How I learned to stop worrying and love the benefits cheats:

I’m sure everyone’s seen the adverts. They’re on TV, in newspapers, on bustops and on the sides of the buses themselves. The “We’re closing in” ones designed to make so called “benefit thieves” look like right villains. Anyone who’s claimed benefits in the last few years might know too how unpleasant an experience it has become now with a mix of intimidation and surveillance everywhere in the system. There’s even handy phone numbers so that you can grass your friends, families, neighbours, or even total strangers.

Alister Darling and those two brain caterpillars that control you. You are not going to enjoy this…

I fully support workers who cheat the benefits system! There! I said it! I’m not suggesting for one moment that I personally cheat the system. I’m paid by BACS, directly to my credit union account. The government, sadly, knows exactly how much I earn and in their infinite wisdom, believe that I £4k a year in wages is enough to live off without support other than £60 of my rent paying. More’s the pity.

Those that have found a way to fiddle the system. Good on you!

We in the UK have some real drains on our system. They don’t live in council houses on estates, or come from abroad (who are actually denied all state welfare, despite BNP propaganda saying otherwise). They live off us whether we like it or not and they’re taking hundreds of billions a year.

Drains like Fred Goodwin, ex-CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland and one of the biggest causes of the recession, that’s put millions of people worldwide on the dole. He’s only in his 40’s, but he’s retired with a £600k a year pension. We’re paying for that when against our will, the government bailed out RBS. Lord Ashcroft receives protection from the police and has the British Army fighting to keep him and his buddies in power, at the expense of the taxpayer, while he is not one himself. We’ve had MP’s who already “earn” over £60k a year, claiming for moat cleaning, duck houses and using their second homes as a property development company.

On a more everyday scale though, we are robbed every day by our employers. We provide the labour that customers want and pay for, while our bosses, take our money for it to pay themselves better than what we get. At the end of the day, a business can always run without a boss, or managers, but it cannot run without workers, which are the most vital part, yet paid the least.

These are our work-shy “sponges” on the system. Hopefully you agree with me that it is wrong that they take this money from us. However, it is perfectly legal. No doubt because these same people are the ones who dictate what the law is in the first place, either directly, or through funding the parties in power with the condition that the party pleases these rich funders.

Now, I know that the Daily Mail might tell us that people who smuggle away £65 a week extra in dole are somehow the scum of the earth, but lets actually think about this like adults for a moment. Job Seeker’s Allowance for a single person under 25 is £45 a week, over 25 it’s £65 a week. Housing benefit is capped at around £40 a week for under 25’s and £60 a week for over 25’s. These are what single people get, couples get even less.

Now, that gives you a grand total of £85 a week income for an under 25 to pay your rent, bills, eat, and try get a little entertainment in there to stop you going nuts. The grand total of £125 a week for over 25’s isn’t much better.

Consider for a moment whether you could live on that kind of an income. Forget about your Internet, credit card bills, running your car and phone and entertainment for a moment. Can you even pay your rent/mortgage, gas and electric and feed yourself on that? The answer is no.

Yet currently, nearly two million people on benefits in the UK are told to do just that. This doesn’t even include people, such as cleaners, like myself who’s wages are below this income! There is no question here that we are talking about peoples’ health and welfare here and in a world where the rich irresponsibly put a price tag on water, food, shelter and warmth, to deny those things means death.

So, I do not consider it wrong if somebody tops up their benefits with a bit of cash in hand work, or tops up their undeclared wages with a bit of benefits. This however is not only illegal, but also criminal. Break these rules and not only will the money be forcibly removed from you by sequestion and bailiffs, but you can also get jail time. I’m sure this comes as no surprise though that this double standard exists, as we as the poorest workers do not fund parties with large donations. Even if we wanted to fund the parties, we couldn’t match the donations of the rich, seeing as though “the richest 1pc in the UK hold some 70pc of the country’s wealth” . We simply can’t ever match that kind of political bribe and as a result it is the poor, not the rich, who are declared the outlaws for a far lesser crime.

The intention of making benefits so unpleasant is to encourage us to accept substandard working conditions and pay and even to scab, join the army, or police, or do other such things that in the end only harm our other workers more. If benefits were fit for purpose, to support those who have been forbidden to work by the rich, then maybe there’d be a slight case for having a pop at “benefit thieves”, but at the end of the day, there’s not and there’s far bigger fish to fry before you do that anyway.

The lesson here is to understand that what is right and lawful and what’s wrong and illegal are not allways one and the same. Justice and the law are not the same thing.


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