BBC Panorama knowingly and deliberately misled over the Benefit Cap

The BBC Panorama broadcast on the benefit cap this week was a classic example of sanitised propaganda by the BBC and is why the Tories so love the mainstream media, especially when it is prime time national television.

Here is the proof that BBC Panorama deliberately and knowing misled the British public and the licence fee payers over the overall benefit cap policy.

In late November 2016 I met and spent almost 5 hours with the producer of the BBC Panorama team in Liverpool.  The producer, Richard Cookson, took fastidious notes of what I was saying and also of the independent sources he could use to check what I had told him; such as the benefit cap meant the family working 24 hours per week would see them receive £334 per week MORE in benefits.

That fact that the in-work part-time family will get £334 per week MORE in benefits through working than being out of work, which is £17,366 MORE in benefits per year and a total amount of £40,366 in benefits per year and on top of their wage income I detail below using one of the independent sources informed the BBC Panorama producer that he could use to verify these figures which in this case are for a 2 parent 4 child family.

Yet the BBC Panorama programme CHOSE not to include the extremely pertinent fact that the in-work family gets vastly more in benefits than the out of work family at any time in this rare 60 minute prime time TV broadcast and instead they CHOSE to deliberately and knowingly deceive the British public.

Here is the knowing and deliberate deceit of the BBC Panorama programme in its broadcast this week as they CHOSE not to mention this fact (and many others) and instead chose to edit the many hours of footage they took of the 2 parent 4 child family to Steve from Knowsley saying he has to have £40 per week to spend on booze and fags.  A case of BBC playing up to the poverty porn stereotype and Tory-led scrounger narrative rather than present the facts of the overall benefit cap.

The BBC Panorama broadcast DID mention such a family would only have to work 24 hours per week to escape the reduced benefit cap yet CHOSE not to say that this household type would get MORE in benefits if they did find 24 hours work at national minimum wage.  That is a deliberate error of omission, also a deliberate error of commission, it it cleverly edited TV … and it is a deliberate and known deception which is 100% propaganda from the BBC.

I don’t know whether the producer personally edited the programme or whether someone else at the BBC did not choose to tell the British public that those in-work get far more in benefits that those out of work.  Yet the fact remains the BBC Panorama programme consciously chose not to mention this highly pertinent fact.

In case anyone believes I have invented any of the above I have attached below a redacted email dated 13 December 2016 (and still containing the typos) that I sent to a Chief Executive of a housing association in another area to see if they wanted to help out Panorama with finding tenants who were affected by the benefit cap.

The BBC Panorama team had at least four months to verify that the in-work household with 1 parent of the couple working 24 hours at minimum wage would get a massive increase in benefits which of course INCREASES the overall benefit bill.

You can check this yourself in 4 minutes never mind 4 months here and even if you know nothing at all about the benefit system: Simply put in the details of how many parents and children and know that 24 hours of minimum wage at £7.20 is £172.80 per week gross and the rent level which you can estimate or use official figures as I have done here.

Below is what the 2 parent 4 child family would receive (the same household type as Steve from Knowsley that Panorama used) in additional benefits for working 24 hours at minimum wage using the Entitledto online calculator which is one of many that can be used and for a social housing tenant in London.

Ignoring the Council Tax Support element the facts show the £667.59 per week in benefits (£674.93 less £7.34) and many will be staggered, including those working in housing, that the rent for a 3 bed so-called affordable rent property of a housing association is £341.32 per week yet this rent level comes from the official figures published by the housing regulator in the 2015/15 statistical data return.

This factual table reveals £34,714.50 per year in benefits and on top of the wage income and for a social housing tenant.

The 2 parent 4 child household with the same 24 hours of work at minimum wage in the private rented sector would get up to £776.27 per week in benefits which is £333.96 MORE in benefits per week as they can be paid up to £417 per week in housing benefit!  That is a total of over £40,000 per year in benefits on top of wages for working 24 hours per week.

BBC Panorama portrayed the overall benefit cap as a policy of out of work scroungers ripping off the British tax paper for an outrageous £20,000 or £23,000 per year in benefits when those in part-time work paying minimum wage can receive over £40,000 per year in hand outs from the government and on top of their wages!

That was why the BBC chose to have the chinless wonder of the Tax Payers Alliance on the programme; a chinless wonder who is wholly ignorant of the fact that being in low paid part-time work can see the tax payer pay out DOUBLE that amount of taxpayers money in handouts (to use his pejorative language!)

This 24 hours of work at minimum wage sees the family pay £1.91 per week in national insurance an zero in Income Tax which sees them rewarded with £333.96 per week MORE in benefits!

[I do love how pesky facts prove the chinless wonders of the Tax Payers Alliance that BBC have regularly on Question Time do not have a bloody clue what the hell they are talking about!]

