (he's getting the benefits for it). The fact that she is scared that the DSS will make a determination that they are cohabiting does not mean that the DSS will make that determination.

          1. Your Retarded
            Angel

            Lodgers and Tax

            Dear AC, your facts are wrong.

            Useful information for all who are not already privy:

            Under the government's "Rent-a-Room" scheme, you may receive up to £4,250 a year in rent TAX-FREE. This income does not have to be declared for tax purposes. This is designed to make it easier for people to rent out part of their family home.

            See here; http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/TaxOnPropertyAndRentalIncome/DG_4017804

            1. Anonymous Coward
              FAIL

              Re: Lodgers and Tax

              You are assuming that:

              1. Any rent is less than £80 per week. If it is more than this then it has to be declared.

              2. She doesn't fill in a self assessment form which has a section for rental income and must be filled in no matter how much the rent is.

              Therefore you can not determine that the AC's facts are wrong.

    3. Lionel Baden

      Fully agree

      "I didn't declare my savings because I didn't save them, they were given to me."

      That can actually be a simple misunderstanding, from someone who may not have a great understanding of the english language.

      Personally i dont blame them, Since been made redundant We have been told we will only get 550 for rent as that is the fair price for rent for a 2 bed flat, and where i live the cheapest 2 bed flat we could get at the time was 650. The waiting list for council housing is 3 years. So yes they will help me just not enough.

      Trying to get help from the goverment is like drawing blood from a stone on a planet 4 lightyears away.

      Having the Goverment take money off you, is the simplest thing in the world for them.

      they can back date however long they like. We can only backdate up to three months and thats only under special circumstances.

      So when the goverment claim Foul play FUCK em, they dont play fair either so when they get butt fucked by somebody this is the reason.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite right

      Actually, that's not the only story that is quite feasible. I can't say for sure how things work over there, but here in the States when it comes to any form of social benefits the standard appears to be "guilty until you prove you're innocent and then you're still not getting any back benefits." An example pulled from this list that I have some personal familiarity with:

      "My wallet was stolen so someone must have been using my identity, I haven't been working".

      A relative of mine, shortly after her divorce, /was/ working, but not making nearly enough to support her and her two children (and her deadbeat ex- wasn't paying a dime of support for the kids at the time). So she was eligible for a variety of social aid programs (because the U.S. of A. can't do things nice and simple and have a single benefit program). This worked fine for about 6 months - until she became the victim of minor identity theft. Not a big deal as identity theft goes, it appears that someone just needed a clean identity to pass a background check for... you got it... a job.

      Next thing you know, her benefits are cut off (first one, then all the others in rapid succession) and she gets a VERY nasty letter telling her that she should have reported her new job. Best part of the joke? She still had her real, low paying job, and they knew it. They also knew about "her" new job 300 miles away - that she was allegedly doing simultaneously (no, it wasn't something where telecommuting was even a possibility). It took over a month for her to finally get someone a) smart enough, and b) with enough authority to acknowledge and deal with the fact that she could not possibly be doing both jobs, and something was obviously incorrect. Then, even after that, there was the delay in actually getting things started again...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not forgetting

    "we had a jolly nice dinner with your boss and he agreed it was unreasonable to expect us to pay the hundreds of millions of tax we owe" - although thats been used a number of times so maybe it doesn't count as 'sensational' any more.

  6. Christoph Silver badge
    Flame

    How do these excuses compare ...

    ... with the excuses given by MPs for fiddling their expenses while complaining about those awful benefit claimants?

  7. G Wilson

    "Is it coz i is gay?"

    Indeed. And so unlikely does it seem that anyone ever, as part of a real conversation, put these words together in this order:

    "I never noticed her leaving the house twice a day in a fluorescent jacket and a Stop Children sign."

    - that it looks like the miscreants of Parliament are producing propaganda to encourage hatred of the poor, while continuing to demand receipt-free expenses for themselves.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Shirley that should be

    Lord Fraud.

    Or is that a Freudian slip?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There will be

      Just get him to be interviewed by Paxman. With Mr Hunt together for added benefit.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    As Latent existence says, there is an agenda here

    The last Labour and current ConDem government wish to transform the benefit system from something with the general aim of helping the genuinely sick or badly off, and to assist to work where possible, into a way into giving large amounts of taxpayer cash to large multi-nationals that might give them a directorship later.

    The %age of fraud is ridiculously low, the DWP figure for Incapacity Benefit, the benefit being phased out, is 0.04%

    The depth of the collusion between business and government is better explained here

    http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/articles/rutherford07.html

    But of course, the government hopes that lazy journos just take the press release, and never challenge the narrative

    Well done Lester! Doing exactly what was hoped of you

  10. The BigYin

    Benefit fraud is a joke

    Just look at how our MPs/MEPs treat their benefits....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Lord Freud?

    > Lord Freud, Welfare Reform Minister, said: ...

    Surely that name must be a fraudian slip?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Propaganda

    ALL Government ministers use the taxpayers money to cheat!, just because they're not caught, or it's not reported, doesn't mean they don't do it.

    This news spew out is just more propaganda, Government and those who work in the system fiddle more in a day than the very small number of benefits "cheats" do in a lifetime, it's just more slight of hand.

    The UK has one of the lowest benefits payout in Europe, people on them can't live, they just exist, they have to decide "do they have the light on tonight, or the TV", and don't heat the house, because they can't.

    This propaganda is just kicking the poor people when they are down.

    About 15 years ago my local council received a massive payout from Europe to renovate it's houses, they sat on it in the bank for 10 years, then used a cowboy firm to only fit central heating.

    Then went on a spending spree building court houses, council offices etc.

    The council in the next county received the same, but renovated all it's houses withing 2 years, central heating, re wired, re plastered, modernised, and did out the gardens too.

    So who are the crooks?

    I think we have all become aware of our way of thinking being manipulated by the system, and it won't wash anymore. if they want to save money, stop paying for the Banksters, and stop going to war to supply the rich with oil, gas, opium

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Propaganda

      >The UK has one of the lowest benefits payout in Europe

      You've just made my day, I haven't laughed so hard for quite a while.

      Please back this up with real figures and then go present them to the army of potential illegal immigrants waiting outside Calais.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Chris W What?

        immigrants aren't interested in benefits, they travel to another country looking to work earn money and pay taxes. illegal immigrants are most defiantly not interested in benefits as they will not be entitled to them.

        <---- Here is a ball go and bounce it in Daily Mail fairy land where you belong.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          @AC: Not quite right

          "immigrants aren't interested in benefits, they travel to another country looking to work earn money and pay taxes. illegal immigrants are most defiantly not interested in benefits as they will not be entitled to them."

