Published on 4 Apr 2013

Can abnormal behaviour affect the welfare policy debate?

Is there a case for regarding Mick Philpott’s behaviour as in some way, normal enough, common enough, to dictate welfare policy?

In my reporting experience, what he did was wildly aberrant, abnormal, horrific, and indicative of very little beyond the need to spot, and respond, to so dangerous an individual at a much earlier stage in their development.

Some six months ago the excellent Channel Four News fact-checker Patrick Worrall came up with the statistic that there are thirty families in the whole of the UK with eleven children, who like Philpott, have claimed child benefit.

See this link to see the figures – the vast majority of claimants have just one (over 600,000), or two (400,000), children. The idea that an entire system should be re-jigged to cope with a lunatic who burnt to death half the children he’d fathered seems questionable at the least.

It is unfortunate for both the proposed welfare reforms, and claimants themselves, that they should have become ensnared by something that almost certainly revolts them as much as it does the policy makers themselves.

All I can do to assist, is to commend our Mr Worrall’s researches. They render the true state of affairs with enviable clarity.

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104 reader comments

  1. Dscaper says:

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    By that logic, Harold Shipman’s 240+ victims should have resulted in all doctors being punished.

    1. DeservingPoor says:

      post hoc ergo propter hoc

      “All members of the Bullingdon Club becomes fascistic reactionaries”

      No… some events are purely serendipitous

    2. dave smith says:
    3. David says:

      That’s exactly the point that came to mind as I was reading the story.

    4. Stokes says:

      The Shipman case and subsequent inquiry resulted in legislative changes in the management of controlled drugs. This affected everyone involved in prescribing medication and has resulted in a safer environment for patients.
      Occasionally one extreme case can highlight the need for fundamental reform.

    5. GA says:

      Interestingly all doctors WERE punished for Harold Shipman. The system of 5 yearly revalidation was introduced in response to Shipman despite the fact that there was no more evidence that he was typical of doctors than that Philpott as typical of welfare claimants! So now all doctors will have to prove that they are not Shipman’s every five years.

    6. Niallio says:

      Sshh… don’t give the Tories any ideas. I can just picture Jeremy Hunt standing up and declaring that he’s axing free NHS primary care to protect old ladies from endemic hordes of predatory, homocidal GPs….

  2. Paul Miller says:

    As always a calm, reasoned voice from C4news. Its a shame certain papers can’t stick to the facts instead of the kneejerk headlines of late.

  3. frank blunden says:

    seems Osborne or his advisor think its a bithday and christmas and cause for wild eyed glee (watching Osborne on news clip )

  4. Dorothy Harrison says:

    When a local man killed his wife and child, shot the horses then set fire to a very large property I don’t remember anyone suggesting that business ethics and the entrepreneurial spirit contributed to his appalling crime. George Osborn needs to get off this particularly greasy soapbox designed only to deflect us from a proper debate about the impact of their current cuts.

  5. Alan Robinson-Orr says:

    I listened with alarm at what the Chancellor said today. To relate welfare to serious criminal activity is a very dangerous action.

    He is at risk of demonising (still further) the underclass that has grown in our country to the extent that people may take the law into their own hands. It’s rather like the propaganda against various enemies of the Nazi state in the 30’s.

    Secondly, have you noticed the look Mr Osbourne gets when he talks on issues like this? It’s a barely repressed glee that he displays. Look at the autumn statement when he was talking about closed curtains and todays statement and you can see the gleam in his eye. I think he is unfit to hold office.

    1. Kris Cross says:

      Oh please – did you actually watch the Osborne interview before pontificating? He doesn’t “relate welfare to serious criminal activity”. He condemns the criminality. & then separately, he questions whether we – society – are doing the right thing by allowing welfare dependency to become so embedded and common-place. Well said, George – it’s about time someone had the courage and speak the traditionally un-speakable.

    2. John March says:

      I totally agree with you. I was so sickened and appalled by his political opportunism and the half suppressed smile as he warmed to his line about taxpayers subsidising the Welfare Benefits of Benefit recipients ” of people like the Philpotts” and the implied demonising of Welfare Benefit Recipients and the “gleam” in his eye was reminiscent of a crazed lunatic. The frightening thing is what will The Sun & The Mail do with it to convert it to ” common sense”!
      At 66 & a Pensioner (or as they might one day call me a ” benefit Scrounger”).
      I have both contributed as a taxpayer NI. contributor since approx 1965 and also enjoyed the health education and fear from poverty of the Post War Labour Govt’s peoples vision of a Welfare State ” from the cradle to the grave”. I have been an incapacity Benefit Recipient and successful beaten the DWP & ATOS whilst supported by both full time officials of my union, the GMB & medical specialist reports supporting my case. Thank goodness I am educated and reasonably articulate for a working class child of the late 1940s.
      Yours sincerely
      John March BSc Hons Cert Ed F.E.
      Retired lifetime member GMB.
      NB I have never posted on a Blog before. However I have written complaining to George Osborne MP, in support of Labour ‘s Chris Williamson MP, Owen Jones of The Independent and my own MP Gavin Barwell.
      I Will try to write in support of Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP
      I can’t remebered the last time I was so shocked and frightened by a senior Govt Minister acting so appalling!

    3. Alan Robinson-Orr says:

      Yes. To my mind it’s clear that he was connecting the two.

