How the Mail misrepresented cancer survivor as ‘scrounger’

But many of the key claims don’t stand up and I have unpicked them here.

This new house is taxpayer funded “We’d probably be even happier – and perhaps a little humbled – if it was being specifically built for us and paid for by the taxpayer.”

Not true. The council are not responsible for any new building work. Tewkesbury council sold a plot of land in Northway Lane to Severn Vale Housing at an estimated price of £210,000. This information is only revealed in the 20th paragraph.

Severn Vale Housing offer social housing in the area and will most likely foot the bill for the cost of the build. In their contract, they will build up to 12 more properties for those on low incomes. As stated in their proposal the project is not for the benefit of the Frost family exclusively.

The proposals also include a 6 bedroom family home and a four-bedroom bungalow at the request of Tewkesbury Borough Housing Officers as these will help meet the identified housing needs of large families and families with disabled members respectively.

Quoting the Tax Payers’ Alliance weakens your argument

Their campaign manager, Robert Oxley, stated: “It’s scandalous that so much time and money is being spent on one custom built mansion. Many people can’t afford to buy their own home, but have to opt for what their budget allows.”

Are they aware this is a social housing project? There is no evidence to suggest the Frost’s will have ownership of the property. Any housing benefit they receive will go into the pockets of Severn Vale. It is a stretch to call this proposed property a mansion.

Ms Frost’s story is a symptom of chronic housing problems we face in many parts of the country. Shortages originally forced her into the private sector where she had seven children inside a two-bedroom property. Their current accommodation involves a three-bedroom house with a knocked in front door that joins with another house.

A temporary solution became permanent as Ms Frost states: “It was meant to be for four months but we’ve been here for five years now.” You could argue it would be hard for the council to re-house large families but the conditions dictated its unsuitability from the outset. They must pay for two sets of electricity and gas bills. All of the new properties are built to be energy efficient to save money for low-income tenants.

She must be a scrounger

Ms Frost is presently unemployed. However, the media make no effort to explain her individual circumstances but play up the scrounger characture by quoting anonymous neighbours and the dilapidation of her property.

What we do know is she is a cancer survivor who is presently in remission. Her cervical cancer prevents her having any more children. Having a year of cancer treatment might explain why she has been unable to work. The use of ‘jobless’ in the headline already confirms the intended bias of the article that aims to divide the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor.

What Next?

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