          They travel to another country looking to work to earn money - definitely true, and they tend to work a damn site harder than the locals as they often come from extremely poor/harsh circumstances and are grateful of the opportunity. Looking to pay taxes - can't agree with you there. Plenty of them like working cash in hand and I certainly don't hold it against them as successive Governments have shown they don't deserve the money through income tax, let them collect it through more efficient cycling of the money through goods and services whereby others get to share.

          1. Your Retarded
            Headmaster

            Words

            Site - where builders work

            Sight - what your eyes are for

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 20:29

          >immigrants are most defiantly not interested in benefits as they will not be entitled to them

          Oh the irony, we are discussing people claiming benefits they are not entitled to and one of your arguments is that illegal immigrants are not entitled to benefits. They are not entitled to work neither yet you claim that is what they go for, you seem to be confused and negating your own arguments. If they are looking for work then why do they pass through at least two other countries on their way to the UK? What makes the UK so attractive? High paid menial jobs?

          Whatever illegal immigrants are entitled to do or claim is totally irrelevant, what matters is what they believe they are going to find.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Some MP on radio 4 some time back.....

    Was saying how amusing he found it listening to new MPs who thought £65k was a lot of money.

    To think these people have the nerve to try and demonise benefits claimants as though they're the real corruption problem in this country

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lazy gits

    No, this isn't aimed at everyone on benefits - some people truly deserve to be helped out, it's one of the better parts of our democracy... however...

    I know a few people who haven't worked a day in the last 5 years or more and there's nothing wrong with them. Nothing at all. They would rather sit on their backsides and get benefits than going out to work. This makes me exceptionally angry. The reason it makes me angry is because I work my backside off to get by and part of the money I earn is paying for these lazy gits.

    They claim there's no work out there, but when presented with a job, usually of the menial persuasion, a trip to the doctor seems to be the order of the day. "I'm sick, I can't work"

    I'm no fan of this current government, I was no fan of the last, but something has to be done to ensure people who deserve benefits get them and people who are skiving don't.

    To be honest, one way would be to raise the minimum wage. It's not rocket science that a lazy git would rather do nothing and get housing benefit & £50 a week rather than get £100 a week and less housing benefit by working.

    Me and my partner haven't had a decent holiday in 4 years, yet my partners friends have been overseas twice in the last 2 years on holiday - neither of them work. What's up with that?

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Me and my partner haven't had a decent holiday in 4 years

      maybe you shold have worked harder at school and god a better job then!

      I had a couple of great holidays last year.

      People like you with a crappy poorly paid jobs whinging and whining about how life isn't fair cos better people than you have better lives really make me sick.

      1. neb
        WTF?

        downvote?

        he's taking the piss you muppets

        else/or he's looking for a punch in the doofer

        either way i chuckled a bit

      2. Your Retarded
        Trollface

        @Naughtyhorse

        I would suggest you have no room to be criticising others about their education, as you are unable to communicate effectively in what I presume to be your mother tongue yourself.

        Oh, and maybe you could bother to read the OP in future before firing off. They stated that it seems unusual that people who don't work can have more holidays than them, not people who earn more due to having a "better job".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        you missed putting

        the troll icon....

    2. Graham Marsden
      FAIL

      Lazy gits...?

      "I know a few people who haven't worked a day in the last 5 years or more and there's nothing wrong with them. Nothing at all."

      And I know people who haven't worked a day in the last 5 years (or more) and who would *love* to work. They have been on endless "training courses" and "back to work" schemes and all the rest of the MSC (that's the Massive Statistical Cover-up because whilst they're on these schemes they're not classed as "out of work and claiming benefits), but, despite all that, when the job centre are sending thirty or forty people out for interviews for *every* job vacancy, the odds of them actually getting work are pretty bloody slim.

      As for "one way would be to raise the minimum wage." who, exactly is going to *PAY* them that money? If you hadn't noticed, there's a recession on at the moment and most businesses are looking to cut costs, not pay more, so you'd actually get *fewer* people working. It's not exactly rocket science...

      1. Paul 172

        lmao

        "thirty or forty people out for interviews for *every* job vacancy, the odds of them actually getting work are pretty bloody slim."

        interview much?? any decent job is going to have at Least 40 applicants. stop with the EXCUSES. anyway, if you do 40 interviews you can expect to bag one job, on average... so do ten a week and within a month you have a job ??

    3. Gilbert Wham

      Not another one...

      You REALLY think it's easier to live on housing benefit and JSA? REALLY? As opposed to minimum wage (~£200 after tax, PLUS ~$50 a week working tax credits)? Really? That's what you think? And your unemployed 'friends' would rather do that would they? If they were real people?

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        In some cases, yes

        For a single person in my area

        JSA - £67.50 per week (£3510 per year)

        Council Tax Benefit for a band A property with single person discount (£750 per year)

        Housing Benefit £150 per week (£7800)

        Total benefits £12060. To take home that, you would need to earn £14261.24 plus the cost of getting to work plus the value of any healthcare benefits. That is at least £7.31 per hour for a 7.5 hour day, a bit more than the minimum wage.

        A single mother with three children (all amounts £ per week, £ per year)

        Job Seeker's Allowance 67.50, 3510

        Child tax credit 157.22, 8175.44

        Housing Benefit (3 bed house) 207.69, 10799.88

        Council Tax Benefit (band D property, single person discount) 21.73, 1129.96

        (plus child benefit which you get whether you work or not so not relevant)

        Total relevant benefits £23,615.28 per year, plus health care benefits, free school meals and various other education related benefits.

        To take home that, you would need to earn at least £31254.29 per year, which is quite a bit above the median wage, and considerably higher than minimum wage.

        1. BorkedAgain
          Facepalm

          JohnathanB, you forgot something...

          Your hypothetical single mother, if working, would probably also have substantial costs related to childcare since the hours she's working are unlikely to align well with school hours. Childcare ain't cheap.

          It'd be funny if it weren't so flipping frustrating...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Matt 89

      Yes. There are people who don't want to work. The same people didn't want to work BEFORE the recession. Employers can ask for a lot more in a candidate than they could in 1999-2005 and still get a decent number to interview. Not surprisingly, they interview the ones who want to work, not the ones whose applications make it clear they are just applying "because the Job Centre told them to".

      Sorting out the tax and benefit system would help: whatever your circumstances are, there should be a certain level of earnings where benefits and allowances are exactly cancelled out by tax. At the moment there is no step between the government paying you over £3000 a year not to work and you forking out NI and Council Tax from a low wage you have actually earned.

