With thanks…

…to the participants of the Feeling the Benefits Public Opinion Survey – UK Benefits System 2014

Letter to Natalie Bennett

Ms Natalie Bennett
Green Party Leader
Development House
54-56 Leonard Street
London. EC2A 4LT

25th September 2014

Dear Natalie

Please find enclosed the full results of our ‘UK Benefits System 2014 – Public Opinion Survey’ and an Executive Summary, for your perusal. This work was carried out on a voluntary basis and the results are being sent to you, for you to use as you wish.

I personally, fully support the idea of a ‘Citizen’s Income’, as endorsed by the Green Party, and feel the time is now ripe for radical change. To this end, I have taken the liberty of sending you my copy of Erik Olin Wright’s ‘Envisioning Real Utopias’ for further inspiration.

Good luck with the election campaign.

Kind regards

Kelcy Davenport
Office Facilitator

Executive Summary.

Executive Summary

Feeling the Benefits: Public Opinion Survey – UK Benefits System 2014.


Feeling the Benefits was set up, in August 2014, to assess the level of public understanding around the Welfare Reforms, as currently being rolled out by the coalition government. A 20 question survey was created using quotes from Iain Duncan Smith’s parliamentary speeches, over the last 12 months, as transcribed on his website http://www.iainduncansmith.org.uk. Phrases which were particularly ambiguous were highlighted to the public by re-presenting them, reformatted as questions.

The Feeling the Benefits office opened for 5 days, in Cambridge, in September 2014 and conducted face to face interviews with 46 participants who were willing to attempt to answer the survey questions. All participants are members of the general public who happened to pass by the office during opening hours.


1. Where are the best hiding places for benefits claimants?

Almost 50% had no idea where the current hiding places for benefits claimants are, or if they exist. Others did not understand why benefit claimants would want or need to hide.

In terms of suggested hiding places, a rural theme emerged with meadows, forests, bushes and the countryside more widely being suggested.

There is apparent confusion as to who needed to be hiding. Large corporations, tax avoiders and parliament were put forward.

2. How can we get everyone to do the right thing?

Responses were very mixed. However, the main theme to emerge was the need for a public awareness campaign to provide clearer information as to what the right thing was.

3. What should happen to people who won’t play by the rules?

Almost 50% of participants felt it depended on (some or all of) what the rules were, who was setting the rules and if the rules were fair.

Several participants suggested that cases needed to be reviewed on an individual basis.

Again, there was some confusion as to who needed to be playing by the rules. Bankers and tax avoiders were put forward.

20% took a hard line and felt sanctions should be imposed. On the whole, these sanctions were not elaborated upon although one participant suggested enforced litter picking.

20% took a softer approach and suggestions included, letting them go free, listening to them, leaving them alone with their conscience, giving them a skill and sending them to a therapist.

4. How should we go about getting things back into order?

20% of participants suggest there is no such thing as order or that things have never been in order.

Another main theme to emerge was the suggested reforming or abolition of the government and parliament more generally.

5. It now pays to work. Do you agree?

45% said it depends or that they were not sure.

35% said No.

20% said Yes. However, 25% of those stressed that they did not mean financially.

Concerns over wages being too low / people not being paid a living wage emerged as a theme.

6. What are the right kind of jobs for the right kind of people?

Common responses to this question can be summed up as jobs which the individuals choose for themselves, which make them feel happy, fulfilled and use their appropriate skills.

7. How else would you describe a workless household?

Overall, participants showed a lot of sympathy towards the image of a workless household. Many different descriptions were offered, including: unemployed, unfortunate, desperate, struggling, pitiful, in need of help and support, unhappy, trapped, not functional, disappointing, unlucky, defeated, depressed, demeaned, demoralised and poor.

Several participants doubted there is any such thing.

There was some confusion over what a workless household referred to and whether it applied to stay at home parents, sick people, disabled people, retired people, the royal family and ‘Trustafarians’.

Several participants suspected the phrase was a deliberate attempt by the government to make those in poverty appear lazy.

8. What makes a meaningful long-term job?

A strong theme was a job which the individual employee loves, enjoys, has a passion for, finds fulfilling.

