A REPORT by a coalition of Churches has accused the Government
of peddling "myths" and manipulating data to scapegoat the poorest
families in Britain.
The report, The Lies We Tell Ourselves, challenges
ideas about poverty that, it says, are spread by the Government and
some sections of the media. About 13 million people live in poverty
in the UK.
The report, from Churches whose total membership is more than
one million, says that statistics have been manipulated by
politicians and the media to support a comfortable but dangerous
story: that the poor deserve the cuts that they are facing.
It says: "This report, produced by the Baptist Union, the Church
of Scotland, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church
is intended to lay bare some of the myths about the poor."
The Prime Minister and other senior ministers have, it says,
scapegoated the poorest 120,000 families in Britain, labelled them
as "troubled", and blamed them for a "large proportion of the
problems in society".
Researchers said that the common factor in the 120,000 families
was not criminality or addiction, but the mother's mental-health
problems, and that the figures used by the Government were
"statistically flawed and highly misleading".
Other "myths" about poverty that the report says it exposes
include the suggestion that child poverty is due to parents' not
wanting to work. In fact, researchers found, "in-work poverty is
now more common than out-of-work poverty."
Addiction to drink or drugs affects four per cent of families
claiming benefits, and benefit is at historically low levels, the
The report is being sent to every MP in the UK, and every Member
of the Scottish Parliament.