  15. Jason Hall

    And?

    Big businesses in the UK are paying less and less tax.

    The ruling elite have been found fiddling their expenses.

    Tax inspectors are losing their jobs.

    And yet we're supposed to be bothered by the tiny minority of these idiots?

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      @Jason Hall

      Perhaps it is then time to simplify the system - more complex = more opportunities to avoid tax.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Getting tired of all this downvoting

      ok ok, to all you lot that seem to think everyone on Benfits is , owed a living

      Tell me, how would you Save £160,000,000,000 a year, and thats just how much we borrow from the bank, every year, all current taxes would need to remain the same or you would need to save even more than the 160 billion. So go for it, tell me how you are going to save the country, your all very keen on downvoting anyone who thinks stopping people claiming benifits who shouldnt get them is a good idea, your all probably the same folk who downvote people who suggest major changes in the biggest money sucker of them all, the public sector (inc the NHS)

      so im curious, how are you going to pull back £160billion, once youve done that perhaps you can think about the other £4 Trillion including future pensions, of debt we are all ready in, any ideas?

      1. Intractable Potsherd
        Facepalm

        Well ...

        ... we could stop fighting in multiple arenas, bring the military back within the borders of the UK, and therefore save a huge amount in supplies, transport costs ... oh, and millions of quid's worth of munitions that just literally keeps going up in smoke. I suspect that would make a good dent in your figures over the course of a few years.

        Then, we could make sure that government money is spent within the country, and not contracted out to foreign concerns.

        Then again, ensuring that electricity companies are not owned by anyone outside the UK. Ditto with train companies. Let's keep UK money in the UK.

        When all those things are done, and if there is still a shortfall, then we can look at taxing people and companies with lots of money properly.

        If there is still a shortfall, we can look at taxing the middle classes a bit more.

        Only then, if there is a shortfall, should we even think about preying on those at the bottom.

        See what I did there?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me ...

    Why does the government reward people for not working and for not saving? So they can create extra jobs for people to snoop around catching the people who are secretly working or saving and make sure they are suitably punished?

  17. Al fazed
    Meh

    It's a fair cop guvnor

    caught lying,

    but they must be taking a lead from our venerable MP's, who are often caught red handed stealing from the People's Purse, or they are simply caught telling porkies so large that they wouldn't fit into the Guiness Book of Records, ie; when the Minister pushing the Localism Bill ( durr wotsiz name) pushes ahead a project to send nuclear waste to landfill in Peterborough, against almost total opposision locally.

    Why not have a story about Wankers not paying their taxes after making huge bonuses for crashing their companies. How many billion was that, oooh we only have their figures to relie on.... Lets bash the Benefits Cheats (the poor) again ...... instead....

    Didn't Cammeron have a hand in Black Friday a while back ?

    WTF peeps ? Behaving Like Sheeps, BAA ! beep beep

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    How about this one

    You pay your staff minimum wage so they have to be subsidised by the state. The savings you make on wages turn into huge profits for you and your share holders. It's a really good scam because the person who gets rich doesn't have to make the benefits claim directly, so doesn't risk going to prison for getting something wrong on the form.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Truely appalling

    >barefaced cheek and ridiculous excuses for stealing money from the taxpayer.

    Only MPs are allowed to do that.

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Flame

    Perhaps a

    better excuse would be

    "My bank is so big that if it goes bust, it will pull down the other banks and crash the UK's economy"

    Note for government ministers :

    The correct response is "go f*** yourself" not "here have 16 billion pounds"

  21. Wintermute
    Unhappy

    This is merely government misdirection

    The real crimes are bankers pushing their private debts onto the government, then forcing the public to accept austerity measures to pay for them. All the supposed savings to benefits programmes won't add up to a thousandth of the money that could have been saved by letting bank fail.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Simple solution

    To high unemployment in the UK, is to tax imports of electronic goods.

    i.e. those expensive plasma screens and other items which everyone "has to" have but are made in our favourite location.

    This tax should only apply to goods made overseas, NOT components or subassemblies.

    Therefore generating much needed employment in skilled areas, with the resultant drop in carbon emissions from reductions in sending said expensive goods from the other side of the world.

    Kill two birds with one stone, simplez.

    Any comments?

    AC, because a certain rather large economy won't like this one bit :-)

    1. MarkieMark1
      Mushroom

      there's the minor matter

      of GATT, the Treaty of Rome, etcetera, that such behaviour would put the UK in breach of

  23. Russ Williams
    Joke

    Irony is like Silvery, but less valuable

    "our investigators are routinely dealing with barefaced cheek and ridiculous excuses for stealing money from the taxpayer" but enough from the IPSA about MPs' expenses...

  24. Andy Hards
    Devil

    Those evil lying people

    who claimed a few extra quid a week to feed their kids should have asked for duck houses for their castle moats instead. That would have been fine.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cui bono?

    Lord Freud, Welfare Reform Minister, said: "The Bank bailout is no joke, and yet our investigators are routinely dealing with barefaced cheek and ridiculous excuses for stealing money from the taxpayer."

    There, fixed that for him.

  26. Jonathan Walsh
    Mushroom

    Wrong Target

    Isn't more money lost to human and system error on the part of the DWP? Where's the reporting of that? It probably does get reported but it doesn't suit the agenda of the right wing tabloid press as much to get highlighted as much.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All thieves

    Anyone defrauding the public purse deserves to be punished, whether they are benefit fraudsters, tax dodgers or councillors, MPs and peers fiddling expenses. However, those who already have plenty of money (such as many of the MP and peers caught fiddling expenses) should get extra helpings of whatever punishment is being dished out, IMO. All of those in public office caught stealing should have been thrown out of, and barred from, any future public office.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Let's tread on the downtrodden

    I've not worked for a number of years. I have a list of ailments. All of which are internal (Loud chronic tinnitus, IBS, GERD, TMJD, Migraines, anxiety, panic attacks and yoyo depression). It's made my life unpleasant to say the least. I really don't know how I will cope if forced into work. But because of the way the new medical exam works. Unless you are having a heart attack on the floor at the time they will pass you as fit for work. I won't say I am keen to work (Not many are really). In fact I am shit scared! But I don't feel the way people are being pushed back into work is right. Surely the way forward is in a supportive role. Working with some specialists who can help those who have ill health to deal with and offering ways and means to work around those limitations and still be able to earn enough to make living worthwhile? Surely a person should not be made worse off working than not?

