Infographics: Here to Stay?

“Teach the Boys & Girls nothing but Facts.

infographic from ONS 2012 showing the facts on children per familyFacts alone are wanted in life.”

Charles Dickens opening lines to Hard Times.

In 2014 Infographics were everywhere.

They appeared to herald a paradigm shift to design led, fact-based web content.

However, the skill and time required means they may become passing fad.

So let’s appreciate them with this early, slightly primitive example. From 2013, for the Office of National Statistics, it shows children per household is actually going down.

A Reliable Source

The ONS is a great free resource. Available to everyone to record what is actually going on in the UK. It also shows 9 out of 10 families with 3 or more children are working.

And finally, the average number of children in lone parent households is not 11, but 1.59, compared to 1.8 children for married couples. The ONS infographic could have also showed that the number of teenage pregnancies fell to it’s lowest level since 1969!

Facts Don’t Sell Papers

Of course, facts aren’t as emotive as opinion. Finding real facts takes effort, so few do. This makes it easy to demonize vulnerable groups such as the unemployed or disabled. So, where is most of the welfare budget being spent?

The Truth about Welfare

Over 50% is spent on pensioners and this is only set to continue to rise. This demographic is most likely to vote, so this is not likely to make the news.

What else? 20% goes in housing benefit, mostly to the ‘working poor’. Some suggest this is due to greedy landlords charging high rents. However, average yield of a landlord is 5%, so that’s not the issue.

So What’s Happening?

Decades of reduced house building has led to the average house price being 8-10 times the average salary. This compares to 3-4 times in previous decades.

Rents need to cover mortgage repayments. So, earnings needs to be topped up, with housing benefit. To return to previous levels, the average house price should be £88,000!

The last major proportion of the budget, 15%, is spent on child benefit and tax credits. As stated, the number of out of work families within this group makes up a small minority of claimants.

Scape-goating the Vulnerable

One of the more disturbing tabloid targets is to demonize the disabled. 8% is spent on disability allowance.

There has been many stories highlighting fraudulent claims on disability allowance. This has led to increases in both verbal and phsyical attacks on disabled people. However, benefit fraud only accounts for 0.7% of the budget.

This makes up the majority of the welfare budget.

Who Else?

Finally, one of the smallest groups of welfare benefit claimants, 3%, is those on job seekers allowance.

These facts show the scale of the problem. Unless we have a major national house building scheme, house prices need to fall dramatically or average wages need to triple.

Sources: ONS. Red Pepper.

2017-04-25T22:27:24+00:00 Aug 10, 2014|Fad or Innovation?|