Earning a living wage was mentioned several times.

There was a strong emphasis on the subjectivity of what makes a job meaningful and support for the idea that it is down to each individual to decide what that is.

9. What isn’t a real job?

35% believe there is no such thing.

Concerns were raised over zero hours contracts and wages being less than a living wage.

Unpaid work was generally considered to be a real job.

10. How do you suggest we get more people knuckling down?

This was a difficult section to summarise due to the very different responses from all participants. However, overall, the suggestion was to incentivise with fairer pay, better treatment, training opportunities etc as opposed to restricting benefits payments.

It was suggested more than once that the phrase belonged to another era.

11. What makes a taxpayer typical?

It was largely suggested that the typical taxpayer was someone who had a job and paid tax.

Several participants suggested it was people who didn’t earn enough to pay someone to help them avoid paying tax.

Several participants suggested it was people who didn’t mind paying taxes in contribution to a system which benefited the community.

12. What is the value of a person who is economically inactive?

10% said Nothing. However, one qualified this by adding ‘in terms of the economy’.

65% felt they had lots of value as a human being / that value as a person should not be linked to economics.

Several participants doubted anyone could be economically inactive since everyone buys things / some people are not paid for their work but help someone else to do paid work e.g. Mothers / Carers.

13. How might we measure entrenched worklessness?

40% either did not understand the meaning of the phrase ‘entrenched worklessness’, or did not think it would be possible to measure.

Several felt it was a pointless issue to focus on, for differing reasons.

14. What are the quantifiable benefits of a decent bit of work?

Participants largely saw working as being beneficial to the individual, offering: a sense of pride, a means of contributing to society, money, self-respect, satisfaction, social contact, good health and wellbeing, opportunities, self-esteem etc.

15. How important is it to you, to see the government secure Britain’s future?

65% felt it was important to them. However, several queried whether this government are the right government to do that.

Climate change / concerns over the lack of focus on the environment was raised by several participants.

16. What makes a day’s work honest?

This was a difficult section to summarise due to the differing responses of participants. However, several suggested it was a two-way thing between the employee and the employer, i.e. fair pay and respect in return for working hard.

17. Does the promise of seeing the benefits of Britain’s growth motivate you to play by the rules?

17% said Yes.

18. What is the best way to tackle the root causes of poverty?

The main ideas put forward centred around, redistribution of wealth, more equal and fair educational opportunities, raising the minimum wage and generally offering more support to those in need.

Several participants mentioned the current government’s lack of exposure to poverty as a potential issue.

19. Are you work-ready?

75% of participants feel they are ready / willing to work.

20. Do you believe in hope for families?

30% said Yes.

12% said No.

22% did not understand the meaning of the phrase.

UK Benefits System 2014 – Full Survey Results.

1. Where are the best hiding places for benefits claimants?

No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
Big corporations.
Don’t go and sign on wearing your overalls
Immigrants coming in and sharing accommodation with lots of other people.
In a cupboard.
I can’t think straight today. Out in the countryside?
Its all bollocks.
The back streets.
Having multiple kids and using the benefits system.
Somewhere dark.
No idea.
People will only hide if they are not entitled to benefits. You won’t hide unless you have done something wrong.
I need time to think. The benefits office?
Behind bushes.
Forests probably or, perhaps meadows.
No idea.
People who claim they have a disability when they don’t but its difficult to prove.
It doesn’t make sense. Hiding in what sense?
This is nothing to do with tax avoidance? Gosh, I’ll have to put myself in that position. Well, erm, let me absorb that.
No idea. Southwood Road, Dunstable?
Under bridges.
No idea.
No idea.
(Participant drew a picture of a cuboid).
No idea.
Er, um, oh my gosh, hiding places? I’ve never thought about it. I don’t know.
As in the people themselves hide away? I guess a child? Then you’re not a direct claimant and to a certain extent are invisible.
I don’t understand why they would have to hide.
I don’t know. Do you mean people are embarrassed about claiming and have to hide away? I guess its people with jobs who are claiming and not declaring their work. In the poorer population, some really need it and are desperate and I would imagine only a small amount are claiming but earning too much money.
Oh, erm, underneath trucks or the bottom of aeroplanes, like illegal immigrants.
I’ve no idea. Probably staying with friends, sofa surfing. They wouldn’t have much money. Would they hide? I’m sure some don’t.
In their house? Under the radar. Off the census.

