There is a story on the BBC website about a family who will be affected by the benefit cap, presumably to illustrate the argument of those who think that capping benefits is in some way wrong.
I have a couple of observations:
“Ray” is a software developer. Assuming he cannot get a job writing software, he must be a reasonably intelligent chap and should therefore be capable of getting himself all kinds of office work, never mind unskilled labour of one sort or another. Instead, apparently, he has been jobless since 2001.
The breakdown of their spending includes the following items, which, I submit, are luxuries that they have no right to expect the state (in the form of you, me, and everyone else) to provide for them. Namely:
Shows. This is listed, but not explained, under “Other”.
Entertainment. What Ray does on a Friday night is up to him, but if he doesn’t have the money, he doesn’t have the money. Maybe his friends would care to buy his beer for him, instead of expecting us to buy it?
Sky TV (perplexingly listed separately from “Entertainment”). This is justified with the wonderful “We get the Sky Movies package because we’re stuck in the house all week - otherwise we wouldn’t have any entertainment”.
Of course (a) Ray does not have to be stuck in all week — he could get a job; (b) there is a perfectly good free TV and radio service; (c) there are always books and board games; and (d) if all else fails, there is the public library! I might add that public libraries often lend out films as well as books, just in case Ray has forgotten how to read while sitting on his arse.
Mobile phones. I don’t care that Ray says his teenagers will whinge at him if they don’t have them. They can’t afford because their dad can’t be bothered to find himself a job.
“24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco”. Really? 200 cigarettes costs at least £50, right there.
The amount that they will lose in benefits if this cap comes in is less than they are spending on tobacco and alcohol every week (I estimate this at the £20 “Entertainment”, plus £50 for 200 cigarettes, plus £15 for 24 cans of cheap lager and another £8 or so for the pouch of tobacco, which is £93).
The story ends with a quote from Ray: “I see eight people here having to choose between eating and heating.” Personally I see a lazy scrounger who can’t be bothered to go out and get himself a job. Any job. I don’t care if it’s as a software developer or as a damned toilet cleaner, quite frankly.