‘Benefits Street’ will never truly represent those on benefits

Our friends at the Who Benefits? campaign have given their response to the first episode of the second series of Benefits Street, which aired on Monday evening,. Here’s the statement from Tom Pollard at Who Benefits?:

We are pleased this series has more focus on the reasons behind why people rely on support from benefits, for example because they are living with an illness or disability, or caring for loved ones.

But by using the title Benefits Street, Channel 4 continues to create the misleading impression that this is a series that presents a realistic portrayal of the lives of people supported by benefits or issues that affect only those on benefits. This is not the case.

By focusing on a small number of provocative and extreme stories, Benefits Street ignores reality for the vast majority of people supported by benefits, who like many of us at some point in our lives; just need a little extra help to make ends meet.

The reality is that hundreds of thousands of people face discrimination and even verbal and physical abuse simply because they are supported by benefits and by reviving the controversial Benefits Street format, Channel 4 is contributing to this discrimination.”

Read positive stories of support and share your story of benefits herebit.ly/RealityStreet

(You can also see our analysis of the reaction to the episode, and some press reviews.)