The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that 20% of the population in West Belfast are claiming DLA: 18,760 of the area’s 94,200 population. North Belfast had a rate of 15.6% and West Tyrone was on 15%. The average in England is 5% but even North Down is on 7.6%.
Newton Emerson had a good column in the Irish News this week were he pointed out that the Troubles only account for a small number of claimants. Our own Salmon of Data also did a report on the DLA figures. A quote from Salmon’s post:
A report in The Detail found that Northern Ireland consumes more than two and a half times as many antidepressants as similarly wealthy levels in England. Most shocking of all is the suicide rate in Northern Ireland, which is 63% higher than the rate in Britain. Between 1995 and 2013, 4,018 people took their own lives in Northern Ireland, higher than the number of deaths in the Troubles.
So really it is no surprise that our DLA rate is so high. Most of the violence of the Troubles took place in North and West Belfast so equally it is no surprise that the rates are high here.
What we also know is many claimants are spurious at best. I am from a working class area of Belfast and there is no shortage of people who never worked a day in their lives yet drive around in a brand new car. I took my car in for a service this week and the guy in the showroom was explaining that with a one of payment of £500 a person getting DLA gets a free car for 3 years under the Motability Scheme. Not just any old car but top of the range models like a VW Golf, VW Passat, Kia Sportage etc.
Even more bizarre they give DLA to alcoholics. The government literally pays you to drink yourself to death. How can that be right??
It must be very galling for the working poor. People who go out and work for a minimum wage while their neighbours gets to sit around watching Judge Judy before taking their new Hyundai ix35 for a spin.
On the other side of the argument the rich in the UK avoid paying an estimated £120 billion of tax a year. When the poor get a few extra grand a year by faking back ache they are immoral scroungers. When the rich avoid their taxes they are considered financial whiz-kids and get a bonus. We don’t have any control of benefits so really should we care that some people are milking the system for all it is worth? Don’t hate the player hate the game…
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.