Can abnormal behaviour affect the welfare policy debate?
Is there a case for regarding Mick Philpott’s behaviour as in some way, normal enough, common enough, to dictate welfare policy?
In my reporting experience, what he did was wildly aberrant, abnormal, horrific, and indicative of very little beyond the need to spot, and respond, to so dangerous an individual at a much earlier stage in their development.
Some six months ago the excellent Channel Four News fact-checker Patrick Worrall came up with the statistic that there are thirty families in the whole of the UK with eleven children, who like Philpott, have claimed child benefit.
See this link to see the figures – the vast majority of claimants have just one (over 600,000), or two (400,000), children. The idea that an entire system should be re-jigged to cope with a lunatic who burnt to death half the children he’d fathered seems questionable at the least.
It is unfortunate for both the proposed welfare reforms, and claimants themselves, that they should have become ensnared by something that almost certainly revolts them as much as it does the policy makers themselves.
All I can do to assist, is to commend our Mr Worrall’s researches. They render the true state of affairs with enviable clarity.
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