      If he wasn’t, why mention the Philpotts at all? It’s not exactly within his remit is it?

  6. Matty says:

    ” The idea that an entire system should be re-jigged to cope with a lunatic who burnt to death half the children he’d fathered seems questionable at the least.”

    That’s the problem with the whole argument of the anti-welfare lobby over this issue. If you legislate in order to deal with a tiny minority in many cases you just end up inconveniencing (or worse in the case of welfare) the majority. Conservatives are fond of understanding this argument when it suits them.

    1. Victor Copeland says:

      When politician make laws , there are often quite unintended results. When on benefits how do you increase your income? Is having another child not quite logical? If you have outgrown your house, knowing rules exist to define the number of bed rooms the state will pay for, it is not quite logical if extreme, to find a reason why you need rehoused, like fire damage. So Mick Pillpots actions can be seen as a logical if perverse way to get a bigger house.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you Jon for some bringing some sanity in this debate – if you can call it a debate. The man is completely mad and, as you say, his deviant behaviour should have been spotted long ago. His actions have nothing at all to do with the welfare state.

    The current media hysteria and rhetoric which has been taken up by so many ‘ordinary’ people reminds me of Mark Twain’s quote: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it s time to pause and reflect.” I alwasy try to do that.

  8. Aucan says:

    Thank you very much, I’m glad there is someone keeping an eye on the vicious lies the daily mail spread. I’m amazed that they wrote that it was the welfare state made this psychopath, insinuating that being on benefits makes you an abusive husband with no regard for your children, this is nothing short of an attack on the poor. The sad irony is that the welfare state, a society that cares, reduces the risk that people act like this, and helps give protection to those who find themselves trapped in abusive relationships.

  9. Patrick says:

    The people that are using the Philpott’s as an argument for cutting benefits already have plenty of ‘form’ with using extreme and misleading examples to justify cuts that effect the most disadvantaged in society. Pushing individual examples of Fraud of the benefits systems when the governments own figures show that fraud is in percentage terms a very small problem. Or tells us that some families claim over £100,000 on benefits but forgetting to mention that their are only 5 such families and that the families do not see most of this money as it is paid directly to the landlords.

  10. David Scarlett says:

    It is wrong for the conservatives to hitch their agenda to this tragic case. I believe that Philpot would have been just as capable of an insurance scam to further his ends.

  11. Frank Clement-Lorford says:

    I am surprised at the above comments as they have not been mentioned in today’s interview with Owen Jones . I seem to have noticed a whiff of Daily Mail reporting when C4 news cover welfare. Over the last two years the government have used the written media to create a divide between the “undeserving poor/ feckless poor” and people in work. These tactics were used by the then government in 1834 who brought in the new Poor Law Act, forcing out of work families into workhouses, husbands separated from wives and children separated from their parents. Today the poor have very few champions in the text media, it now seems they have no champions for them in the visual media. Tonight Krishnan Guru-Murthy was more interested in portraying himself as a tough interviewer than allowing Owen Jones to make some very important points.

    1. Roger says:

      To me, Owen Jones came across as a smug knowitall. While I am not suggesting that benefit claimants per se are Mick Philpots, defendants of welfare claimants need to be more objective.

    2. john march says:

      Yes I was shocked by the way Chrishnan kept cutting Owen Jones off. On reflection I suppose he might have been emulating Jeremy Paxman. He seemed so enamored with defending the right of the OEA spokeswoman. I was rather shocked. Am a little relieved by your comment as I was beginning to wonder about his neutrality!

  12. Wills says:

    Using Mick Philpott’s wildly aberrant behaviour as a stick to beat the welfare state (forget that “benefits system” boo-phrase) is as logical as saying Thomas Hamilton’s atrocity at Dunblane should have meant the end of the Scouting movement – or that Harold Shipman’s behaviour should have forever precluded putting GPs in the driving seat of the NHS.

    1. Peter Lucas says:

      … or the Ramblers’ Society is responsible for the Moors’ murders.

    2. barry laughton says:

      But Thomas Hamilton’s atrocity bought in draconian gun controls. If the police had controlled the gun licenses as they should Dunblane would never have occurred.

  13. dave smith says:

    5 arrest over 3 murders in peterbrough,.were they also murders because of benefits,

  14. bsk says:

    Jon, well said. When you hang up your journo shoes, please become a politician and show them what sense is. I know I’d vote for you.

    1. john march says:

      Here here to that well said. We need more politicians with Jon Snow’s qualities.

  15. Sam Buckler says:

    If Richard Branson or Fred Goodwin had seventeen children nobody would care. If you choose to raise a large family who should doubt you. If you have never attempted to support your family then went should anyone else do the same.

  16. isabella Robbins says:

    John – absolutely agree with you. I think what should also be considered in this debate is the hegemony of patriarchy and misogyny. This isn’t about benefits but about the power and control held by one man. How the state supports patriarchy, even more so now that child benefit is not tied to mothers, and exemplified in Osborne using this disgusting crime to describe the so called undeserving poor.

  17. Kenm says:

    All of the people commenting above seem to ignore the fact that Philpott was an exemplar of a certain strand within our society who use the state as a means to extract monies from the rest of us. In the fact checker it details that there are over 40000 families on benefits with 5 or more children. Not all of these families are scroungers. Some of them will be. More kids = more benefits. Philpott knew this and acted according to the rules he knew would best deliver more money. There is no black and white here – it is more nuanced than that. Osborne is right to highlight the fact to the bien-pensant left so well represented on this comments section (& blog).

