Monday, June 04, 2007

Isle of the Sun Scroungers

A very unflattering view of Thanet from Nick Dorman - sounds familiar - and Jessica Boulton in yesterday's 'People" newspaper and thanks to Dave C. for passing it along to Thanet Life.

For a flavour of the sensationalist, colourful and palpably exaggerated article, from 'the so-called Sick-note-on-sea"how about:

"For the punters supping their pints in the historic bars of Margate, Kent, are no longer hard-working men and women on a well-earned seaside holiday.

They are the Benefits Boozers - the shameless dole-scroungers and sicknote cheats who flock to Margate from all over Britain to sign on by the sea."

It gets worse as you read on:

"Robert Walker, 32, who refused to give his surname, moved from Glasgow so he could scrounge thousands in benefits while living a holiday lifestyle.

He told The People: "I get £56 a week in income support, £75 housing benefit and a full discount on council tax worth £1,000 a year.

"I have signed on in Margate for nine months nowbut after a year my benefits go up.

I know people who've moved down from Middlesbrough and Sunderland too.

"Of course there are jobs around if people want them.

"There are loads of recruitment agencies for manual labourers, crop pickers, and so on but it's only the foreigners who can be bothered to do them. You are supposed to look for work but interviews are easy to get round.

"You just say you've got a bad back because doctors can't detect that and they write out a sick note."

There are hundreds of jobs up for grabs in Margate, ranging from office jobs to scores of labouring work.

But shockingly, more than 5,000 people in the town are still drawing benefits."

Ed: And herein lies the problem. Firstly negative media coverage of the kind that one might expect from a newspaper - I use that term loosely - like 'The People' and secondly, we can talk until the cows come home about the economic regeneration of Thanet but stories like this one are very unlikely to encourage a positive investment climate. While there is a some truth in the story, just walk into Cecil Square this morning to see it, the content illustrates how, in a relatively short period of time, we have become a dumping ground for everyone else's problems and feckless undesirables from as near as London and as far away as Glasgow.

Meanwhile, in a nice editorial touch we have the tale of 'Bearded Bob':

"In the historic Doggett Coat and Badge pub several customers admitted fiddling the system.

Bearded Bob Ward boasted how he claims benefits but earns £250 a day on top from his three jobs.

He moved to Margate from London and claims incapacity benefit, housing benefit and a carer's allowance totalling £10,000 a year."


James Maskell said...

Articles like this appear every so often. Remember that article in the Guardian a while back, which slapped down Thanet despite being wildly inaccurate in some of its claims? Most of the people writing these articles dont know what they are talking about...

Anonymous said...

now that mr bob ward has given his name and boasted to to national paper i hope all the right departments look into his claims on how he fiddles and also surely the people should have worked with all departments so all these people giving interviews could of been investigated there and then.

Anonymous said...

Does this not prove there is something wrong with a system that allows these people to get away with it? Surely anyone turning up in Margate from outside the Thanet area and claiming benefit immediately should raise alarm bells and be thoroughly investigated before any payment is made now that the scam is obvious.
Is there any check made on how long a claimant has been living in the area before claims are dealt with?
With regard to the bloke who boasts about claiming Disability Living Allowance because of "back problems" and working full time -
the only way of catching these people out would be to put a tail on every one who has back problems on a random basis - not an easy task and unpleasant for the genuine sufferers but at least it might make these cheats think twice if several of them are caught. Eileen Cunnew

James Maskell said...

During campaigning I came across a number of people who have said that their DLA is being cut...its amazing to hear of someone able to get it!

Tony Beachcomber said...

I take this article with a pinch of salt, once again national media has grossly exagerrated a story to make us Thanet people feel bad about the area we live in.
Dole cheats and scroungers have been with us for a long time and they are a small minority. It is like most things if you look hard enough you find the results you need.
The majority of people in Thanet want decent jobs, decent housing and a peaceful life.
I cannot imagine for one minute why people would opt for scrounging , fiddling and prefer to spend their time in a pub at midday drinking with a bunch of loosers.
Anyway when the authorities catch up with those guys in the article we can all have a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

The trouble is - the authorities don't catch up with these people and when they do, the fines are pathetic or they are let off. Thanet has always been full of uneducated wasters and dole scroungers who don't want to work - face the facts. There's a lack of opportunity down there and for many outside people the "Dole on Sea" is an attraction. I moved away from Thanet in 98 and cringe when I come back at the decaying state of the place, Margate especially. Thanet never recognises the potential in the coastline, the airport, or nearness to Europe. When anything starts to do well it fails - eg Margate FC, the airport again - due to a lack of serious investment or incorrect policy.
I say this with a heavy heart because it is my home but Thanet needs a kick up the arse to wake it up - and it could start by losing, or at least trying to lose the dole on sea fraternity and tidying up the run down doss house streets in Cliftonville. The losers and criminals are having it too easy down there at the taxpayers expense.

tony flaig bignews said...

Had you taken a gander at Bignews Margate yesterday, you would have seen a fairly comprehensive critic of this report at around 10pm. Any how this is seems likely to be hugely exaggerated nonsense.

Anonymous said...

mmmmm, Nick Dorman,,ex IOT reporter and slightly to the right of most of Thanet lifes readers, no loss to journalism in Thanet at all, but the whole point is being missed here and that is that what was written by an ex local journalist is typical of the negative attitude adopted by so many of our local hacks, from any story there are always two sides and sadly they always home in on the negative rather than any positive. All the time that particular attitude prevails Thanet will never drag itself out of the hole we are in without the wholehearted support of the local media. The papers rarely, if ever have anything supportive or positive to say regarding the Council, no matter who is in control and this has been the case for years now. In my veiw one of the prime purposes of any local media is to support both their Community and Local Authority.

Cllr Mike Harrison.

DrMoores said...

Obviously you beat me to it Tony!
Well done!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the scroungers say to qualify for incapacity benefit and DLA. My own experience of both these benefits is that neither is obtainable unless you are at death's door. Having the lung capacity of a 97 year old, and only one functioning lung, I was told that I did not qualify for either benefit despite struggling to work everyday. I have never claimed anything before and the one time I try to, I am penialised because I make the effort to keep going ! Perhaps I should hang out where these low lifes are and get some pointers ! I'm obviously doing something wrong though I am proud on the one hand to say I earn my money and work as hard as my disability allows ! Have these people got no shame ?

tony flaig bignews said...

Sorry I could not help myself its a rare event!