Just in case there were not enough press articles and TV shows (of which the Murdoch titles, the Mail, the Express, BBC’s “Saints and Scroungers” immediately spring to mind) that demonise the unemployed and everyone claiming benefits, Channel 4′s Dispatches will tonight screen “Tricks of The Dole Cheats”
“Reporter Morland Sanders investigates Jobcentre Plus, the organisation tasked with getting Britain back to work and cracking down on dole cheats. With the help of jobseekers, undercover filming and a former insider, the programme reveals the shirkers’ tricks that make it easy to cheat the system.”
Well, if it is so “easy to cheat the system” and there are so many “shirkers” at it with their “tricks”, then you would imagine that to justify such a story, that benefit fraud must surely be very widespread and a bigger problem than tax-dodging by the rich.
The fact is that fraud accounted for just 0.8% of benefit expenditure in 2011.
This figure is so small that it is almost matched by the amount lost in benefits by Government error which cost 0.6% of benefits spending in 2011.
Surely Dispatches have not made a programme to reduce a level of fraud that is a tiny fraction of £120bn that is dodged by the wealthy in taxes?
Tonight’s programme can only serve to strengthen the Tories resolve to make the lives of all benefit claimants even more miserable, as if they needed any encouragement.
It will no doubt be followed by an even more vitriolic press campaign against the most vulnerable and poorest in Britain today. Every claimant will be tarred with the “benefit cheat” brush and further harassment and more benefits sanctions will be the result.
And for each column inch and every millimetre of footage that creates an atmosphere of resentment against the poor, less coverage is devoted to the real Tory crimes that are destroying jobs, destroying vital services and allowing the richest in our society to grow richer with their bonuses and their tax havens.
One of the antidotes to this atmosphere is today’s strike by more than 6,000 contact centre workers in the DWP, who are fighting for the right to serve those in need of help. Their strike is against the very target-driven bullying led by DWP senior managers that prevent them from fully and professionally supporting those desperate for their benefits or a crisis loan.
PCS contact workers should be supported and messages of solidarity can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Secondly, anyone that is disgusted by the Dispatches attack on the unemployed should make their feelings known.
Combat Channel 4 Dispatches’ “Tricks of The Dole Cheats” have set up a Facebook page which has all the relevant contact details for makers of the programme.
Channel 4′s switchboard, emails and Dispatches twitter feed should be flooded with complaints:
Telephone: 020 7396 4444
Fax: 020 7306 8366
Minicom: 020 7306 8691
Web site: www.channel4.com
You can send free faxes here: http://www.freepopfax.com/
They are using the twitter hashtag #HowNotToGetAJob ???
hashtags #dispatches #HowNotToGetAJob #c4news #ch4
Krishnan Guru-Murthy @krishgm
Alex Thomson @alextomo
Peter Heneghan Comm & Social Media Ambassador for @Ch4dispatches @PeterHeneghan
Journalist behind the programme: Morland Sanders @morlandsanders
Daniel Pearl is the Commissioning Editor for Dispatches
Programme Coordinator: Kate Surfield
Telephone: 0207 306 8647
CH4 Dispatches website: http://www.channel4.com/