    From what I have been reading however they seem to be adamant in punishing anyone on incapacity benefit. In all honestly I don't know what will happen if I am forced back into work. An employer certainly will not put up with someone who sometimes can't even get out of the door on some mornings simply because of their health issues. But they say they will punish those who either turn down jobs or keep losing their jobs by cutting their benefits.

    Sure I don't believe people should have the right to a free lunch everyday. But surely there are better ways in dealing with this problem?

    Yet we are in this situation because of the banking system causing the economy crash and the pure greed of the wealthy and who do they use to pull the money back from? The poorest and most needy (as always).

  29. Blubster
    Meh

    Or conversely..

    Increase in minimum wage = fewer people employed = greater burden on the state?

  30. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d
    Thumb Down

    Get a job...

    "These excuses are outrageous, of course they are, but they represent a tiny fraction of benefit claimants"

    Anyone claiming benefits should ensure they are entitled to them and if something like unemployment should be seeking 'employment' so they are not a drain on the rest of us. Unemployment benefits should be short term - even time limited - people should be given the chance to find a new job / retrain but it's unfair on the 'rest of us' to keep paying for them to not work.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I didn't know I was still on benefit

    That's plausible.

    So many years paying in ... so little paid back when the axe does fall.

  32. technocrat
    WTF?

    jees

    does it get more blatant folks? do we need more hints? the rich steal it all, the bankers crashed the lot and got bailed out, how many billions were we fleeced? £850 billion......this is just the most common example there are thousands more examples of crap like this.

    so lets get all the people who lost money, houses, jobs etc and blame the BENEFIT CHEATS as they are a lower class than the workers, someone for them to blame, better than them blaming the real crooks.......

    1. Anon the mouse

      everything in moderation

      Time limited benefits is not the answer.... if you haven't noticed alot of areas aren't hiring, unless you count 10 hours a week as gainfully employed?

      Toughen up on what counts as looking for work to maintain JSA (one application a fortnight is not searching for work). Redeploy some of these Council staff that are on the way out as "follow up advisors" to sort those that genuinely tried to get the job vs those that sit there and say "I won't work if you do hire me" (I know lots that do this). And you are keeping the system for those that are playing by the rules properly.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        But ...

        What are you going to do with those that do say "I won't work if you do hire me"? Let them starve, penniless on the streets - or, more accurately, encourage them into criminal behaviour? There is nothing effective that a truly humane society can do with people with that mind-set, so just accept it. Such people are in a very, very small minority, and are just noise in the system.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Unfortunate

      It is unfortunate, but the massive expanse of the Public sector and the benefits under Labour were and are unsustainable. The ferryman now wants paying and so, as usual, those at the bottom of society will get screwed. The best choices are not necessarily being made but you can't keep borrowing on new sovereign credit cards to pay your current bill.

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge

      @AC

      Please dispense with the bank bashing - it's another sideshow. We were living well beyond our means before they went arse up and, although they made matters worse, big cuts would still need to have been made as revenues were down and expenses kept rising.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      But what if you actually had to compete for *your* job, 'barking'?

      Plenty of people out there with superior reasoning abilities (and grammar) and less addicted to self-pity. Btw, this is England - retraining is not even an option. Rather like training, in fact.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      nope

      we're not in this situation because of the banking system, we are in this situation because Labour took one of the best balances this country has had and shafted it.

      Borrowing has skyrocketed since they came in.

      why?

      because they said they would do this and that, that all costs money, where did you think it came from?

      elections are now ironic, they compete with each other on how much more of our money they are going to spend... its really rather stupid when you think about it, they more they promise the more they have to take from us... or as in Labours case, the more they have to borrow from the bank

      intrestingly, we will make quite a bit of money out of the banks now that we own a sizeable chunk of them, once that all plays out we will be in a slightly better place, but we wil still be sticking over £100 Billion every year on to a credit card!! Does nobody see this is stupid???

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    perhapse

    only being able to come up with an excuse that weak is a good enough reason for the rest of use not to want you as a co-worker. We all might be better off if such people are provided with enough money to live out their day's in sufficient comfort not to turn to crime. Its not like the government doesn't have enough money to kill foreigners or subsidise bankers so taking care of the unfortunate people without the intelligences to survive in the modern world is hardly a massive burden.

  34. DF118

    Dear HM Govt.,

    Deal with the real corruption in this country and I'll start listening to your constant shite about benefit fraud.

    May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman.

    Love,

    A. Lifelong Taxpayer

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Targetting the wrong areas again - pay me to advise you

    Cheats are small fry and pretty easy to go after. What the government doesn't want to do is a total benefit reform. Making work pay better than benefits should be top priority.

    Heres an example after tax for a single person over 25

    Mimimum wage take home pay = £160

    Jobseekers allowance + housing benefit + council tax benefit = £150

    £10 per week difference to NOT go to work. Not have to commute. And don't forget free prescriptions vs £7 per item.

    Now if you have a child or are disabled then the difference is more. Each child is "worth" Child Tax Credit + Child benefit (£70ish per week). Vs paying for childcare it's a no brainer.

    For the record I've worked from a teenager until a few years ago. And I am now financially better off than when I have been in employment. And thats without bothering to cheat the system.

    But I have seen how badly the current system is broken and how a couple of changes would encourage people to work without hitting those that genuinely need the support of the benefit system. Unfortunately trying to speak to the right person is never going to happen as I'm not in the right "network".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Radical reform required

      The entire benefit and tax system is broken. We need to address it with a brainstorming approach. That is to say: all ideas on the table however crackpot. They are not there to be shot down. If anyone proposed the current system that would certainly be shot down as absurd, unfair on both the working and the claimants. The aim is to look for the positive aspects of all the crackpot ideas and look for a solution that will probably still be short of perfect but captures many of the positive aspects and minimises the negative.

      An example might be something like this: everyone gets £X000 a year from Govt - enough for subsistence lifestyle BUT everyone pays tax at quite a high rate so there comes a point, maybe £20k where the £X000 has all been reclaimed in tax. The admin cost of taking with one hand and giving back with the other is high, the biggest beneficiaries of the current arrangements are the middlemen - public sector (tax admin) who cream off their generous slice in exchange for doing their job badly. Merge Tax and NI, NI is not insurance it is income tax. Running two separate tax gathering schemes is bonkers (costly). Brown got away with "no basic rate tax increase" by shoving the increase onto NI instead. NI is a sliding scale but there's a maximum so high paid pay proportionatley less. Yes I know you can see immediate problems - like multi-occupant households with shared expenses benefit disproportinately, how do we address the cost of having a kid but remember this is brainstorming.

