Frank Field MP
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To work, or claim benefit?

Keep the Cash! is an organisation that helps students to take a long hard look at where money comes from and how best to spend it.
They were in the University Academy of Birkenhead last Friday and I went along to see what the pupils made of it. I had to declare a double interest: I chair the Academy’s governors and I also suggested that Keep the Cash! might come in to the school.
The project succeeded way beyond my expectations. The pupils were divided into six households.
Of the five members of each household only one was in work, and four were on benefit
A first task for each household was to sign a tenancy agreement.  The landlord refused to negotiate on the rent or the fixed term agreement. Tenants were locked in for the usual 12 months.
The four members on JSA all to quickly realised that the payment they would get in housing benefit nowhere near covered their share of the rent. The money would have to come from their weekly benefit income which was meant to cover all other items too, food, clothing, and everything else.
I could only stay for an hour before moving off for the rest of my engagements. But I talked to each group. Every household reported on the same terms. Getting a job is crucial. Life on benefit is not for them.
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