Statistics on benefits

In: Uncategorized

19 Jan 2014

Given the furore about Benefits Street, Channel 4’s fly-on-the-wall TV documentary series, it was interesting to hear the statistics on benefits cited in the BBC Radio 4’s latest More Or Less programme.

Evidently the widely reported claim that 90% of those living on Birmingham’s James Turner Street, as featured in the documentary, are on benefits was anecdotal. It was simply a quote from someone who lives on the street. When Channel 4 was pressed it said that according to its informal door-to-door survey more than half of occupied households contained at least one person of working age who was claiming benefits. Official statistics are not available at street level but the statistics for Soho ward in Birmingham, which includes James Turner Street, evidently show 27% of adults claiming working age benefit.

To be clear on the definition, working age benefits includes Disability Living Allowance, Housing Benefit and Jobseekers’ Allowance. Child Benefit and pensions, although forms of benefit, are not included under this heading.

Evidently almost 14% of Britain’s working age population is on working age benefits.

These are the latest official statistics I could find on the Department of Work and Pensions website.

PS – Some additional statistics from the Centre for Policy Studies (h/t Rob Lyons ).