The UK has another television hit on its hands as the reality show Benefits Street floods the airwaves inciting controversy and discussion about the nation’s poverty stricken stars. Hailed as “poverty porn” Benefits Street showcases a poor clan of neighbors trying to live on government assistance.
The emergence of this type of reality show, which focuses on how the lower class lives, arrives during a tough time in Britain’s history as the Prime Minister David Cameron tries to reduce the welfare budget by $20 billion.
While Britain used to stand behind supplying its underprivileged with the government assistance they need, the latest polls indicate a substantial change of heart for many Britons. British tabloids routinely depict welfare fraud among the poor as despicable yet commonplace.
When British viewers watch Benefits Street and other reality shows like it, there will be most likely be a common reaction and relay of events. Britons will develop a disgust for the poor and separate themselves from their struggles emotionally. Any measures to save public assistance will meet disapproval from the public, pushing those dependent on welfare to resort to criminal means to survive which could lead to a class war.
What can be done to improve the financial state of those impoverished? Nothing short of increasing government assistance. Once a person has developed a survival skill set which includes receiving public handouts it is unlikely that they can make the transition to seeing the value in working for income. Free money is too easy and taking it away will only be met with anger and strife.
With the pending loss of $20 billion to their welfare system, something interesting is about to happen in Britain.