Benefit to Society?
“Benefits Street”: real reflection or “poverty porn”?
Benefits Street is a five episode TV series that began transmission on Channel 4 on 6th January 2014. Filmed over the course of a year, the show claims to document the real lives of several residents of James Turner Street in Birmingham, which on their website Channel 4 describes as “one of Britain’s most benefits-dependent”. Some right wing media have claimed that “90%” of the street’s 100+ houses exist purely on benefits and senior Conservatives, including Work & Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith, have cited the show as proof that Coalition welfare reforms are justified.