Benefit to whom?

The welfare state isn't working

1950's Ladywood, posh cars then as now!1950's Ladywood, posh cars then as now!

After this post in which we see that Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Edgbaston wants local government, to be self financing, we have an upsurge of interest in the lives of inner city people with the Channel-4 programme, Benefits Street. Now it's a funny thing that James Turner Street, the location for the documentary, is a short walk from the Northern edge of Stuart's constituency, which would have a small number of streets in a similar state. However, Edgbaston also has huge numbers of large houses in sought after locations plus a business community. And, of course, it's from these that the money would come to make Edgbaston viable. In this respect Edgbaston is typical not only of Birmingham but most large cities too. By contrast Winson Green has little chance of being viable as it now stands. We would imagine this is why C4 selected it for their programme. In that respect it's ideal; crack that nut if you can! This general distribution of a small number of problem streets across a city means that the pressure for change like financial independence would work.

This brings us to the Department of Work and Pensions and their Universal Credit scheme.

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