  18. Ian Waring says:

    This is the best propaganda the govt can use, at the same time over 400,000 have signed the petition for IDS to spend a year surviving on £53/week. In the final analysis, the bedroom tax affects many who have no chance to move, for no useful financial benefit to the rest of society.

    The Sun even hired a Russian actress to pretend to be a benefits cheat, only to be outed on a modelling agency web site. The comments on the Sun web site were heavily “Nationalistic” and comments following her discovery were routinely plucked out of site. IDS had a paragraph in the original lurid article.

    This is this governments poll tax. The electorate are not stupid, and if there is no course correction from this cynical, mean and unnecessary bedroom tax, then people will vote these folks out. No amount of spin will help them.

  19. Dave says:

    Now who is twisting the story Jon? All that George Osbourne said was that there was a debate to be had over whether the tax payers should be funding the benefit led lifestyle of the Phillpott clan. Eleven children and absolutely zero attempt to provide for them. 60k per year in benefits against nil contribution? I’d be concerned if the C of the E didn’t want to engage in such a debate. Don’t let that get in the way of twisting the story so that he linked welfare and evil behaviour though. Utter nonsense

  20. Ian Waring says:
  21. tracey says:
  22. Shirley Osborn says:

    where on earth do these morons get such knee jerk ideas from.where are the statistics exactly .I was brought up in the 60,s both parents on benefits .one of 5 children taken into care by the system after years of neglect and abuse from those parents which was consistently ignored by the authorities .Now in m y 50,s i have brought up 2 children married ,had a career never committed crime ,been abusive or neglectful to my children. I have worked ,paid my bills on time,do not take drugs or drink.and am not in too much debt . Unfortunately due to illness i am on benefits.The system has not led me to any repeat of my childhood as a parent .it has made me strong and a survivor.this talk is discriminating and mislabelling .

  23. isobel waller says:

    The Philpott situation is so horrific -that it is difficult to even attempt to understand a person like this man –he did obviously use the women (wife+partner) to have the children -who he treated in my opinion like prize cattle -Most people would not ever think to harm their families in this atrocious manner ,-It is an insult to the many people who have to access the benefits system , to suggest that they would be in the category of such a psychopath as Mick Philpott. and so very wrong to use it as a reason or defense to cut the welfare budget –Osborne should be a man -he cut the welfare budget -he will cause untold suffering and hardship to many because of this bedroom tax-but do not use the evil of a person like Phillpot to justify it.

  24. Richard Harper says:

    Can I make a really boring point about data and statistics. The cited dwp figures are for child benefit claimed by out of work households, not for total children per out of work household. To claim for 11 children they have to be between 0-16 years old at the same time, a fairly tough feat for even the most committed ‘scrounger’. Equally those on 1 or 2 children may only be passing through on their way to 3 or 4. If a family has 4 children separated by 3 years each, over their 24 years of claiming cb they will only be a ‘4 child family’ for 6 of those years whereas a family who only has 1 child will be classed as a 1 child family for 16/16 years. So these statistics are skewed to exaggerate the number of 1 and 2 child families. Stats v important, to know where we’re going we need to first know where we are.

  25. Max says:

    What Osborne actually said was that Philpott committed dreadful crimes, the courts sentenced him. The taxpayer may wonder why they are subsidising his lifestyle, it’s a debate we need to have.

    Is this not true?

  26. Sheila says:

    Almost half a million children are growing up in families of 4 or more children claiming unemployment benefit, and over a million children in families with three children. Even if many of these families were in different circumstances when they had their children it is still an awful lot of children being brought up by parents who believe it is their right to have multiple children without having the means to provide for them. And the tragedy isn’t that I pay tax at 50% to fund it but that despite living in a household with a net income of over £60,000, the Philpott children were living in a state of emotional and physical neglect and that their potential life outcomes were still so poor. Please let’s not reduce this debate to two opposing viewpoints where the ‘left’ oppose all reform and the ‘right’ call for as many benefits as possible to be stripped. Welfare reform needs to be about the whole welfare system (not just benefits payments) and it should be about trying to ensure that the children of feckless parents like the Philpotts have the opportunity to break out of the poverty trap as well as making sure that for low-paid workers who live responsible lives and are not making sacrifices to fund luxuries for other people which they themselves cannot afford. I consider myself left-wing, but having taught in an inner city school my experience is that many, many children are being failed by the current system which pays parents regardless of whether they have the skills or commitment to parent their children (or child).

  27. Tim Howes says:

    As an aside, the use of Harold Shipman as an example of where government didn’t overreact is ironic. This is because a new national system of medical examiners is due to be introduced shortly to address the risk of there being another Dr Shipman.

  28. Mental Health says:

    Jon Snow makes an excellent point in the blog above. Philpott is not representative of people who are currently in need of the state safety net due to ill health, lack of private pension or inability to find paid work. Of course it is highly distasteful to use the tragedy of the deaths of 6 children for political purposes.

