A Majority Of People Want To See Social Security Expenditure Increase

by richardhutton

One important aspect of the recent British Social Attitudes report was ignored by the media (and even misrepresented in a recent Guardian editorial, which had linked to the previous year’s survey) – most people want social security to increase:

“the numbers of people wanting to raise spending on benefits in general, or raise pensioner and single parent benefits are greater than the numbers who want to cut them – and there are outright majorities in favour of more spending on disabled people, carers, and parents working on low incomes”.

Moreover, quite in contrast to rhetoric about ‘hardworking families’ being resentful towards ‘skivers’, the BSA survey found that working households in difficult financial circumstances “are statistically significantly more likely to think that unemployment benefits are not enough to live on (9 percentage point gap) and that they are too low (seven percentage point gap). They are also more supportive of welfare spending than those who are comfortably off (16 percentage point gap).”

This somewhat contradicts claims also made by Iain Duncan Smith, the Guardian, the Daily Express, and Yougov, during the last few years, that benefit cuts are overwhelmingly popular, and especially so amongst the working poor.  The reality is quite the opposite.

A lot could be said about the media and its fateful role in distorting the levels of income and fraud amongst people who require social security, along with politicians’ insidious efforts to divide public sympathy on grounds of who deserves support, rather than who needs it –  but there’s no point.