Infographics. A game changer?
“Teach the boys & girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.”
Those are the opening lines to Charles Dickens’ Hard Times.
This year’s rise in infographics heralds a paradigm shift to design led, fact-based web content.
For example the one here from the Office of National Statistics shows the number of children per household is actually going down.
The ONS is a great free resource, available to everyone to discover what is actually going on in the UK. It also shows that 9 out of 10 families with 3 or more children are working.
And finally, the average number of children in lone parent households is in fact, not 11, but actually 1.59, compared to 1.8 children for married couples.
Facts don’t Sell Papers
Of course, these facts don’t make headlines. Nor does the ONS stat from 2012, showing the number of teenage pregnancies fell to it’s lowest level since 1969!
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. Especially in London, this may be true, however, the average yield of a landlord is 5%.
The Real Crime
So what’s happening? Decades of reduced house building has led to the average house price being 8-10 times the average salary.
Rents need to cover mortgage repayments. To do this, 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.
Finally, one of the smallest groups of welfare benefit claimants, 3%, is those on job seekers allowance.
However, if you were to guess how the welfare budget was spent, based on the number of column inches or radio/TV broadcast air time, you may get it wrong!
Sources: ONS. Red Pepper.