    However, Snow’s use of the term ‘lunatic’ as an insult is regrettable. To his credit, Snow quickly tweeted an apology for using it:

    “I’m sorry the word ‘lunatic’ was very absuive [sic] usage..thoughtless..I should know better”

    The problem with calling a convicted criminal a lunatic is that lunacy is a legal defence to murder, not a medical diagnosis. And the problem with casually using terms related to mental illness to insult people is that it turns mental illness into an insult.

    There are many other insults available. The English language is rich with them. Please don’t stigmatise a vulnerable group of people – those experiencing mental ill-health – by using mental health terms as insults. Thank you.

    Here’s a link to the tweets, including Snow’s apology and the comments of others:

  29. Katy Rosewll says:

    It is a most dangerous road that we find ourselves being led by this Government and certain elements of the press are assisting this passage. To make such heinous statements suggesting that Philpott’s crimes were encouraged by his family claiming benefits is both ludicrous and inflammatory. This man was an evil, vicious controlling individual, he would have committed these crimes irrespective of claiming benefits or not! Also, let us not forget, he was not unemployed, he was claiming working tax credits, child tax credits and child benefit, as do many families in Britain. This inflammatory press attitude towards benefit claimants needs to stop, shame on this Government, shame on the press who have become their puppet!

  30. Barry Evans says:

    Thanks for your smart and rational post, Mr Snow. The links created by The Daily Mail in its April 3rd Edition, and today’s comments by The Chancellor, between The Welfare State and the actions of Mick Philpott are reprehensible. It’s great to see someone defend those on welfare, and provide facts and statistics to justify that defence.

    Thank you.

  31. Meg Howarth says:

    Thank you, Jon, and Patrick Worrall.

    And just as the Mail and Osborne exploit the Philpott case to push the millionaire-cabinet’s crude anti-welfare propaganda, so it seems death-penalty supporter and former challenger for the Tory leadership David Davis is out to promote his own insidious agenda in calling the deaths of the Philpott children ‘premeditated murder’.

    Meantime, let’s not forget that Mick Philpott was himself a baby once, so what happened to turn him into the domestic-violence perpetrator it seems he’s been for all his adult life?

  32. Philip says:

    It just goes to show that Osborne & co will stoop to nothing too low to stigmatise people claiming benefits. Whether this is part of the continuing terror of UKIP or virtually the only area of public expenditure he believes he can cut with popular support, who knows? I see the hand of Lynton Crosby behind this. It’s part of a continuing campaign of disinformation (aided & abetted by the right wing press) to tar all benefit recipients with the “shirker” brush – Philpott is a godsend to them, os they think. From where I sit, I think it’s back-fired as I doubt whether anyoneother than a tiny handful of people believe that the need to debate the role of benefits & the behaviour of Philipott are in any way related. But they’ll keep plugging away at it. Expect every discovered “shirker” to get plenty of column inches – all to show us that people on benefits (except ourselves, of course) = shirkers.
    Sometimes I do fear that GO has lost his moral compass!

  33. desik says:

    What’s really sad and perverse is how the situation for the worst off in society has become so predictably hostile and dire in recent years as of Government policy with media complicity , including previous New Labour Government and the hypocritical Guarniad too, and that its only now, with claimants as a class being lumped in with mass child killers by Government Ministers and the mainstream media ,- think about that for a moment – that we see a few media celebs raising their heads above the parapet to limp wristedly gesticulate and mumble in protest , and pretty safely so too i might add , whereas claimants themselves now face abuse and worse for simply identifying themselves . Great work Jon, just about five years too late .

  34. Steve says:

    I don’t disagree with the general thrust, but the opinion above is ambiguous. The blog says 30 households in the UK, whereas the link refers to families only with someone out of work. The blog should make that clear as it is the Philpott debate, non working families. On that issue, maybe a lower cut off is appropriate – the many thousands of families with out of work benefits and 6 (say) or more children may well have a fair proportion for whom the benefits leave them with no desire to work. That would be a material amount of the welfare budget. People fall into many camps of course, but the debate seems fair in the Philpott context, as long as it is clear Philpott is at the far end of the spectrum.

  35. David Henderson says:

    Divide and rule not to mention passing the buck to “evil” labour councils good old Tories!!
    Who would have thought? as for the Universal Credit one huge disaster going to happen

  36. philip says:

    Why is no one putting blame were it belongs on a lunatic that was a criminal for abuse and Jeremy Kyle for making the hoodlum famous on TV to the point that he wanted to be a hero in the papers again . Nothing to do with welfare but all to do with a man and his ego . 11 kids 3 women are you telling me he did not want to be in the limelight again !

  37. Mary M says:

    In this country, we have built a non-judgemental, needs based, liberal client state. Naturally, it pays some beneficiaries to game this system: MPs and their expenses; personal injury and legal aid lawyers building large businesses funded by the state, a minority of benefits cheats. At the same time, our public servants have been brainwashed, or browbeaten, into leaving their common sense at home and operate from the Little Book of Political Correctness. This extreme case is, of course, an outlier, but perhaps it gives us a warning about how far we have come. Let’s not be naive. Of course, he gamed the system, and for a while, he won. But who thought it was a good idea to leave 11 children in that house, with those people? Why did nobody dare to speak up? Or do something? Didn’t they have concerned relatives, nosy neighbours, suspicious teachers. He was on tv, didn’t alarm bells ring somewhere? Yet again, children are at the sharp end of our reluctance to be at all judgemental or interfering.

