Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
"I used to think benefit claimers were fraudsters...until it was my turn," caller tells James O'Brien
27 August 2020, 14:23 | Updated: 27 August 2020, 14:26
This caller told James O'Brien that he used to think there was a lot of fraud in benefits... until "it was his turn."
People on low incomes who are forced to self-isolate in high-risk areas of England will be able to claim money from the Government.
Those who test positive for coronavirus and can't work from home will receive £130 for their 10-day isolation. Other members of their household, who have to stay in for 14 days, will be entitled to £182.
Paul in Birmingham told James that he went self-employed in February and due to the pandemic he had to go on Universal Credit which "by no way was enough to survive on."
"This payment now that they're offering, it's another low payment for people that are not getting much money and it's not going to keep people at home," Paul said, sharing with James that since going on benefits himself he's lost four stone as he cannot maintain his normal diet.
Paul pointed out that people in low income areas will ignore the £13 incentive and still do things like share car journeys to work "to survive."
James said this new regulation is an example of accidental ignorance: "It's an inability to conceive of the circumstances in which people live."
Paul said that his does not believe the Government are looking closely enough at the people that really need benefits.
"Those that really need it will be the ones that we'll be ending up accusing of spreading the disease and not doing what they're supposed to be doing as they've got no choice," Paul said.
He admitted that before he went on benefits himself it may have been easy to judge those who did.
"I'd always believed that there were a lot of people claiming benefits that don't need it, and there's a lot of fraud involved, but then it came to my turn," Paul said, opening up to James that he is now on anti-depressants and feels low.
James understood that for people who are already poor, to ask to survive on even less than they already survive on is not even a choice: "They have to go to work."
James told him to hang in there and stay strong.