"We are leading the way in reducing benefit dependency"
Following the publication of a series of stories in today’s newspapers The Big Issue has issued the following statement:
The Big Issue exists to offer homeless people and those at risk of homelessness the opportunity to work and earn an income. This is offered irrespective of a person’s background or origin.
Earning their own money reduces dependency on hand-outs from the state, charities and the public - a fact not lost on the Prime Minister who described The Big Issue as ‘a fantastic example of how we can reduce dependence on state hand-outs’.
Yet very few people choose to take this opportunity. The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, selling The Big Issue is by no means an easy way to make a living - it involves using one’s own money to pay for copies, standing on the street for hours on end, braving all weathers and sometimes being subjected to abuse by members of the public. Secondly, successive governments have made it possible and acceptable for huge numbers of people to claim sizeable hand-outs which leave them disinclined to go out and earn their own money.
It goes without saying that The Big Issue plays no role in shaping either immigration or welfare policy, however we would call on the government to tackle the culture of benefit dependency which has rendered so many people unwilling to work.
We sincerely hope that this story does not have negative consequences for any of our Big Issue vendors, all of whom are working, not begging, and are therefore a lesser burden to the state than those who are solely dependent on benefits.