2. How can we get everyone to do the right thing?

Make things more equal.
Clear communication.
No idea.
Everyone should just try to get by.
A campaign to raise awareness of it.
No idea.
Depends what the right thing is.
Only the individual can decide.
You can’t.
Treat everyone equally.
Emotional blackmail.
Good education. Start in schools. Accessible information which is written in a language which is easily comprehensible by all. Perhaps more simple vocabulary for those who can’t read well.
I don’t think we should be trying to do this. We should support people who need support. People on benefits aren’t pretending, they are desperate.
Public awareness.
Shame doesn’t work. Bad publicity doesn’t work. Its a real puzzle.
The more work we have, the easier it is for people.
You can’t.
Right thing meaning, only ask for what you really need? Make people feel empowered so they want to behave well to others.
I don’t know. Its interesting. You like to think people don’t claim things they are not entitled to.
Have a utilitarian government.
By asking them.
Doing away with parliament.
Use your common sense.
No idea.
Its pretty vague. In terms of seeking employment? In terms of the procedures for applying for benefits?
My immediate view is the media play a huge role in what could potentially be good role models. First, spreading the idea that the right thing is not just good for the individual but good for the community. The media could play a much more creative role in highlighting acts of selflessness, communitas, heroism etc. that happen every day and go unnoticed. This applies particularly to Carers.
Bribe them with R. White’s lemonade.
Test parents before they have children. Do they have enough ‘education’? Don’t take me too seriously. I’m being sarcastic. There is no right thing. What is the right thing?
Its impossible. I’m not very good at this.
(Participant drew an upwards pointing arrow).
It’s impossible. Maybe with education. Continue their interest in education. You learn to behave well, have a sense of honesty – like Scandinavia.
Teach them the right values, the universal values of love, respect, sharing and the idea the world is home to anybody, including animals and nature. Then you know what to do.
Claimants? Everyone is going to do what the system permits them to do.
By offering incentives for positive action and behaviour.
Education. By raising awareness of what they are, who is entitled and who isn’t. Need to let people know who can claim them. That’s the other half of the picture. There are far more benefits unclaimed than claimed. Benefits is portrayed as this huge fraud problem when in fact people are entitled to a lot more and they don’t claim it.
It depends what the right thing is and who decides. I’d need a conversation about that.
It depends what the right thing is. Everyone has a different opinion. I’m not quite sure what you mean by that. You mean to be good citizens and pay your taxes? I presume that’s what is meant. It starts off with education but I’m not sure education can reach everyone. There are people who don’t want to do the right thing. I’d imagine that if you have a good education you grow up to be a good citizen. Some people don’t care. I’ve heard the other side of it from people in the police force. I don’t know where it all starts.
Give them the information so they know the correct rules. Make it easily accessible.

