Channel 4 are facing criticism for their new TV series Benefits Street. Before the show was even aired the participants were complaining that they had been misled over the nature of the show and how they were portrayed. When the show was aired there was a flurry of death threats to the participants on twitter and the police were inundated with calls from the public over the lawbreaking depicted.
It may seem odd to take this opportunity to try and promote a change to our tax and welfare system where everybody gets given money by the government unconditionally whether they are rich or poor. But we believe this is the only way to ensure that the system is fair to everyone. Not just to the unemployed, but also to everyone who works hard for a living.
We have just a few days left for the European Citizen’s Initiative for Basic Income if we can get sufficient votes we can get the European Commission to look into Unconditional Basic Income as a solution.
We condemn channel 4’s vilification of the unemployed. While we don’t deny the existence of the people on this program and others like them, they do not represent all unemployed people and its entirely possible that the film makers are not even representing them in the best possible light.
In 2012 the Joseph Rowntree foundation conducted research asking the question “Are cultures of worklessness passed down the generations?”
One of their key findings was that “Families experiencing long-term worklessness remained committed to the value of work and preferred to be in jobs rather than on benefits.”
The simple fact is that there are not enough jobs to go around and many of the people in this program are going to be at the bottom of the pile of CVs.
Given that we don’t have enough jobs to go round let’s at least make sure that there is a proper safety net for hard working families that find themselves needing support. If a few people don’t want to work, then that leaves more jobs for those that do and those that are able and choose to work will continue to receive their basic income ensuring that work really does pay.
Here are some reasons you should sign the initiative.
- Its fair, everybody gets the same amount whether they are working or not.
- Because you continue to receive it when you work it makes work really pay.
- A steady income no matter how small helps families with precarious jobs to budget.
- It eliminates poverty traps because working is guaranteed to improve your finances.
- Small businesses and startups are supported when there are cash flow problems.
- It empowers workers to find better paid jobs.
- It will allow a more flexible workforce.
- It is cheaper to administer and less scope for fraud.
- It will free people to be more creative and innovative.
- Increasing the disposable income of the lowest paid will boost the economy.
Sign the initiative and more importantly tell everyone you know to sign it. We are running out of time.