Andrew Castle is Leading Britain's Conversation.
15 March 2017, 11:31
James O'Brien Gets Personal As He Talks Benefits
James O'Brien's very personal response to the demonisation of the unemployed.
James says the Tories have been on a mission to stigmatise benefits since 2010. So he shares a story about his own father's visits to the job centre.
Reacting to the new figures that show Britain's unemployment rate has fallen - but that wage growth has slowed - James was moved to share his own story about benefits.
"They have so successfully demonised unemployment," said James of the Tory government. "How many people when you hear them ringing me up say: I've never claimed any benefits.
"As if it's shameful to claim benefits.
"When my dad, my late father, was made redundant by the Daily Telegraph, the first place he went after the pub was...the job centre.
"I said: 'Dad, what are you doing?'
"I didn't like the idea of my dad being in the job centre. He said 'Son, I've paid taxes all my working life. I've paid taxes since I was 15 years old. Not only am I going to get every penny I'm entitled to, I'm also going to ask these people what I do now. I want help.'"
James then repeated the claim of so many callers to him that they've never claimed benefits. "I don't care! You are entitled to them. If you are unemployed and you're not claiming every penny you're entitled to, you're daft."