  38. Garry says:

    In over 10 years I’ve not had to interact with any government employees. I’ve not seen a doctor or NHS dentist, never been to hospital or been arrested. My passport renewal was done by post.
    These evil people were seen dozens if not hundreds of times. Somebody should have been able to help them before it came to this.

  39. Kate Blair says:

    I too was horrifed by the Daily Mail frontpage, Guidos blog comments and the tories attempt to hijack this tragedy. I have been saddened by some of the vitrole I have seen based on ill informed tired sterotypes guarenteed to raise the hackles of the braying crowd. So I have signed the petition about the mail, decided to boycott the paper and will be complaining to the PCC. I would urge others to consider doing the same.

  40. Carole Rutherford says:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

    They’re coming in for us right now and it is going to take a lot more than a blog to stop what is happening to unemployed people and people with disabilities in the UK right now. When the actions of a truly evil individual can be attributed to claiming benefit with the loss of life being all but ignored, every man Jack should sit up and take note. Will they? No and by the time they are willing to do so there will be no one left to speak for them.

    We live in very worrying times.

    1. Katy Roswell says:

      Most elquently stated, yes, they are coming for us, not just the stigmatised disabled, sick and unemployed, but those of you who work! Yes, they are coming for us all, tragically they are hunting in packs, accompanied by certain factions of the mass media spewing out their distorted facts and whipping up vitriolic hatred!

    2. john march says:

      Well said Carol Rutherford. A member of my family is being hit by the Bedroom Tax, she is currently out of work as caring for a special needs son, now an addict, has made her very ill.
      Her son, who is currently on Disability Living Allowance due to many mental health issues since a young boy, will be like many, Disabled people losing income. My wife, who is 65 this year, will not get the maximum old age pensioners tax allowance. Whilst high earners get a 5p cut in their Tax Rate! How dare they tell us we are all in it together. No doubt pensioners in general will be targeted next for enjoying some of the benefits we currently get. Joan Bakewell recently mentioned on TV, that she had noticed a propaganda war being conducted pitting young working people against pensioners enjoying benefits, implying we weren’t sacrificing enough, like the rest of society! (excluding the wealthy of course).
      When will the electorate wake up and realize both working and non working people are being hit.
      Whilst the old Tory tactic of divide and rule, playing working people against the so called “undeserving poor” is applied again, in order to propagate the idea that the Tories are champions of the ‘strivers’! Why then are they attempting an attack on the minimum wage. Also, as Owen Jones pointed out, Tax Credits are a subsidy to low paying Employers.

  41. Matt Ferguson says:

    Demonising the parents as, perhaps, benefits cheats or scroungers, with the threat of ‘welfare reform’ will only result in one set of victims: the children. Assuming they don’t end up either in care or dead anyway, reducing money to parents leaves them even more vulnerable. Well done Osborne: kick them when they’re down. Shame they couldn’t have been born rich like you, you lucky little man.

  42. meadow says:

    The motive of the crime was to discredit the former partner and gain custody of the children, thus the benefits attached to their support


    But what came first the chicken or the egg? Had the additional birth of children not meant more income to this particular individual he wouldn’t have had 17 children and perhaps six little souls would have been saved

    But now doubt we the tax payer will still have to provide for 11 children, their homes & existing parents in some form, plus any social support. The Philipotts lifestyle in prison under special segregation and subsequent release and new IDs and even more benefits and a protected lifestyle until the die all out of public money, for such a waster.

    Doubt there is an answer, but do we have to make it so easy

    It’s to easy to say hethey were dysfunctional but WE made it all possible by endless provision.

  43. jo mackwell says:

    Its patently ridiculous unless we are going to stop all government ministers driving because one drinks and drives, imprison all in case more lie about who was driving their car or punish all because some fiddle their expenses…after al lit was “the system ” that let them.

  44. martin willmott says:

    Philpott is a typical thug, cannot be reasoned with, has a short temper and does not consider the consequences of his actions, as seen on the jeremy Kyle show, his behaviour is nothing to do with income, it’s just his primitive nature, jelousy, selfishness and lack of consideration for anyone but himself. Yes he’s an unpredictable, dangerous individual, but he’s very good at hiding his true self from public eyes until it suits him. Trouble is no one wants to deal with scum like this so they are left un monitored.

  45. Richard Harper says:

    These figures may not be as clear as they seem at first. DWP figures are not concerned with total children per household only child benefit claims per household. So in order to be claiming cb for 11 children they must all be between 0-16 years old, quite a feat! Also many of the families who currently have 1 or 2 children are just passing through on their way to 3 or 4. So a family who has 4 children all separated by 3 years will only be a ‘4 child family’ in the eyes of the DWP for 7 of their 25 years of claiming cb, for 6 of the 25 years they will be a ‘1 child family’. This bias exaggerates the number of 1 or 2 child families in any given snap shot of time. It would be great for debate and policy to be more evidence based but it’s easier said than done!

    1. Alan Robinson-Orr says:

      It’s always worth remembering that, according to Channel 4 News last night the benefit was coming from Child Benefit and Working Tax Credits. He, himself, was NOT claiming benefits (although his wife was probably claiming tax credit for him.

      I know he is a criminal and a control freak but a situation where one partner is working while another stays at home is not unusual, and, in fact, it is becoming increasinglt common for men to stay at home while women go out to work.

