So the Daily Mail’s Easter offering is to run with yet another one of those misleading stories this afternoon – ‘Famiy of 12 Ethiopian asylum seekers who have just landed in Britan get £1460.00 a week for vast London home.’
The divisive,inaccurate and misleading message is crystal clear; undeserving asylum seekers (we assume they mean refugees as asylum seekers are ineligible for Housing Benefit) are getting preferential treatment over UK nationals.
Aside from the fact that there are very few cases of this kind – the Mail would of course be sure to capture each one in the event that the practice was somewhat more widespread – the story skirts over the real issue here.
It’s not asylum seekers (who are in fact catered for by a separate and parallel system of support likened to the system under the Poor laws), refugees, nor indeed migrants who are the problem here.
The real cuprit is housing policy. It’s housing policy that has led to a shortfall in an affordable public/social housing stock. And it’s housing policy that has permitted the emergence of an unregulated private rental market in which landlords and other private companies can charge pretty much what they like.
So if you’re looking for someone to point the finger at for ineffective use of public money, look to the mainstream parties and their housing policy, not the age-old scapegoats for all social ills- immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees.
JCWI has subsequently written to the Mail about this story on the grounds that we believe it breaches Press Complaints Commission’s Editors Code.