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Manufacturing stereotypes of benefit claimants - House of Commons

Event information

START DATE 2 December 2014
START TIME 06:30pm

Committee Room 16, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

END DATE 2 December 2014
END TIME 08:00pm

'Manufacturing stereotypes of benefit claimants: the role of the media and political leaders'

With the unemployment rate at 5.9 per cent and the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) falling by 20,400 to 931,700 in the three months to October 2014, the Coalition government claims that welfare reform - intensification of work search activities, tougher benefit sanctions and benefit caps - helps people get into paid work. Focusing on benefit sanctions for jobseekers, the ESRC report entitled 'The erosion of rights to social assistance in 21st century Britain' shows that the current debate on benefit sanctions is, for the most part, a political smokescreen. The purpose of welfare reform is to send a strong message to claimants: "Be aware that there is no longer an automatic entitlement to state support."

Critics say the Coalition government is engaging in a PR war against poor people. Political leaders and the media are not simply followers of public opinion - they play a key role in shaping the public perception of benefit claimants and the fairness of the welfare state. 

Leading figures from different sides of the political spectrum and the media will share their experiences of how storytelling on welfare has evolved. This important and timely event will help foster an honest and passionate debate regarding narratives on benefit claimants in the run up to the general election. 

The panellists are:

Baroness Ruth Lister, Joint Committee on Human Rights

Polly Toynbee, Guardian

Tom Giles, BBC

Steve Baker, MP

John Redwood, MP

Dr Anne Daguerre, Middlesex University 

Claire Fox, Institute of Ideas (Chair)

To book your free tickets, click here

Please bring a printed copy of your invitation to the event as these will form part of the security procedures. You may be asked to show proof of identity. Please arrive via the Cromwell Green entrance. Please refer to and for further on how to get to the event.

Please note, no refreshments will be available.

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