benefits reform

Benefits claimants are not some woman with seven kids pushing a pram while smoking a fag. Benefits claimants are not toothless young men sat in their pants playing Grand Theft Auto. They look like me, they look like your dad, they look like your nan.
So in the interest of setting the record straight, I've picked out my top seven tall Tory tales (there are many more than seven, but as space is limited I've kept myself to the worst offenders) and put them together with the actual facts. Without a willing handmaiden in the Murdoch press empire to help me, I'm relying on you to spread the word...
It's time politicians of all parties commit to being accurate and respectful when talking about benefits and those supported by them. It's vital they do more to understand the real lives and challenges people face by refusing to promote harmful stereotypes.
This week, in his budget speech, the UK Chancellor will refer to the usual need to reduce expenditure on social welfare and the deficit on public finances. One thing he won't talk about is the amounts spent on corporate welfare and how that is contributing to austerity, income and wealth inequalities, and deteriorating public finances.
What is clear is that the current system is not working, which is why the Government is right to look at changes across the board to restrict 'benefit tourism'. The British public are asking how it can be fair that a non-British EU national can take advantage of the UK's generous welfare system despite never having contributed in return and so this Government is taking action to address these concerns.
Public belief is at times widely disparate from reality. An Ipsos Mori poll showed this some months back by asking people to answer a selection of questions. The results showed a large gap between what the public thinks is true and what is true.
The biggest challenge facing most European governments is how to put their countries' finances back on an even keel. In Britain, so much of our government budget goes on welfare that clawing the country out of debt will inevitably involve cutting back more of the welfare state while continuing to protect those most in need.
I say it is time to end the illusion of solidarity of disabled people and let us be the unique and wonderful individuals we are, who can all work in our own ways, rather than being chained together wallowing in the doom and gloom of self-segregation.
If claimants can walk more than just 20metres (as opposed to the previous 50metres under DLA) - about the length of two buses, even using aids like sticks - they will no longer qualify for the highest rate of the benefit. It's a cruel twist in that achieving your end goal actually leaves you with nothing.
The father of a 30-year-old man who took his own life has said his ill son's battle to get benefits may have led to his death