      I know Philpott is an exceptional case but we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater

  46. eric davies says:

    mr osbourn should maybe consider the amount of criminal behaviour practiced by those within his own ‘proffesion’. how many members of parliament (from all party’s) have been proven to have made false ‘expensis’ claims ? how many of these same people have been convicted of crimes like fraud, child abuse, perjury, tax evaision?. there is an old saying “people in glass houses should not throw stones”. if mr osbourn wants to see the real crimes in britain then he need look no further than Threadneedle street and the banking system.

  47. Bungle says:

    Its the same policy that Hitler and the Nazi Party used, Vilify a religion, then attack the poor and disabled, Next invade a country.
    Party Politics in the UK is dead, The main parties have become one, The only way I see out of it is for people to vote for Independent candidates, those that stand to make a difference and represent those who vote for them, and not do as the party whip says.

  48. Isabel Woods says:

    I think it very wrong. There are controlling abusive egoscentric people rich people too. Class and wealth doesn’t come into dangerous personality types.

  49. Amanda Boyce says:

    Agree with most of your comments, but you only have to watch Jeremy Kyle show every day to see there is something very wrong with our benefit system .. Hardly any of the people on there work because they get more money of the dole. At least the conservatives are trying to get people working again.

    1. martin willmott says:

      It’s not the benefit system creating scumbags, it’s scumbags using the benefit system, too lazy to work and a bad attitude

  50. Perseus says:

    The trouble is that the perpetrator in this case is not totally unusual.

    There are a reasonable number of anti-social fire bugs, and quite a few hornivores, bullies are reasonably common, and idiots are two a penny. To see a fire bug and a hornivore bully in the same person is what sets him apart (arguable: fire bugs are not always detected) ?

    Accusations of Philpott being lazy might not have any foundation? It takes consistent energy to be a bully! Better if they are encouraged to be lazy. An industrious bully or idiot is a menace.

    These menaces ruin the lives of others. It is better if they can be withdrawn from society by pharmaceuticals (readily available on the street) or if they are still a menace they can be locked up. Drinking can mean they go out into the community into pubs and spoil a good evening for everybody.

    No point in them working as they will muck up the morale of the workforce.

  51. Britt_W says:

    Spot on, Jon.
    I can only imagine what it feels like for people on benefits to be vilified in this way. In the cheap and nasty, simplified and sensational world of the Daily Mail, big families on benefits COULD well be mass murderers. That’s the ‘sense morale’ here! And it stinks, quite frankly.
    As for Mr Osborne, he hasn’t got a clue what it’s like out there, in the real world. I don’t know what makes me more angry – the fact that he holds the same line as the Daily Mail or that he starts his comments with letting on that he ‘understands’ genuine benefit claimers (before he goes on to attack the mass murdering kind of benefit claimers). It’s just like the “I’m not a racist, BUT…” kind of lingo. Makes me sick.

  52. Katy Roswell says:

    What about positive products of the welfare state? J K Rowling springs to mind as the obvious choice! This man is a vile, bullying sociopath, he would still be all of these things if he was a millionaire or a pauper, you cannot change a person’s inherent character.

  53. charlie1375 says:

    Greater emphasis should be placed upon ensuring that those persons applying for/actually receiving benefits do really need them and are not abusing the state bank account.

  54. odradek says:

    re Jennifer: “The man is completely mad and, as you say, his deviant behaviour should have been spotted long ago” Sorry, were you referring to Philpott or Osborne?

  55. martin willmott says:

    I keep reading that the benefit system is to blame, wrong, you only have to look at the Jeremy Kyle show or Jerry Springer to see the uneducated unwashed morons we’re actually talking about, these are not the product of the welfare state, these are the product of poor education in social life, a lack of parental teaching and guidance, which of course can go on for generations, thus the saying “Like father like son”
    Some just get in with a bad lot as kids and refuse to comply with any sort of authority, but the basic route of the problem is they lack general and social education and morals, that’s nothing at all to do with the welfare system. If there was no welfare these would be the tramps and the thieves of society, there’s just that one tiny step between that and what we have in our society today.
    So you can blame parents, you can blame schools, blame pier pressure or even mental health / attitude but you cant seriously blame the one thing that keeps them from going any lower, benefits.

  56. Simone Eggar says:

    I am on £71.00 per week JSA and in poverty. I’m sick and tired of being branded by the British Public as a scrounger. Especially after having worked all my life. After being made redundant late in life I am finding it impossible to get a job. But the most disgusting thing of all is a Government who to hide their own inadequacies in dealing with a failing economy target some of the most vulnerable people in society. Not only by cutting benefits, introducing taxes etc but by purposely feeding the media frenzy that a life on benefits provides an easy ride. I now face eviction or starvation as after the Bedroom Tax and Council Tax payments I have £48.00 per week to pay bills and feed myself. That is the true reality of the majority of people on benefits today. The lies this Government have told to popularise themselves is abhorrent.

    1. Perseus says:

      Good post. Sums up the situation for most of the people in my older age group. I see people making a pig’s ear of the jobs they are in. I could do their job. Whether I can a***-lick their equally incompetent bosses, I am not so sure.

    2. john march says:

      Well said Simone, why don.t the Daily Mail rail against the injustice you are suffering!

  57. David Henderson says:

    If you “Cap” Child Benefit at 2 children and you unfortunately have 5 who pays for the “extra” 3?

