Revealed – 51% of people in the UK do not believe that benefits in the UK are too generous 

  refurnish-Shop front

A social security disability law consists of the rules used to decide who will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and how much money they will receive. Research reveals that 51% of people do not believe that benefits available in the UK are too generous despite what the media and government portray. Additionally many people feel the impact of the tax and welfare reforms, put in place by the Conservative government were effecting families the most, followed closely by people with disabilities. 

To find out how people feel about the level of benefits people receive and what is available in the UK surveyed 2158 UK adults aged over 18, asking: “Do you believe the current benefit system in the UK is too generous?” Over 51% said, no it was not too generous, whilst 31% said yes it was and 18% said it depends on the circumstances.

WEEE 1They also found that 54% of 18-44 year olds did not think that benefits were too generous, compared to 60% of those aged over 45 who thought that benefits were..

Additionally My Voucher Codes wanted to look at how people in the UK view the changes the Government are making to benefits, they asked: “Which of the government welfare changes, do you feel will affect people in the UK the most?” Respondents were able to choose from the 5 key changes the government were making, the majority (29%) chose cuts to child tax credits, whilst (24%) felt that disability benefit changes would have a big impact in the lives of disabled people living in the UK.

The full breakdown of results:

  1. Reducing the welfare cap – 18%
  2. Abolishing child poverty targets – 14%
  3. Cuts to child tax credit – 29%
  4. Disability benefit changes – 24%
  5. Cutting housing assistance for young people – 15%

Speaking on the findings Mark Pearson from My Voucher Codes said: “We know times are hard for many people, especially young adults, families and those with disabilities, the recent cuts and changes to the benefits system by the Government have seen thousands of people hit hard. Charities have also seen increases in people coming to them for assistance at times when the state is unable to, due to cuts and sanctions.” He added: “Many people are frustrated with people who cheat the system, rather than those who have a need to claim, to just survive. However the picture about the number of fraudulent claims made, is significantly different to the one painted by the government and the media. There are not as many fraudulent claims as we are led to believe, so if changes continue in this manner we are at risk of only making life harder for honest claimants who need our help. ”

Helen2015To find out more about how government cuts have affected people living in the UK, My Voucher Codes spoke to Helen Middleton,Head of Strategic Business Development at The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), which is an umbrella organisation for over 300 reuse charities across the United Kingdom. These charities have been working together for over 25 years, with the aim of alleviating material poverty by intercepting reusable ‘waste’ furniture and electrical items before they hit landfill, and passing on to low income households and those facing emergency situations (such as families fleeing domestic violence).

Have recent government changes in the amount of benefits paid and assistance given seen an increase in people coming to your charity for support?

Yes and I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it. Speaking to our members they have all seen an increase in the number of people coming to them for help. Currently the network helps around 950,000 people each year on average, yet now our members are being asked for help from an additional 300,000 people each year.

refurnish-curtain polesAlso donations of furniture are down. People seem to be waiting longer before replacing items, and with the popularity of sites such as Gumtree and EBay people are now selling their items cheaply to make a profit rather than donating them.

However, it is not all negative. We have started partnerships with John Lewis, Ikea and other retailers where they donate their re-usable `waste’ furniture to our charities. This helps the environment; it helps those in need too.

Which of the government’s recent welfare changes have you seen had a negative impact on people’s lives?

Where to start. There’s the bedroom tax, the roll out of Universal Credit and the cap on housing benefit.

Many people won’t be aware that the Local Welfare Assistance Fund (which historically had the generic title of the `Social Fund’) will disappear in 2016. Losing this removes the final safety net for those in need and if this goes people will be left with no option but to look for help elsewhere, which will include pay day sites, loan sharks and high interest retail stores. This will force many into even greater cycles of debt and poverty.

Do you believe that the government needs to do a full assessment on the impact their cuts have had on disabled people, families and young adults before they impose further cuts and restrictions?

Yes we do.

A reduction in state support on welfare will lead to an increase in other problems such as crime, physical and mental health problems, anti-social behaviour.

Charities often feel like they are being treated with contempt by government. Yet the Government then expect the charities to be there to pick up the pieces. The new lobbying laws are particularly worrying. Brought in with the aim to make things more open and honest, at the moment the only achievement seems to be stopping charities from campaigning.

The Furniture Re-use Network help people from all walks of life. People who have nothing, literally an empty room and they need a bed, a cooker, plates, knives, bedding and others who have items but can’t afford to have those items replaced. The charities that they are involved with support domestic violence refuges, young people leaving care for the first time,  the homeless, ex-offenders, people leaving the armed forces, people on benefits, asylum seekers and currently the biggest ‘group’ the working poor and their remit is growing with many of these charities now working alongside their local food banks.

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