      Having said that our biggest problem is public sector. They've been on the gravy train for a decade. Not only do salaries now exceed private sector for equivalent jobs, they come with a generous and largely hidden benefit package. Now the hard times have arrived they'll not give an inch. Forget MP expenses, its a headline grabbing sideshow. It was a condoned fiddle to keep the MPs salaries looking low, a few fiddled rather more than had been intended at a cost of a few million a year. Our problem is about billions not millions. Private sector has mostly lost final salary pensions, over the last decade, teachers, having presided over the failure of the education system, are threatening strike over any change to their pensions. Bad at your job private sector, you'll lose it, public you don't. Private sector: to succeed you'll take work home, Public sector you'll succeed by making a name for yourself with a high profile over-interpretation of legislation, using it to spectacularly catch the small fry for minor infractions. Private sector: Forget the working hours directive, that only applies to hours in the workplace. Public sector: 9-5 with statutory coffee and lunch breaks. Even a McDonalds burger flipper on statutory minimum is expected to complete home study booklets - and gets no extra pay for working unsocial hours. Try that one on a public sector "worker"!

      Shoesmith on £130k - as head of an organisation in chaos and failing to deliver what it's paid for, private sector she'd have "been given the opportunity to resign" even if she were a cabinet minister with responsibility for a failing department (about the same salary) she'd return to the back benches (half the salary). If she had any decency she'd have tendered her resignation in response to the death of "baby P" or else when Ofstead reported "insufficient strategic leadership and management oversight". If reports are correct that she's in line for £2.5m unfair dismissal compensation - well that would buy a lifetime annuity of £100k-£150k p.a. Better pay than if she was working.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        @AC 10:12GMT

        Your idea about a minimum amount given to each adult member of society is known as the "Citizen's Income", or variations on that theme. It is definitely an idea that needs serious consideration - if everyone gets enough to live on (just), then there is no question of fraud.* The down side is that it would almost certainly need identification tied to the person, and therefore identity cards would be back on the agenda. It would remain to be seen whether the Citizen's Income would be enough to answer the question "What is the benefit of the ID card to the individual".

        * One of my first academic papers was written on this topic.

  36. Blubster
    Happy

    @DF118

    Boom Shankar to you too. :o)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Lord Freud saying the problem's huge?

    Clearly he's just overcompensating for something!

  38. Adrian Esdaile
    Headmaster

    Government propganda?

    You have to admit...

    "stealing money from the taxpayer" sounds aggressive, evil and nasty, doesn't it?

    Except these people weren't taking anything from 'the taxpayer' and they weren't 'stealing' either.

    They were submitting statements the DSS choses to define as 'false'.

    At the very most this is fraud.

    I somehow doubt the underprivileged would walk away from it as cleanly as those who defraud people of far more money, such as those in banks, government, etc.

    Maybe 'not wearing a suit' is the actual crime, eh?

  39. Dennis Wilson

    Send them all to prison

    I have motor neurones disease. I will die one of the ugliest deaths known to man between the next six months to five years. Because of shitty little creeps like them i have been forced to jump through hoops by the department of pensions twice.

    Put every one of them up against a wall and shoot the lot

  40. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Well..

    I used to be on severe incapacity benefit because of an accident in the army and after my medical discharge I went to the DSS for assistance filling out the form. I was told to always put the worst case scenario, for example, one question related to being able to lift a bag of potatoes and I was told that if you can lift the bag some days but not others, answer NO, you cannot lift a bag of potatoes.

    Just so you know, I still qualify for benefits but I decided to get off my arse and find a job where my disabilities were not an issue but even after informing the DSS of this twice, they continued to pay me for a further 6 months until I informed them a third time (hence the AC, no they cannot have it back and it was over 14 years ago)...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmm

    Seems like there's lots of benefits scroungers on this forum. Its pretty simple really, benefits should never exceed the minimum wage - increasing the minimum wage is a no go as it will push up inflation into double digits. Simply decrease the amount the lazy bastards get.

    I for think that if I have to get up at 6:30 every day, so should every bloody one else. Even those with out a job, hell I'd have signing on times at 7:00 in the morning. The simple facts are that there are a lot of people out there who simply do not wish to work - an further more they are better off on their benefits than they would be if working, so where is the incentive?

    Oh, and to the idiots who think the recession was all the cause of the banks, read the bloody stats - the recession was caused by a good five years of spending too much public money on things such as benefits and EMA - you know, those payments labour introduced/increased to 'buy' votes. The bank bailout cost £85bn - which in all honesty we will make a profit on, and the alternative was economic collapse, tought decision eh?

    I hate Gordon Brown, he over spent and he lied - however, I will give credit where it is due - and he deserves credit for doing the right things in the recession, such as helping out banks and kickstarting the economy again.

    Yes thats right folks, if you look outside and get off your fat lazy arses you will soon see that the economy is recovering and is on the up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      >Seems like there's lots of benefits scroungers on this forum.

      My thoughts exactly. Have you also noticed that the pro-benefits mob tend to have an appaling standard of spelling and grammar?

      I wonder if there's some correlation between poor literary skills and unemployment.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  42. Ooo-wait-BUT!
    Trollface

    of lodger friends

    The simple act of investigating someone to assess their private sexual activities vis-a-vie entitlement to 'benefits' is summount to legitimising prostitution where the DSS take on the role of pimp.

    The Declaration of Human rights concurs that this might be a probrem.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Dennis Wilson

    Sorry about your condition, but it is not the very, VERY few fraudsters that are doing this to you, but a political decision that ill people do not deserve money. Atos deserrves the mopney naturally, but you spongers certainly don't!

    Or do you think Fraud prevention is behind the decision that ESA is only to be payable for one year, because all illness is curable in a year, if not, and you are really sick, then you will have the decency to die.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    The real scourge

    The real scourge isn't the 'unemployed', it's the millions who aren't even expected to look for work, single parents with school age kids. These don't even appear in the made up 'statistics'.

    1. Anon the mouse

      Single PARENTS benefits are changing

      Single parents are placed on Income support which used to mean not having to get a job until the youngest was 16 years old. This has now changed to 11 years and will change again this year to 7 years.

      But I've already seen a large increase in the number of pregnancies in families where the youngest is over 7 years old.

  45. Magnus_Pym

    Get a Job?

    There are no jobs*. What do people expect the unemployed to do. Go round knocking on each others doors trying to sell each other double glazing? Move to where the jobs are? Where the fuck are these jobs? Should all the unemployed from Liverpool move to Manchester to find work?