    Also was Mike Philpotts “Life style” all that good with all those kids rattling round his poor 60’s 3 bed semi, if Benefits were so good we would all be on them!!!

    I have Muscular Dystrophy and scared of what may happen the future.

  58. frankat42 says:

    With regard to the Philpott haul of benefits, there is no suggestion of fraud or that the rules were applied incorrectly. There are plenty of well paid civil servants designing these systems but the intentions of fairness will always be thwarted by the likes of the Philpotts.
    Maybe some Philpotts should be employed at the DWP.

  59. leila says:

    I fully agree with Jon Snow’s post. What Mick Philpott did was bad enough, but trying to use the deaths of six children to gain political capital? That’s repulsive. Also, the argument rests on false logic. You might as well say that the Great Train Robbery was caused by railways and money. Or that if only divorce had been easier at the time, Dr Crippen would never have killed his wife.

  60. frankat42 says:

    With regard to the Phuilpott benefit haul, there is no suggestion of fraud or maladministration of the rules.
    The clever and well paid civil servants designing fair regulations are outwitted by the Philpott types.
    Even the 26k cap results in 52k if the mistress lives next door.
    Should Philpott be employed as a consultant?

    1. Dylan says:

      Your comment is well founded, the corrupt government is trying to use this example to make people believe everyone on Benefits are doing this, which is complete rubbish. I have not been able to get my comments up, the Monitor is just a Censor, and will not allow the truth to be posted anywhere on a television or newspaper article.

  61. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    There are also cases where more chlldren means more welfare , but not for the individual , but rather for money to take out of the country and use for building businesses overseas.Unfortunately the children who the benefit was intended for still live in poverty.

    There are so many unreasonable Philpotts, as Martin comments out there. this must be a case for teaching ethics , personal responsibility and cooperation in schools.How can we live safely in this world where uncontrolled anger , low IQ’s and unfettered competition is rife?

  62. Dylan says:

    Yes this corrupt Right Wing Nazi Coalition Government want to use every incident they can to destroy the Welfare State, remove as much Benefits from as much people as they can, reduce Benefits and cancel many Benefits.
    Most of these people have paid National Insurance, Tax on salaries, if they have not paid National Insurance they have paid VAT and taxes on almost everything we buy. So the this Corrupt Right Wing Nazi Government is saying we are not going to honour our contract with the poor, disabled, elderly, unemployed, single parents, and the low paid in our Country.
    It is a disgrace that working people should need to get money from the State to top up their incomes so that they can live, this is effectively the Government subsidising Businesses, we should have a minimum wage of £12-00 per hour for everyone who is 20 years old and over, and £8-00 per hour minimum for anyone over 16 years. We will hear the government shouting that this would result in millions of people being made unemployed. They said that when Labour were going to introduce a minimum wage, and when the minimum wage came into law we did not have millions of people unemployed, unemployment actually fell.

    1. Simone Eggar says:

      I believe this Governnment are thinking about abolishing the minimum wage altogether.

  63. Dylan says:

    Yes this corrupt Right Wing Government want to use any excuse to destroy the Welfare State that is a safety net for the Poor, Disabled, Elderly, Unemployed and low paid.

  64. Dylan says:

    This government is using this one incident to try and destroy the Welfare State, but why did they not use the MPs expenses FRAUD years ago to do the same thing, to reform our Parliament, we had MPs jailed for fraud, why did we not hear the same outcry from our MPs. because it is OK for MPs, Parliament, Banks, Police, Legal Profession, Companies that are making billions of pounds of profit in the UK, but are registered overseas so do not pay any tax here.

  65. Dylan says:

    We also have comments pages in newspapers and television programmes that moderate you comment, moderation means they are going to remove any truthful and factual comment from its articles.

  66. Dylan says:

    One of the most disgraceful practices we have in the UK is that low paid working people have to have their incomes topped up by the State, this is effectively a subsidy by the state to encourage low wages, the government should have a minimum wage of £12-00 per hour for people over 21 years old, so that the State do not have to fund low pay in the UK. We will hear an outcry from the Government that this would cause millions of people to become unemployed, this was what we heard just before Labour introduced the minimum wage years ago, when this happened unemployment did not rise, it actually fell as this made people want to get a job, as they now saw that they were not treated as slaves anymore.

  67. Dylan says:

    We do not hear the State telling us that they cannot afford the massive BONUSES THE STATE OWNED BANKS ARE PAYING ITS STAFF, even with them loosing millions of pounds a year. Which other Country in the world pays a bonus for failure and massive losses, BANANA REPUBLICS DO NOT DO THAT.

  68. David Henderson says:

    Dave Cameron our so called PM says some have a “Lifestyle” on benefits I can give you fair odds these people don’t just live on JSA alone. If the PM thinks £70 or so is generous I’m a banana. Finally dole claimants are British too, taxation and benefits are the cost of democracy.

  69. Mel says:

    One thing I would like to know is: How many MP’s are claiming tax payers money to rent accommodation in London that has more than one bedroom?

  70. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Although I am doing this myself Philpott does not deserve the coverage. Why should we always attempt to be reasonable with these sorts and analyse. Stupidity and evil is that in itself.

