Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Temptation

"I can resist anything except temptation." (Oscar Wilde)

Sometimes the temptation is to scream blue murder at someone, or lie about yourself on a form or website. Do you? Have you ever done so?

When you're on benefits, the temptation to tell a lie, or exaggerate, or leave something out is real. It may get you an extra couple of pounds, or sometimes more. The amounts are small usually ten pounds at most. There are occasions when you have the chance of a days work for twenty pounds, cash in hand. Do the work and declare it, it gets taken off your benefit. Don't declare it and you can get your kid a pair of new trousers for school.

There are people out there who defraud the benefits system for everything they can get in order to have beer money for a Caribbean holiday.

The vast majority of benefit 'fraud', however, is perpetrated by people trying to make ends meet. Like the hungry apple stealer of Victorian times, we should sympathise with them and ask what we're doing wrong as a society to cause this.

Lumping the desperate in with the criminals is wrong. Lying for a few pounds is also wrong. But where does the root cause lie? With the desperate, or with those who created the situation?

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