Survey shows support for benefit cuts is from those unaware
- 07 Jan
A survey on benefit cuts found that those least able to provide accurate answers about benefits are the most likely to back the welfare cuts.
Once made aware that the cuts affect low paid workers, agreements with the Government's plans drop significantly.
Commissioned by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and YouGov, the poll finds that once are made aware that a 1% cap on benefits would affect low paid workers, those in favour of the Government's plans drops from around 48% of participants down to 30%.
The survey also showed that negative attitudes towards those on welfare benefits are building up, and an unrealistic stereotype was apparent against those who the Government publicly announce cuts towards when they mention benefits. The poll suggests that this lack of awareness of the facts is breeding hositility towards benefits.
The average amount of benefits that those surveyed believed was spent on the unemployed is 41%, while in reality only 3% of the welfare budget is spent on unemployed people.
Those surveyed also thought that 26.3% more of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently than is actually the case.
Those who answered the survey least accurately and were less aware of the facts of benefits, nearly three quarters agreed welfare had created a culture of dependency and 53% thought benefits are too generous.
This is compared to the respondants who had the most accurate knowledge on benefits thought 31% thought benefits are excessively generous while less than half thought a culture of dependency had been formed.
TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said:
It is not surprising that voters want to get tough on welfare. They think the system is much more generous than it is in reality, is riddled with fraud and is heavily skewed towards helping the unemployed, who they think are far more likely to stay on the dole than is actually the case.
But you should not conduct policy, particularly when it hits some of the most vulnerable people in society, on the basis of prejudice and ignorance. And it is plainly immoral to spread such prejudice purely for party gain, as ministers and their advisers are doing, by deliberately misleading people about the value of benefits and who gets them.
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