  71. jason says:

    the tories are all vermin

  72. Simone Eggar says:

    What I do not understand is that no one seems to realise that placing people on benefits into a situation of such poverty that it makes it impossible for them to survive, something has to give. And it will be payments of the Bedroom Tax and Council Tax, which the Government has placed the sole responsibility of this on to to all councils. This will inevitably put every council in this country into debt. And that debt will be passed on to every household in this country by way of cuts to services and large Council Tax rises. So those who are now sitting comfortably, in support of this Government and morally judging those on benefits as scroungers are going to be paying the extra price in the near future. This Government is sneaky and underhand and will crow about their success of reducing the welfare bill while laughing behind everyone’s back, regarding the vast majority as being too stupid to realise the deceitful way it appears to have been achieved.

  73. dylan says:

    We can afford weapons of mass destruction to bomb Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Hague is sending money and arms to the Terrorists in Syria to kill and murder civilians, we could afford £700.000.00 for every missile in Libya, we can afford to kill people and destroy countries, but cannot afford a livable wage for the poor, disabled, elderly and the unemployed.

  74. dylan says:

    We can afford £36.000.000. in taxpayers money for the Royals, who have Property and assets throughout the world worth billions, I posted this before but the censors at Channel 4 will not allow that to be seen, censorship of the truth is what Apartheid South Africa did, Communist Russia did, Nazis Germany did, they controlled the Newspapers, Radio etc with legislation, the Television and newspapers are not supposed to be controlled by the government here, but the Television companies and newspapers will not upset the establishment by printing the truth, they censor the truth from us to see and read, pump out propaganda by the bucket load, Channel 4 used to be a channel you could rely on to tell the truth, but three years ago it started following all the other censored and propaganda channels, and now we get all this regurgitated garbage from it as well, the only place you can now get uncensored news, with no propaganda is RT Russian Television. Best News Channel available in English in the UK.

  75. virg says:

    I hope you get a chance to read the link I’ve included below and get Jan on your show. She would be a great addition to one of your debates about the problem with benefits. Jan Carvelle was a struggling single mother and has created a successful furniture company in Haverhill. She writes about the number of “fake” job applications she receives. 9 out of 10 she concludes apply for jobs to her company just so they can tell the Job Centre they’ve sent their CV out. They have no interest in actually getting a job because they don’t return emails or calls. Of course I’m only talking about people who are well and able to work, but just don’t want to.

    1. Simone Eggar says:

      Getting really sick and tired of all the insinuations that most people on benefits do not want to work. If anyone thinks that living on JSA of £71.80 per week to pay household bills, feed and clothe yourself is a life of luxury they should try it. It might be a better idea to sort the job market out and change its attitude towards the older generation of unemployed people because in truth in stinks. Unemployed people are put under huge pressure by the job centre each week to show they have applied for jobs otherwise they face the threat of having their benefit stopped. Living in such poverty and fear it is not suprising that the temptation is there to apply for jobs that are not really suitable. This country wants to stop demonising everyone on benefits and focus its attention in creating worthwhile, sustaining jobs. And would be employers should stop taking so much advantage of the amount of people unemployed and provide proper and fair jobs. It is not the fault of those on benefits this country is in a mess and the benefit bill would fall if there were a decent amount of jobs to even apply for.

  76. Dylan says:

    Remember back in the late 1980s and 1990s the amount of fake jobs and addresses of jobs vacant in the UK, a television programme about this showed none of the jobs were available, and the addresses the applications went to was just a post box address, and were forwarded on to who ever it was that was making these fake vacancies, the people that ran the building that was used as a post box would not give any details of the alleged company. This was being done in all the newspapers so that the Government could prove that the papers were full of vacancies for jobs, it was hinted that the newspapers and government were behind this scam, government paying for fictitious advert vacancies, and the Gutter Press were willing to go along with this as they were being paid by the Government and they participated in the fraud.
    You can always count on the Gutter Press to deceive the public, censor the truth, pump out government propaganda, and regurgitate the same lie over and over again.

  77. Dylan says:

    Apparently Duncan Smith can live on £71-80 JSA, So let us put him in accommodation for a year, and ask him to live on that amount for a year. Heating gas for a week in winter is about £18.00 per minimum for a one bedroom property with good house insulation, electricity £12.00 per week minimum per week, Council Tax £7.00 per week minimum, so far £37-00 of the allowance gone, your phone rental landline £3-50 per week excluding calls, television licence £3.00 per week, that is now £43.50 gone. You will have to buy newspapers to see these non-existent jobs £2-00 per day, that is now £53-50 gone so far, depending on where you live you will have to travel to a city or town to look for a job or travel to a Library and read the papers, that will most likely cost you more than buying newspapers. And now you have got the stamps for the letters you are sending to non-existent jobs, £2-00 per day, that is now £63.50 of your money gone, if you have an extra bedroom you will loose another £12-00 per week of Housing Benefit, so now you have now spent £75-50. but you have only got £71.80, what about food, and if you got an interview for one of these non-existent jobs and it was 20 miles away, how are you going to pay for the bus or train, and if you live out of town and you have no busses or trains near by, what do you do. Let Ian Duncan Smith show us, put him in a House in a Rural Area without any transport and see how he manages, how would he get to the Jobcentre every week or fortnight, he would have already have spent over his weekly allowance and has not had any food.

  78. Ian Waring says:

    474,000 signed a petition to get Iain Duncan Smith to prove what he said – that is, to survive on £53/week. However, he ignored the request. Queue the next election!

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