3. What should happen to people who won’t play by the rules?

Stop their benefits.
They should be punished. It should be made easier for everyone to play for the rules. We need rules and people should abide by them.
The fact someone is talking about people in a less than human way really makes me angry.
Teach them a lesson.
Something should be done but you can’t punish them as such. You need a warning and then some sort of action.
No idea.
It depends what the rules are.
Only the individual can decide.
Which rules?
Make them pick up rubbish in the street to earn money.
They get away with it.
Take each case individually. It’s an open question. Interview them to understand why. There has to be consequence but they need understanding of their background.
Its bollocks. What rules? The rules of the conservative thinking people?
It depends on the rules. Certain rules are bullshit.
Taking their benefits away is the obvious answer but it’s counter-productive. Give them a skill.
Ignore them.
It depends on the situation. If you believed taxes were being well spent and you are avoiding paying tax you should lose your right to vote.
They should have their benefits stopped and the money given to people who need it.
It would depend on the rules.
Let them go free.
They should be listened to.
Don’t give them any benefits.
Some sort of sanction. Compulsory training?
Find out why. Have they been explained to them? Are they fair? Systems are set up with an end goal in mind but people don’t always fit neatly into the system in place.
They should be subject to the consequences that people who suffer, as a consequence of them, suffer. Do as you would be done by. Bankers who run off with your pension scheme should have their accounts emptied. It’s a question of education via experience. If you behave in a certain way it impacts on peoples’ lives. Society is very individualistic. It says a great deal about us that “because you’re worth it” is one of our slogans. There is a lack of a sense of community.
Take their R.Whites away.
It depends which rules. Sometimes it can be a good thing. Challenge the rules when the rules are not right. Who makes the rules?
If they get caught they should be made to compensate in some way.
Rules are so important.
(Participant drew 2 arrows. The first pointed over and to the right. The second pointed under and to the right. Both are curved.)
They should be punished.
I don’t really believe in punishment. We first need to understand why and try to address the underlying issues. Can you just leave them alone with their conscience? A compulsory talk with a Philosopher? Therapist? It’s all very utopian.
There aren’t very many people who don’t play by the rules. I’m always told the benefits bill is billions but those making the statement don’t tell you it includes a very large chunk of pensioners. We should be looking after the needy in our society.
If they are not hurting anyone then nothing.
It needs to be judge4d case by case. It depends on the circumstances. A genuine mistake in one thing. A blatant cheat earning a lot is something else. Those people need a big penalty. If people are really desperate and cheat a small amount then it’s a different scenario.
It depends who sets those rules. Are they fair? To what extent are they not ‘playing’ correctly?
The rules? Presumably the rules are getting an education, a job and paying taxes. Not everybody can. I’m not sure I do, although, I’ve never claimed benefits or done anything wrong. However, I don’t pay lots of taxes because I don’t earn enough. When I was a single parent I thought about claiming but the thought of going down there and filling in forms put me off. I got a job. It meant I couldn’t see my daughter but I had self-respect. I was lucky.
They should get found out and have to face the consequences. They might be not playing the rules because they don’t know what the rules are. So you inform them.

4. How should we go about getting things back into order?

By totally reforming government.
By enforcing the rules.
No idea.
No idea.
Things aren’t not in order except the poor are being blamed for all the problems.
That’s a hard one. A new system put into place but it will take them possibly 20 years.
No idea.
It depends.
No idea.
Have a big clear out and take your spare stuff to a charity shop.
Reform the government.
Alphabetise the MPs.
More help. Accessible help for young people looking for work but without the penalty system that exists. Encouragement for all. More apprenticeships. The government need to change their vocabulary relating to benefits. It’s confusing. Are things translated into other languages? People aren’t aware they are entitled to an interpreter etc.
We need to offer people benefits as a right. For example, a ‘Citizen’s Income’, like the Green Party are doing. Cheats are only a tiny proportion. Claiming is a demeaning experience. Many older people don’t claim what they are entitled to because it’s too demeaning for them.
Education and guidance.
Get the Tories out and the Lib. Dems. too.
Benefit caps.
Ask nicely.
When were things in order?
I don’t know. Its things I don’t really think about. Fines?
Not sure. What’s wrong with this order? It looks pretty good to me.
By playing cards.
By abolishing parliament.
Things are so complex, there is no one answer.
No idea.
I don’t know how much about how well it is or isn’t working. It’s difficult for me to give an educated opinion. You need to strike a balance between giving support to those who need it and preventing the abuse of the system.
Well that’s a million dollar question. Whose order? What order? In my Grandmother’s order she would have retained her servants. An order now is very confused. Now political parties don’t represent any position except sub Etonian. The word order pre-supposes a hierarchy. Is there a horizontal order? The order I would wish for would probably be very different to someone else’s. My order would be re-igniting a sense of fellow responsibility to one’s neighbour. From that might flow a sense of order.
Were things in order in the first place? Did I miss it? Where was I when order was around?
There is no order, only chaos. We should accept that and make the most of it. We try too hard to put things in order. We limit people.
Trying to develop a sense of personal responsibility. It’s probably impossible to get everyone. There is an ‘it’s someone else’s fault’ atmosphere today.
Deconstruct it to start with. Then literally start from the beginning.
(Participant drew a circle).
Check the law. Is the law right? Made well?
Show a good example. Be a good example. Give without expecting much back. Live your life as a good person, active and giving. Have a lot of courage to say no, even at a cost of losing the acceptance of others. In the area that bothers you / is close to your life, you should act.
I’m not qualified to answer the question.
How do you define order? Was there ever order?
I suspect people give their opinions without knowing the facts. I don’t know all the facts. Where is the evidence things are out of order? It’s hugely complicated. What is the purpose of benefits? They are foe people in difficult circumstances to get them into work. There is the issue of families. I don’t like the idea of parents being penalised as it takes money from the kids and they suffer as a result.
Were they ever in order?
Ha ha! Erm, order. Well its stupid isn’t it. Nothing is ever in order. There is always trouble somewhere, good and bad times, something that needs sorting. It’s a load of old rubbish really. That question makes me cross. What’s he talking about? We need schools that teach skills if you’re not academic, like old technical colleges. I used to teach. I lot of people in schools didn’t want to learn. Some would be better offer channelled somewhere more practical. We need people like that.
Provide proper training and things to those who need it. Make it easily accessible to them. Make work more attractive to people rather than queue up down the job centre, because people aren’t going to want to do that.

