The DWP published a press release yesterday, reinforcing the status of benefit claimants as primarily suspected criminals. Titled Cheats warned of benefit fraud blitz, it describes how claimants who live in "high risk postcodes" will be scrutinised, "regardless of age, gender, ethnic make-up, type of benefit recipient, income, disability breakdown or family status".
The lucky claimants in Birmingham's B44 postcode, the Perry Barr and Kingstanding area, will be the first to receive the Mobile Regional Taskforce. Yet again, benefit claimants are automatically under suspicion, simply because they are unlucky enough to have to rely on government money, and now because they live in certain postcode areas.
It does not explain what makes a particular postcode 'high risk', but I would imagine they are made up of areas which are more deprived, with higher numbers of people already living in poverty. So, the more likely you are to need government support, the more under suspicion you are?
Benefit claimants are not criminals! While finding people who are committing fraud on a huge scale is clearly important, this move just reinforces the propaganda coming freely from the government and certain parts of the media that we are all ripping off 'the taxpayer' and need hunting down and prosecuting. It increases people's anger at us, and our fear at our situation, over which we have no control.
(Cross-posted at incurable hippie blog).