    *Yes there are jobs that employers struggle to fill. This is because they only want qualified and experienced workers. Qualifications are expensive and, like work experience, get out of date very quickly these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      theres plenty of low skilled jobs out there,

      the question is do people want them? is there enough for everyone, probably not, thats possibly because the priviate sector is somewhat smaller than it used to be, what i find curious is that some low skilled jobs out there remain advertised for very long periods of time, surely unemployment hasnt hit 0%?? or is it that people may choose not to go for those types of job....who knows

  46. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Tax Cuts? REALLY?!

    So, those of you who are suggesting that benefits be cut or that fraud should be investigated more vigourously because you're "Paying for the lazy scroungers lifestyles...

    ...surely you're not labouring under the delusion that your taxes will actually be lowered by a commensurate amount once these cuts and investigations are made?

    No. That saving will go right back into the system paying the national debt, or some expenses claim, or nuclear weapons, or overseas conflicts, or industrial/commercial subsidies......

    You know, given the choice, I think I'll opt for paying the small debts of the poor than the large ones created by the rich.

  47. Sarah Davis
    Coat

    wool over the eyes of sheeple

    bemefit fraud is a crime and should be dealt with, but this sensationalism is properganda. Benefit fraud is a drop in the ocean compared to tax fraud by large corperations and the stupidly rich. Something which the current government pretends doesn't exist because of the large bonus's and 'back-handers' they recieve from them, many are also their friends - like Jonathan Hamsworth, 4th Viscount Rothemere, owner of the Dailey Mail who evades taxes by pretending he doesn't live in England. Corperate tax evasion, bailouts, and government preference costs the tax payer hundreds of billions of pounds each year - many many times more than every benefit fraud, genuine benefit claim, immigrant costs, and prison cost put together - the current goverment of thieves and frauds whine like a bitch about a puddle while pretending that an ocean does not exist ! - Don't be fooled !

  48. Paul 172
    Happy

    By the way......

    To all who make the dumb comments like "but its okay for MP's to steal money is it?!" ... and so on, well... no, of course it isnt. scumbags living off the state because theyre too lazy is bad and MP's who misrepresent their expenses, thats also bad.

    Just thought i would clear that one up.

  49. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This is because they only want qualified and experienced workers

    No they don't. They *say* that, but as a qualified and experienced person I know from experience that what they *really* want are unqualified inexperienced numpties.

    1. Paul 172
      Thumb Down

      Lol

      "No they don't. They *say* that, but as a qualified and experienced person I know from experience that what they *really* want are unqualified inexperienced numpties."

      No, they don't. Bitter much?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Get a job...

    Pay some tax

    Do it now

    So I can relax....

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What they really want is....

    is people with lots of qualifications and years of experience who will accept the pay suitable for unqualified, inexperienced numptys. You only have to look at IT support jobs to see this, where they want applicants to have vast experience of virtually every system ever made but they offer the sort of wages I wouldn't have got out of bed for when I was just leaving school.

  52. Damion
    Flame

    The rise and rise...

    I sat and read most of the posts above with great interest in the polar opinions that have been written. Are benefit cheats a huge problem to the tax payer? Not so much. Is cheating the benefit system right? Definitely not. Is pouring huge sums of money into creating a belief that benefit claimants are villains the way forward? Of course not - but that is what is happening.

    To the comment earlier relating to having to get up at 6.30 to go to work meaning that everyone should have to. Boo-hoo. In my last posting I had to leave my home at 6am every morning to make the 2 and a half hour journey to work and the same back again. Out of the house 14 hours a day to make a living for three years. That's three years where I barely got to see my son whilst he was growing up. Barely got to see my wife before having to go to sleep for the next day. Barely had enough energy to do much of anything at the weekend. Had a grand total of 5 days holiday over the whole thing. Suffered an acute viral infection of the heart at the end of one week and dragged myself back to work at the beginning of the next, despite the insistence of doctors that I should be in hospital - and I certainly would NEVER suggest that 'people should just find a job' especially if they have an illness. I did what I did, but I don't expect that people should do that just because I did. I certainly wouldn't do it again.

    Many of the social and economic travesties that are faced in this country are engineered by our government and the business impact on the costs to live. Misappropriation of funds by our councils and government departments. Spending by public sector on parties for staff or directors (not what I want to see my tax money spent on - particularly when you see figures such as £250,000 being spent on a Christmas party for Nottingham PCT's directors). The selling of medicines for UK prescriptions by local PCT's to Europe rather than being supplied to the people for which they were meant - then complaining that they can not supply medication as funds are not available.

    Local councils stockpiling money in bank accounts outside of the UK. Many councils were hit by the Icelandic bank crash (Kent county council with £50m; Nottingham city council, £42m; Norfolk county council, £32.5m; Dorset county council, and Hertfordshire county council, both £28m) - those funds should not be invested in foreign banks. You can claim that they get a better return - but I do not want a council stockpiling my tax payments into a bank for a rainy day - especially in other countries. Really, our councils should not be stockpiling money at all! They are not the only ones - many public sector departments are doing the same.

    Gordon Brown wanted us to believe that he was good with money and had made the right decision taking our funds out of gold and investing in the Euro... That's the kind of financial thinking that REALLY helps! Thanks for losing us all that money Mr. Brown.

    If you think rising the minimum wage will help, perhaps you need to consider the negative effects first? Rise in minimum wage means more expense to material manufacturing/import businesses (depending upon which sector you look at). This increases material costs which are passed onto product manufacturers. These increases are compounded by their own rise in wage bill and in turn passed onto the supply chain. These increases are compounded by their own rise in wage bill and in turn passed onto the service/retail industry. Who have to add the cost of their own rise in wage bill. What this means is that at the final sale, you have to support that wage rise for a lot of people. Can guarantee that this will mean a small increase in minimum wage will lead to a larger increase to the cost of living.

    The big key to our current (and seriously floored system) of financial independence is the fair distribution of taxes, and the prevention of corporate tax avoidance/evasion. At the moment, our current government is set to make tax avoidance easier for large scale businesses to the detriment of our country's coffers. Businesses claim that reducing their tax burden will help the economy - but fail to address the fact that their reduction in tax will need to be met by the workers and the small businesses.

    If we want to stick with this system of existence then there needs to be a few considerations. Allowing the high salaried to have such a low tax band on all of their income needs to stop. Sure, if you are earning a high salary you want to see an increase benefit. However, capping income tax for everything over £150,000 at 50% doesn't cut it. There needs to be a further tax band - say, 75% for everything over £500,000.

    About £12,000,000,000 (I hate the way our own government calls that a billion rather than the thousand million it is. That's an American billion - and it seems that our population has forgotten that this 'should' be referred to as 12 thousand million. However, there has been a shift towards the American numeric system - thank you very much!) every year is missing from the corporation tax income for this country because large businesses and banks use very clever accounting and the 'legal' moving of funds between countries principal to avoid paying it.