5. It now pays to work. Do you agree?

It depends on your salary. If you are poorly paid then no.
No. When you are paid less than a living wage, when people can’t get a job, have a shit job or work full time but still can’t pay their bills.
Not really.
No idea.
It depends what type of work. It can be good for your self-esteem but not if you are forced into just anything. Need to look at the reasons why people aren’t working. Need the right people doing the recruitment in the benefits offices.
Only if you can get a job and people aren’t penalised for working.
Being self-employed it doesn’t feel like it.
Some jobs. It’s just like in the USA here. Some jobs you need to work 20 hours a day at to support yourself and your family. There are too many minimal subsistence jobs. CEO’s are making the most profits ever. Something is very wrong with that picture.
Yes. It certainly does.
This is such horrible language. Not if you work voluntarily. You might get rewarded in other ways. Doesn’t it mean that benefits are too low?
I suppose so because I’ve always worked but it’s not easy for everyone to get employment right now. It’s good to try different things.
It depends on your responsibilities, your work and your abilities.
I can’t answer.
I don’t know. I don’t work here.
It depends. If you have a young family then it may not be the case for at least one person.
It does in my job.
Financially I haven’t a clue. I’ve never looked into the subject. Spiritually and emotionally, certainly. It introduces a sense of responsibility. In the long term there would be less expenditure the other end, on benefits so it pays both the individual and society. Most people prefer to work and be part of something but you don’t have to be in a team to feel part of something.
Given the choice one wouldn’t work but I need pay therefore, I work.
I don’t think it does. There are so many low paid jobs now. You work because you have to.
(Participant drew lots of little circles in a group and then a hand stretching out of the towards the right).
What does that mean?
I would say yes, psychologically. It doesn’t always in the monetary sense.
It does a lot for your mental and physical wellbeing. Keeps you plugged in socially so yes, I’d recommend anyone in a position to be able to work, and can access employment, to do so.
It depends. On zero hours contracts people are technically employed but don’t earn enough to come off benefits. Minimum wage needs to be a living wage.
I don’t think it always does. It’s different for me. When I make money I don’t earn enough to pay tax. I don’t know. I hear that if you get a part-time job your benefits get cut so you are not better off working. You can’t afford to lose what small amount of money you have. I think it’s a catch 22 situation. If you know you would rise in the right job then it pays to work. Otherwise, on a subsistence level it doesn’t. Someone will lose out, a child, a mother etc. in order to get back to work. I find it difficult to judge. What I do I love doing but over the years I’ve done plenty I didn’t want to just to work. I’ve never not worked.
In most cases yes, but for people on benefits, they would be going into such a low paid job, it’s better to stay on benefits. Its catch 22.

