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Wrong to stigmatise people on benefits
LAST night, Channel 5 showed a documentary called On Benefits And Proud, the latest in a series of programmes often described as ‘poverty porn’.
From the trailers and website, it portrays the norm as people not in work but “working the system”.
A group of jobseekers, single parents and disabled people (called Dole Animators) has created a film called All In This Together? This launches today and explores the reality of claiming social security while Government welfare reform is implemented.
While the Government and most media (The Press being an exception) are quick to characterise benefits as a lifestyle choice, the research into All In This Together? shows individuals who need real and meaningful help to find work (currently not provided by the Work Programme).
Ruth Patrick, whose research led to the initiation of the film, said: “So long as the Government focuses so firmly on conditions and sanctions, accompanied with negative and stigmatising language about those forced to rely on benefits, their welfare reforms are likely to fail.”
But perhaps the comment that best encapsulates the film was from the group itself: “We warn you not to be ill, not to have an accident, not to lose your job, not to have dreams or aspirations. We warn you not to make the choices we didn’t make’.
Check out doleanimators.org for a counterpoint to much current stereotyping.
Richard Bridge, Holgate Road, York.
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