    According to the Benefit office, benefit fraud cost's the pubic purse some £1,000,000,000 a year. On the other hand, according to the national fraud authority, the cost to the public purse from tax evasion (not the tax avoidance mentioned above) is £15,000,000,000! That's £27,000,000,000 a year lost to tax evasion and avoidance - and £1,000,000,000 to benefit fraud.

    We are in a dire situation - but so many of you are being led down the path of blaming the wrong people. A guy I worked with liked to use the phrase "Don't hate the player, hate the game"... Seems very valid here. There are so many people who are throwing out negative comments about benefit claimants regardless of their situation or legitimacy. So many that want to say that people with intermittent illnesses should be getting work anyway (think about that for a minute please... How is that going to work out?) Get out of the 'Free-Market' mindset and realise that it is the 'game' that is causing the problem.

    For all those that made it through this rant fully... Well, congratulations - I didn't expect anyone to read it all.

  53. Alan Brown Silver badge
    FAIL

    New Zealand....

    ...paid ~$120 million for a system to better detect benefit fraud about 15 years ago on the basis that there was about $250 million in fraud happening annually.

    This involved data tie-ins from inland revenue, council, housing, etc

    They found ~$35 million of fraudulent claims going on - the vast majority of which was carried out by benefit staff who'd set up multiple identities and were collecting the proceeds.

    In the meantime, pension payouts accounted for 65-70% of all welfare payouts anyway (About $4 billion in all) and there are no means-tests or other checks on them (single vs married pensions are lower, but living together doesn't count as "married")

    Yes, benefit cheats need to be outed, but the amount of publicity given is merely a smoke screen to allow shafting all the genuine claimants while getting public approval to do so.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not all benefit cheats are bad

    I expect downvotes for the title alone...

    this is a little of how the benefits trap works from somebody who escaped it,

    I was raised in a single parent family, existing on benefits (note that I did not say living), parent had problems with hearing, balance and damage to her wrists (prior to the onset of hearing and balance problems she had been the head of customer service for kodak in london and a fairly well rank F2 stock car driver) so certainly not on benefits through choice.

    I left school in 92 and after 6 months of trying to find work I took a place on a training scheme (YTS as it used to be called) which paid the handsome sum of £29 per week (most of this money went to my parent to help out since me getting a position on the training scheme meant that her benefits had dropped by £24 a week (because I was no longer "unemployed" my income had to be counted as a part of the total household income because we were related) so overall my taking a place on a training scheme (with the aim of using that until I could find any sort of "proper job") led to a total increase of £2 a week

    at 17 the money from the training scheme increased to £35 per week (an increase of £6) mysteriously my parents benefit fell by £7 per week on exactly the same date.

    at the same time the VIP scheme was introduced where I was doing my training, which entitled anyone to £40 per week for training that couldnt be counted towards household income since VIP was classed as higher education rather than training, I asked if I could switch schemes and was refused because the VIP scheme was only open to the unemployed.

    just before I turned 18 I wasnt getting on too well with my parent and I decided that it was time to move out, so after some hunting around I found a bedsit with a landlord that was happy enough to accept a teenager who would be on housing benefit (with the 3 month delay before rent being paid that benefit entailed).

    once I moved out I had to give up the place on the training scheme simply because there was no reasonable way of getting there (I tried for 3 weeks before giving up), walking took 3 hours each way, the earliest bus got me there 90 minutes late in the morning and the last bus back left 10 minutes before I finished, no chance of driving since I had no car or license (and certainly no way of paying for either)

    so I ended up on unemployment benefit (and £1.15 a week better off) with the majority of my rent being paid by housing benefit.

    I stayed like that for 6 months before starting to do small jobs for people (cash in hand), I was now a benefit cheat.

    I was honest with the benefits people and explained that I was being offered various small jobs but that all of them combined were not enough to support me and asked if there was any way that I could do these jobs while still claiming benefit and was told that I could but that every penny I earned would be deducted from my benefit (and that any deduction would be continued for 2 weeks). At that point I decided that I would do the jobs and not declare the money.

    The money earned went towards things to enable me to do more work, I was still signing on and living off the benefits but any extra money was being spent on things like driving lessons, driving test, a car (x reg metro in case anyone was wondering) car insurance (£1300), car tax and of course petrol for the car.

    all the while I was keeping a close eye on what I was earning and what my costs of living where going to be when I came off benefits (full rent, council tax etc) and as soon as what I was earning reached £750 above my costs for a year I signed off and went self-employed

    what I had not allowed for was income tax which actually left me around £100 worse off in my first year than if I had stayed on benefit.

    overall I would estimate that I cheated the system out of around £4000 over 3 years but if I had not done it I would probably still be living in a bedsit and on benefits instead of being a director of 2 companies and employing 12 others (8 of which came off benefits to work for me).

    As I see it I took £4000 (which I wasnt entitled to) and used that money to get out of the system (if I had not cheated the system and had stayed on benefits I would have cost the system at least £62,000 rather than paying over £200,000 into the system via corporation tax, income tax and NI).

    All I ask is that you don't paint all benefit cheats with the same brush, the system is so broken that sometimes the only way of getting out is to cheat.

    1. Anon the mouse

      Isn't that what is called the benefit trap

      Thank you for posting that. It was interesting to read. And shows some of the problem with the system.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      same AC as original post

      I know my previous post was long-winded (hopefuly this one works out shorter)

      The benefit trap (or poverty trap) is a very accurate description since once you are on benefits it is very difficult to get into a situation that you can get off them.

      it seems as though everything is pitched against you, since being on benefit normally means...

      absolute bottom end of the housing market (i.e. grotty bedsit, tiny house in an area that nobody wants to live in or a council flat (or house if you have children)

      all of these options combined with the fact you are on benefits means that you will almost certainly be using pre-payment meters for electric or gas, these are always set at a higher rate than normal meters (supposedly to offset the cost of whatever payment system they have implemented) but of course being on a pre-payment plan means that you cannot get any of the direct-debit or dual-fuel discounts that are normally available.

      privately rented houses or flats that available to benefit claimants tend to be the worst of the worst, normally very poorly maintained (if at all) with outdated heating systems (that simply costs too much to run enough to keep the property warm properly) this poor condition combined with a lack of proper heating leads to damp / mildew etc and the health problems associated with exposure to them (meaning that the person on benefits is more likely to be in poor health and therefore unable to work)