6. What are the right kind of jobs for the right kind of people?

A job that makes the employee / individual happy.
I can’t answer that.
Zoo Keepers on roller-skates.
Work that uses your skills and interests.
Whatever those people want to be working in. You can’t tell people what to do. They are individual.
That give happiness.
That somebody would enjoy doing, be happy in their job so as not to consider going on benefits.
No idea.
There is no such thing.
A job that fulfils you.
Ones that make them happy. Doing what you love, whatever that may be.
No idea.
People don’t know themselves but it depends what the employee is looking for. Enriching, stimulating, aptly qualified, structure. It’s subjective.
People should be able to work with the skills and abilities they have, not be forced to do demeaning work.
Being passionate about things.
One that pays a living wage. Honourable work that doesn’t undermine civilisation. That doesn’t do excessive damage to the environment or society.
I don’t know.
Suitable jobs.
No idea.
I’m not sure about pigeon-holing people.
Oh help. My feeling would be its question that’s not possible to answer as it implies a paternalism that you cannot get away with.
One’s always right.
The kind of jobs that people think are right for them.
You should do what you love and not sit at home cashing money from the government.
Jobs requiring a skill level, to be available to those with those skills. Going to university should get you a higher skilled job.
It’s about matching peoples skills with the job. Not everybody has the same strengths. In the UK it’s become a habit that everyone should go to university. But there are practical skills to be learnt, apprenticeships etc. The government needs to be providing this to get more variety.
That which taps into some natural instinct or flair for the job itself so they feel they are expressing themselves. Everyone would win, the job would be well done, and the employee would enjoy it. However, we are very far from the ideal. In a job that exercised their talents, they would be fulfilled and society would be fulfilled.
I’m still looking. You should be able to use your appropriate skills. You should personally determine them.
It’s the wrong kind of idea. It’s just wrong.
Jobs that fit people’s skills.
The 1%, nepotism, Etonians. They all have the top places. The 1%ers.
(Participant drew a circle on the left and then a vertical rectangle on the right with a semi-circle cut out of its left side, the same size as the circle next to it).
There aren’t any. That is the struggle. Many people would like to work as something but for different reasons work as something else. Only a few people I know are doing what they really like. Maybe the system is better here compared to other countries, I don’t know.
Ha ha. This is a wonderful question. The way it is phrased I can think of no answer. Free choice and deep felt involvement.
I’m not sure I understand the question.
A job that offers satisfaction specific to that individuals needs and desires.
It’s about aspirations. Having a job that gives you confidence. Also, inspiring people to want to move onto better jobs.
Only the individual can decide.
What is a right kind of person? I can’t believe how stupid these questions are. In an ideal world, anyone who had a passion for it would get a job in that field but I don’t think that is reality. It’s all down to education and finding what you love to do.
Something people are interested in. Working in an area you feel strongly about and are interested in. Doing something that makes you happy.

7. How else would you describe a workless household?

No idea.
Incredibly unfortunate, desperate, struggling, people we shouldn’t be victimising but helping.
Unhappy, not functional, trapped. Perhaps the kids follow suit.
No idea.
All households work.
Everybody works. Mothers work really hard. Everybody works but not everybody is paid.
That’s a tough one. You can’t generalise.
Good fun.
Everybody is unemployed. Students. No aims or goals.
That’s very sad for the people who are unemployed. It’s depressing and demeaning. How can you live on £67 per week? It’s not possible. Terrifying thought.
The phrases they use! It’s like they have no conception of what it entails to get by. If they think these people are living high they are crazy.
It’s extremely unlikely that exists. If it does, they’ll be depressed and need support.
Either no paid work or a house where kids need to help out / work around the house. Is it work or living? Could be a messy house.
In terms of the inhabitants, how they saw life. There are too many other things. What do they eat, drink, like, do, talk about?
If nobody is working in it.
Nobody in the house has a job.
The phrase conjures up lazy, then poverty. It’s a negative phrase.
Challenged? No, being workless is challenging. A household without aspirations perhaps? Through no fault of their own. Aspirations not allowed to flower.
Vic Reeves used to say to Bob Mortimer, “You’re a work-shy fob”.
There are many people who don’t work and have a house and there are many different reasons for that. There is not much I can say. They want to make them look lazy by using this sentence.
Do they mean people of working age? It depends on the reasons and if they are genuine. But people who can’t be bothered? It depends on the circumstances and why.
Lazy or unlucky. They may be struggling to find work. There are not always the jobs out there.
(Participant left this one blank).
It’s not clear. Politicians don’t want to be clear. They never say “yes”, they never say “no”.
Defeat, emptiness, very depressing. Work in terms of a job or where nobody does anything worthwhile? It is a very negative description.
A household where no one has a job.
Perhaps there is an explanation. You can’t describe something in a blanket term unless you know the circumstances behind it. The Royal Family? A Trustafarian? Sick people?
It’s very leading. It depends. Could be elderly and retired. The phrase might make you think they are deliberately not working but there are usually reasons. Unemployment, illness, age etc. It doesn’t mean you are a terrible person. They want to blame the poor but it’s the bankers who caused the crash.
Sad, depressing, demoralising.
I don’t know. If it was people just claiming benefits for the sake of it I’d say lazy but if claiming due to other reasons i.e. disabled, I’d say fair enough.

