25 February 2013


I am grateful for the debate taking place on our Facebook page about large families. Particularly the contribution of John Dutton. (shown below) He inspired me to respond to an article in yesterday's Sunday Times, which I have now posted on our website at Sunday Times 24th February 2013

It is a classic example of the strident right wing propaganda favoured by the current Ministers at the DWP. They have lost all sense of proportion and avoid key facts published by their own department, which contradict their shameful denigration of their poorest fellow citizens.

I have sent the following letter to the Sunday Times this morning.

Minette Marrin's attack ("Old woman living in a shoe? 24 February") on the mother of eleven children who are being housed in Tewkesbury needs some qualification. Its a case of "crying wolf".

There are very few large families claiming benefits. Those who are will be hit very hard by the £500 overall cap on benefits from April. They will become hungry and cold, in debt and evicted; then placed by local authorities in overcrowded, more expensive for the taxpayer, temporary accommodation anywhere in the UK, so damaging the health of the families and the education of the children.

They take up a very small proportion of the taxpayers benefit bill. There were 2.55 million children living in 1.35 million out of work benefit households in May 2011, an average of 1.9 children children in each household.  The DWP reports only 190 households had 10 or more children. They did not bring the economy to its knees.

Rev Paul Nicolson, Taxpayers Against Poverty.


John Dutton wrote,

Heather Rice; you, and others, really shouldn't blindly accept what the right-wing tabloids and broadsheets say! Research the facts first. Those papers distort or omit facts all the time. Better to read papers you can trust, eg:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/18/tewkesbury-council-housing-eleven-children , and:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/19/mother-11-mansion-media-families-benefits .

The land and, far from a mansion, house is owned by a local housing association and is being built as part of its, and the council's, (parliamentary) legal obligation and commitment to provide affordable housing.

You also need to look at the political agendas and actions of the organisations involved, ie The Taxpayers Alliance, which is right-wing and donates to the Tory Party.

Also, The Daily Mail, The Sun, Express, Star - whose press and tv holding company owners are tax exiles and have avoided £billions in taxes over the years. Are they not the real spongers and scroungers?

Furthermore, are you aware that employers and private landlords, normally Tory supporters, are the UK's biggest recipients of social security benefits? In that they pay low, less than living wages and charge exorbitant rents, so that their employees and tenants have no choice but to claim benefits like tax credits, housing benefit etc, to which they are legally entitled, of course!

Heather, you and other, so ignorant, uneducated folk, really need to make yourselves aware of the facts and the truth and not succumb to the kind of mob-hysteria that our vile, self-interested, hypocritical, mainstream media deliberately encourages! Shame on you all!