What makes this even greater propaganda is that the Panorama programme did correctly mention that the two parent family has to work 24 hours between them to escape the overall benefit cap YET did not say this meant the family would get so much more in benefits if they did work 24 hours.

Panorama allowed the DWP Minister Caroline Nokes and the Tax Payers Alliance spokesman Ian Wild to say the benefit cap will save £150 million per year – and just one more reason why the omission of the increased levels of benefits those who (are able to) work minimum hours at minimum wage to escape the benefit cap will receive £40,000 per year in benefits which is £17,000 per year more than the out-of-work family that the Panorama team CHOSE to highlight.

That is overt propaganda and nothing more.  It is deliberate deceit by the BBC with this error of omission and error of commission too.  This is not ignorance of the facts as the producer of the programme knew specifically that this meant more in benefits for the in-work family as he was at pains to take very fastidious notes including the many independent sources such as Entitledto to verify them when I told him these facts during our first 4 – 5 hour meeting on the subject over 5 months ago.

I do not know whether the producer chose himself not to mention these very pertinent facts in the programme or someone else within the BBC hierarchy would not allow these facts to be broadcast.

Yet I do know with 100% certainty that the Panorama programme team was 100% aware of these facts that it CHOSE not to reveal.

The Panorama programme chose NOT to reveal many aspects of the overall benefit cap such as how much increased homelessness it would directly create and would all landlords private and social refuse new prospective tenants as they only receive an amount in housing benefit that made allocating a property too risky for all landlords, which again adds to the inevitable increase in homelessness the policy causes.

Yes I did tell Panorama that there are 385,000 or so new social housing tenancies per year in England alone and anyone fully occupying a 3 bed property would get at most £50 per week in housing benefit and statistically this meant at least 140,000 housing association and council properties per year were off limits to those on benefit!

So the irrefutable fact that those in-work and those now out-of-work who take up 16 hours (lone parent) or 24 hours (two parents) at minimum wage and thus get so much MORE in benefits and obviously INCREASE the overall amount paid out in benefits … was just one of the many known and irrefutable facts that Panorama chose NOT to broadcast

The BBC Panorama programme on the Tories overall benefit cap policy was known and deliberate propaganda and deception by the BBC.  The BBC CHOSE to deceive the British public and CHOSE to perpetuate the Tory-led scrounger narrative instead of reporting what the facts of the policy are.


11 thoughts on “BBC Panorama knowingly and deliberately misled over the Benefit Cap

  1. Typical of what we now expect from the BBC,blatant misrepresentation and government propaganda.This is why we need balanced,factual information without the right wing bias which the main stream media peddles daily.

  2. If enough people banded together and refused to renew the licence fee for BBC broadcasts, they may change their tune.

  3. No surprise, as it’s been well known for decades that the BBC is the propaganda machine and have been the mouth piece of previous governments. Margret Thatcher and Tony Blair also used the BBC to spread their verbal diarrhea.I don’t think we should pay for the licence to the BBC anyway and this as been discussed previously, but while there are those still in the firm belief that the BBC are doing a good job. Then it will seem that the BBC will always get the support it requires to continue spreading propaganda, leaving the public without any form of recourse.

  4. Poor Joe. Did you really believe that after the propagandist “Saving Syria’s Children” theatre that you would get an honest representation, rather than the propagandist claptrap the BBC delivered instead. Many Syrians are now calling out the BBC for it’s fake news and misrepresentation as are many journalists out there and you thought they would be fair because they were addressing the British Public about the rabid bigotry of right wing politicians war on it’s poorest?
    Good article, as usual.

  5. I’m so glad to find this site because I was incensed after watching and even more so by the comments on the Panorama Facebook Page (you can see those comments for yourself if you can bear to). One of the biggest and deliberate pieces of misinformation was the fact that the people get £20K in benefits in their hand. They do not. Most of the 20K goes to the landlords. They’re the ones who charge the extortionate rents. I was disgusted with Richard Bilton, reporter for the BBC. A quick google showed he is a Right Wing reporter – no surprise there – and therefore just a mouthpiece for the government and should be brought to book for his inflammatory reporting. He did Britain On The Fiddle which I didn’t watch with a name like that and had I known that and that this would be just another piece of poverty porn, I wouldn’t have given it airtime. Bilton actually suggested to a disabled woman (he glossed over that fact) who wanted to bring up her young family that it was a luxury! It is beyond outrageous. Mothers wanting to bring up their children? How very dare they? And next he will be whinging about the break up of the family. Another person who appeared on the programme, the grandmother, came on the Panorama FB thread and confirmed that they’d been filming for 5 months and was assured it’d be a true reflection but it wasn’t at all. As for that compassionless nasty ghoul who goes by the name of Caroline Nokes…she actually sounded like a programmed automaton and not a human being.

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