- ‘They’ are lazy and don’t want to work
The most commonly cited cause of child poverty by churchgoers and the general public alike is that “their parents don’t want to work”. Yet the majority of children in poverty are from working households. In work poverty is now more common than out of work poverty.
- ‘They’ are addicted to drink and drugs
Churchgoers and the wider public cite addiction as the second most common cause of child poverty. While addiction is devastating for the families and communities touched by it, fewer than 4% of benefit claimants report any form of addiction.
- ‘They’ are not really poor – they just don’t manage their money properly
Nearly 60% of the UK population agrees that the poor could cope if only they handled their money properly. Statistics show that the poorest spend their money carefully, limiting themselves to the essentials.
- ‘They’ are on the fiddle
Over 80% of the UK population believe that “large numbers falsely claim benefits”. Benefit fraud has decreased to historically low levels – the kind of levels that the tax system can only dream of. Less than 0.9% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud.
- ‘They’ have an easy life
Over half the British public believes benefits are too high and churchgoers tend to agree. Government ministers speak of families opting for benefits as a lifestyle choice. Yet we know that benefits do not meet minimum income standards. They have halved in value relative to average incomes over the last 30 years. We know the ill and the unemployed are the people least satisfied and happy with life.
- ‘They’ caused the deficit
The proportion of our tax bills spent on welfare has remained stable for the last 20 years. It is ridiculous to argue that increasing welfare spending is responsible for the current deficit. Public debt is a problem but why is it being laid at the feet of the poorest?
To read more on the real facts about poverty: http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk