BBC weaves its tangled web over the Benefit Cap

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive is clearly the BBC Panorama intention tonight when it reports its very narrow distorted view (i.e. not a panorama at all!) over the swingeing reductions in the Tories overall benefit cap policy.


The BBC website here which is promoting this programme as news and investigative news is only promoting fake news and is promoting a chronic distortion of the reality of the policy especially who it affects.

Figure 1 – The Panorama Deception and Fake News

Oh dear! Just how wrong and just how much of a deception and distortion is the above pie chart which the BBC has issued on its website?  Let’s take a look:

Firstly the title of this “What a family of six …..

The amount of ‘benefit’ (base social security benefit, child benefit, child tax credits and housing benefit) differs for a lone parent with 5 children (a family of six) to that of a couple with four children who are also a family of six!

Secondly, which is perhaps the greatest (and deliberate BBC?) deception of all as the illustration uses “Job Seekers Allowance” which is only received by 13% of all families who are hit by the overall benefit cap as the official figures issued by the DWP reveal.

Figure 2 – Tab 6 of the Official Benefit Cap data from DWP

As you can see just 13.29% of families who are benefit-capped receive Job Seekers Allowance yet the BBC chose to use this benefit to give the hugely deceitful view that families who are benefit-capped are on the dole (JSA) and thus ready and able to work by virtue of receiving the dole.

Far more benefit-capped families receive the incapacity benefit ESA than receive the dole and by virtue of this they are unable to work due to the incapacities they have (and have been rigorously assessed as being incapacitated too!)

This ESA cohort are those in the work-related activity group or WRAG and the rationale for this is they are expected to work in up to two years and if they receive support.  Yet as I pointed out a few days ago in a post entitled “BBC complicit in Tory propaganda over ESA cuts”  no such support exists, it is a chimera and ethereal concept that exists only in the minds of government.

NB that while this ESA cohort attempt for two years to be ready and able for work that they will be hit with the swingeing cuts to the overall benefit cap policy that largely apply just to housing benefit (HB and LHA) and so they will be long evicted and homeless before they can actually find and take up this work!

Directly under the deliberately deceitful pie chart (Figure 1) above the BBC website has the government response which is the usual political sophistry:

Welfare delivery minister Caroline Nokes said: “What we sought to do was incentivise work because we know that the outcomes for children will be better if they are in families that are working.

Given that just 13% of those who are benefit-capped and thus ready and able to work as the official FACTS demonstrate, this quote and its use and positioning by the BBC is deliberate bias and deception.  It attempts to say that families are only benefit-capped because they won’t get off their lazy backsides and get a job when even if every single recipient of JSA was this stereotypical scrounger that the government choose to portray then 87% of those benefit-capped do not conform to this scrounger narrative … that the BBC love to infer too!

The majority of benefit-capped families are lone parents at over 52% of all cases with preschool age children which is why they receive Income Support.  These families are hit with the £500 per calendar month cuts to the benefit cap the Tories implemented for the 87% of the country who live outside of London – and yes that means a Mother of a day old baby is hit by this cut and is expected to go out to work to avoid the massive cut to housing benefit and at severe risk of losing the roof over her head and that of the day old baby!

This benefit-capped cohort is both the unable to work cohort who need child care provision and the not expected to work cohort because of the preschool age children.  Unable to work here largely means child care provision which is scarce generally and non-existent outside of Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm when most of the zero hours contracts and other typically similar employment is available.

Zero hours contracts which is working at the demand of the employer and often with little notice doesn’t sit at all with the availability of child care – a point that is acutely relevant for the MAJORITY of all benefit-capped families yet the BBC website chooses to wholly ignore the realities of this policy and who the benefit cap affects  and instead promotes that all benefit-capped families are poverty porn TV stereotypes much to the glee of the Goebbelsian Conservative Party!

I will leave it there for now yet rest assured I will pick up every distorted nuance of this BBC Panorama programme and come back with the likely many more deliberate politicised distortions, deceits and fake news that it contains which the BBC website piece above seeks deliberately and knowingly to distort beyond any semblance of reality in order to appease its huge Tory bias.

What a tangled web you actually do weave BBC as its abundantly clear you are deliberately and knowingly practising to deceive!

UPDATE – and just how much the BBC and Tories deceive!

The BBC chart they used on their website at Figure 1 above is for a couple with 4 children and the BBC tells us they get just 50 pence per week in Housing Benefit

Now what would happen to the amount of ‘benefit’ if this two parent four child couple did what the government wanted to escape the overall benefit cap and one parent got a 30 hour per week job paying the minimum wage?

Here is the equivalent pie chart of that for the two parent 4 child couple living in London with a private rent of £360 per week – and they will receive a total of £34,368.72 in ‘benefit’ which is over £11,000 per year more in benefit than if they were not working and hit by the £23,000 benefit cap in London.

So for this family doing what the Tories want and incentivise in the words of Caroline Nokes above they will receive £11,368.72 more per year in benefit and £218.63 more in benefit per week.

This household will pay a whopping £7.07 per week in National Insurance and £0.00 per week in Income Tax and the additional £218.63 per week they receive in benefit adds to the additional net wage income of £208.93 per week.

The London private rented tenant

The Regions and in Housing Association 3 bed

Here is the same pie chart for the 2 parent 4 child household living in the regions in a 3 bed housing association property paying the national average affordable rent of £138 per week (and one parent working 30 hours at minimum wage)

This 2 parent 4 child family in the regions will get £22,824.92 per year in benefit which is £2,824.92 MORE in benefit per year – £54.33 per week more in benefit – and they too will pay just £7.07 per week in National Insurance and pay zero in Income Tax and have the £208.93 per week of net wages to add to this.

These pie charts explain that the family IN WORK receive vastly more in benefit than the out of work family the government and the BBC are so keen to blame and chastise.

That is the scale of the BBC and Tory deception – Go Figure!!!


Notes:  The above figures use the Entitledto online calculator and use £7.20 as the minimum wage as tax credits are based on the previous financial years wages (2016/17) when the minimum wage of £7.20 per hour applied.  Each case assumes no child care costs.  The exact same results occur when using any other calculator.

In short …


And for completeness here is another crude graphic comparing the BBC propagandist bullshit to the 2 parent 4 child family living in London in the private rented sector – revealing the staggering amount of over £11,000 per year MORE in benefit if one parent works 30 hours per week at minimum wage than if neither parent work (assuming they are capable of work)

Anyone think it is time for those pesky and extremely inconvenient FACTS to change the fake new, blatant propagandist bullshit the Tory government are saying and use the BBC as its partner in crime for this?

16 thoughts on “BBC weaves its tangled web over the Benefit Cap

  1. The benefit stuff would be interesting if you offered up an analysis of what teh BBC has said, not what you would have said. I do not doubt that only 13.29% of those on Job Seekers are subject to the cap. I don’t think that means that the worked example is wrong, its just not the one that you would have chosen. These are not the same things

    But I confess my bigger worry is your constant attacks on the BBC. Not agreeing with something doesn’t make it biased or part of a conspiracy. It just means you don’t agree. You may not like much of what you read and see there but the BBC is what is saving us from Fox News. You may not intend to (who knows) but when you attack the BBC like this you do the work of the Murdoch Press.

    You want to make helping RM your life’s work go ahead, me, I don’t want to be part of it.

    1. The worked example is distorted and knowingly distorted. The BBC CHOSE to use the example it did. I also know the BBC Panorama team have been working on this for over 4 months and that they know how the benefit cap policy works and what it means. The reason I know that is that I met and spoke with them for over 4 hours explaining what the policy means and how it works.

      Your comments are very assumptive and wrong and the fact the blog details the FACTS that the family IN WORK receives far more in ‘benefit’ if they do is the exact opposite of what the BBC is saying by using the minority Job Seekers Allowance example, which they know to be not representative. This is a deliberate distortion and known one QED

  2. think you need to re-read this article tony cain. I’m worried that your only concern is an attack on the BBC for not portraying the truth. So you don’t care about people struggling just whether RM obtains more companies.

  3. Well what is the truth, I know who I believe, this government neither knows nor cares what happens to the man in the street, all it cares about is getting claps in parliament by saying something clever. History is repeating itself again, the government in 1936 were doing exactly the same thing cheering each other and disarming while Germany was rebuilding and rearming. Half of Europe had been captured before our parliament had woken up. Meanwhile the public is fed false news by all the media telling us that everything in the garden is rosy but no more money for the disabled or the NHS but suddenly a Billion for refugee`s although promising to cut overseas aid in their manifesto. Our own children relying on charity food or going hungry as long as it looks good in the press and pleases the Arabs so that they will buy more weapons to kill or make more refugee`s of their opposition.

  4. I would also like to highlight the anomaly of the family with a disabled member being worse of by much more than a family without disability benefits!

    1. Yes and No. The disabled household has much higher costs of living than the ‘non-disabled’ household and many studies show this with Scope from memory issuing a very comprehensive report a few years ago which put this added cost of living at 36%.

      However, in the overall benefit cap, the disabled household in receipt of DLA or PIP or ESA and in support group are exempt. So the non-disabled household (that perversely here includes those on ESA and in the WRAG) will be worse off as they will be hit by the benefit cap cut to HB which can average £76 per week.

      So while in the vast majority of cases the disabled household is worse off than the non-disabled one, in the case of the overall benefit cap they are not!

      If that doesn’t explain just how perverse this OBC policy is then nothing does.

      PS – Please excuse the terminology here of ‘disabled’ and ‘non-disabled’

  5. Please include the reason the tories do this: housing benefit was created to filter ever more tax payer cash into private landlord pockets (and you guessed it, many MPs/Lords/influencers are landlords). Go figure

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