      Council properties (now renamed Social Housing since most of them have been sold off to housing associations) tend to be the better option these days (although they still tend to be poor) however when I was living in a council house the windows were single glazed with metal frames (I clearly remember ice on the inside every winter) the outer walls were single brick (so absolutely no insulation) and the heating system consisted of a coal fire with a back boiler feeding 2 radiators (one in the front room and one in the kitchen)

      while on benefits credit is not obtainable at an reasonable rate (if at all) this means that if your transport breaks down it is likely to be out of action for a long period of time (a car needing £100 spending on it means that you are looking at 3 weeks worth of money to fix it), in the mean-time you have to rely on public transport which generally works out more expensive (so while you need to save money you are having to spend more)

      Banks are very unhelpful, My account went overdrawn by £2 (the cost of a train fare for a journey I had to make had gone up) The bank helpfully let me know 4 days later that they were charging me £35 per day for an unauthorised overdraft, I went into the bank and explained (politely, I dont do angry and shouting) that they were charging me each day the exact amount of money that I was receiving each week, the bank were claimed to be sympathetic but refused to cancel the charges or even to freeze the charges. so in a little over a month I suddenly owed over £1000 because of a £2 debt. and had no chance at all of paying it off. it wasnt until the bank tried to take me to court over what ended up as a £7000 debt that anyone looked sensibly at the situation and reduced the cost down to £142 (the original £2 and £35 for each of the 4 days until I had notified the bank that I would have extreme difficulty paying)

  55. Sarah Davis
    Coat

    here's just ONE example of why this article is proporganda

    here's ONE conservative my whose fraud is several times greater than any ONE alleged benefit fraud - http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/MPs-Expenses-Lord-Taylor-Former-Tory-Peer-Jailed-For-12-Months-For-Fiddling-Expenses/Article/201105416002782?f=rss

    i could go on but there are so many replies on here eching my sentiments. Anyone who tries to deny the level of corruption in british politics is either an idiot or part of the corruption - and either way, part of the problem.

    Stop trying to blame the poor for problems caused by the rich and powerful

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Fuch this for a load of old ballox

    If you can code a website you can get a job, If you can retouch using photoshop you can get a job, both would pay above minimum wage, the work might be a bit hit and miss on your off days but sitting at a monitor for a few hours requires very few motor skills and hardly any stamina.

    Get a job, support yourself and stop laying your problems and your guilt trip on the rest of us

    1. Anon the mouse

      Where??

      Not freelance, but regular paid employment?

      Where?

      That's the problem that another poster highlighted, companies expect you to be able to recompile the linux kernel and maintain a network of 2k users just to do basic web design.

      1. Paul 172
        Stop

        lol

        "recompile the linux kernel and maintain a network of 2k users"

        - lmao, wanna have a go at picking two other tasks ? those are ridiculously easy....

        1. Damion
          Linux

          Easy Tasks

          @Paul 172

          "- lmao, wanna have a go at picking two other tasks ? those are ridiculously easy..."

          You missed off the end of his quote which was that employers want you to be able to do those "just to do basic web design." And the point is very apt - why should someone who is being hired to simply create HTML/XML/CSS need to know about compiling/network administration.

          A fair few years back I ended up at a job where a prerequisite had been knowledge of programming in VB. The job role was that of a 2nd level hardware support engineer. VB was completely irrelevant to the job role, and it was only by coincidence that I had done some work using it the previous year. But still it was necessary.

          We have been in an age for many years where the powers that be want completely irrelevant qualifications or experience for job roles. I have seen job postings for Sys Admins where there was a prerequisite of an A+ certification! (At least if they had picked a qualification worth having I could understand it).

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    This is all very well but

    In my case I have most of the symptoms of a recognised condition (Asperger's) which affects my ability to work but more importantly getting through the interview in the first place.

    Not an obvious disability but it does have an effect and employers are inconsiderate in the extreme when in fact with a few minor changes (such as clear written instructions!) many such people could maintain worthwhile employment.

    Employers need to understand that just because someone has been out of work for a long time does NOT mean they do not want to work, just that fate has dealt them a bad hand.

    Work trials are the way to go IMHO, and none of this "Oh lets make them sign on again after a week's work" which happened to a good friend of mine resulting in two week's lost JSA.

    There needs to be a system in place where people are encouraged to take short term contracts without affecting their benefit status, i.e. pay back the money or have the company send wages to the benefits office via an intermediary.

    AC, but not as we know it.

  58. Tony Batt
    Thumb Down

    Why not freelance?

    Everyone else is

  59. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Please switch your brain on before posting to the register

    It's easy to see how many of you read the newspaper trash, Daily Government spun fiction Mail.

    If you watch any TV you see them moaning at Cameron about how people on benefits are driving nice cars, going on holidays and generally living the high life and how angry they are after reading about it in the newspaper. Cameron with a smug grin on his face thinking "Our little fictitious leak did the trick". How stupid are people? If you have ever tried to live on a benefit you would know how difficult it is just affording to eat, let alone get your homes temperature much above freezing in the winter.

    Any benefit claimant who is able to afford to go on holiday must be defrauding the system in some way because DWP certainly do not pay enough to do it. So switch your brains on for a change before making such stupid comments or reading trashy newspapers.

    I could save this country 100's of billions, improve productivity and benefit the public as a whole and it wouldn't mean punishing deserving people on benefits like this government is doing. But I won't do that because no one is getting my ideas for free and I am certainly not going to hand them to this government after what they are doing. Instead we have MP's who couldn't think of a useful idea unless it benefited themselves.

    There are legitimate claimants who are unable to work due to ill health and I know of one who has been passed as unfit for work by an industrial tribunal yet ESA medical division of the same company in order to get their bonus for failing someone has found him fit for work. Yet the benefit office would not allow him to sign on for JSA because they said he was not fit for work so could not claim. Therefore he has no income, cannot work, cannot pay his bills and cannot get ANY benefit at all despite paying his taxes and NI all his life. When he needed it most, the system failed him.

    That is how twisted the current system is. If it wasn't so serious it would be a joke.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Spare me the bullshît

    My Neighbour (not friend of a friend of a friend) lives very well on benefits and once told my wife that she thought about getting a job once but didn't know what she wanted to do. She's 35 lives in a 3 bed semi with 3 kids and a new baby (DHSS must have noticed her youngest were over 7) her chavvy niece and even chavvier live-in boyfriend. She drives a 3 year old people carrier and is at present away on holiday (in the half-term too, wish we could afford to). It's good that they're away as usually we have her uncontrolled 12 year old son and his mates in our faces.

    If someone is unfit to work fair enough but if someone is choosing to live on benefits it is just plain wrong and has to be stopped

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