8. What makes a meaningful long-term job?

One where you can sustain a happy lifestyle.
Satisfaction for the employee.
Something in accordance with your values.
A permanent contract with specific hours.
Happiness. Where the employee is benefitting from the job.
No idea.
One where you are happy.
Something which is useful to the employee.
Something you love to do.
One in which I feel I am doing something that matters.
Satisfaction? Helping others? It’s subjective.
One you really enjoy, find fulfilling and satisfying. One where you earn a living wage.
Goals and happiness.
One where you are paid enough to live, produce a product or service that benefits society, or at least does no harm.
The possibility of moving up the ladder. Career progression.
2 weeks.
Satisfaction in your work.
Concern for staff wellbeing. Employees who are supported, flexible working, training, looked after. People today are pushed to their limit in the name of profit. People end up stressed and sick.
The person who is doing it.
A passion.
A job with meaning.
If you develop yourself.
One where the person going for the job is invested in professionally and financially. Where there is opportunity for progression, potential.
It’s different for everyone. If you enjoy what you do. It’s what I look for. You need to believe and enjoy what you are doing. For others it might be paying the bills of the lifestyle.
Own which allows an individual to express their personality in the way they approach it. A job which continues to stretch them. A job which allows them to pass on their experience to the next one. A job which contributes something to a generation. The possibility of creativity (small c).
Teaching is meaningful and long-term with no future.
If it fulfils the person and makes the person grow and that person can think for themselves.
It depends what you are interested in. Something you enjoy doing. Some people work to earn money to enjoy their leisure time. Others want to do something fulfilling. All jobs have some stuff you enjoy and some you don’t.
In retrospect, the job you really enjoyed doing and felt you were needed when you did that job. It’s not applicable to someone younger.
(Participant drew a wavy horizontal line to the edge of the page, with a dot at the very end).
You have to like it.
It’s so general, I don’t know what to say. The questions are very general. Security is an issue. Meaning? A life mission? But these are big words. A job you identify with and that you grow with.
Something with security, which pays a living wage. Where the individual feels valued and contributes to the company or institutions activities.
Something that means something to the person in that job, whatever that may be. It’s different for everybody. For some it’s the career ladder, for others it’s giving to the community. For some its colleagues that they get on with and find that reassuring.
One where you can grow your skills. It depends what you want. Some just want to support their family and that makes it meaningful. Personally, it’s about using my creative skills. This makes me happy and pushes me to develop.
It’s a job someone wants to do and has a future where you can learn skills, and make use of those skills and get a promotion.
A job that you maybe bring your own thing to. Something that you put your own spin on, make a difference, made the organisation better.

9. What isn’t a real job?

Being a politician.
All jobs are real.
Being an MP.
Something that is useless and demoralising.
If you are going out of your way to work, even if you don’t get paid, it’s still a real job. Apprentices, Volunteers, Artists.
Something you are not satisfied with.
Doing nothing.
No idea.
It’s ambiguous. Anything we do is a job, even if you don’t get paid.
Instability, anxious all the time about whether you have work next week, insecurity, zero hours contract.
Something made up to reduce unemployment figures.
There is no such thing.
No idea.
One where you can’t earn a decent amount of money. Zero hours contracts. A job where you are paid less than a living wage. Working for Amazon and being under pressure to perform so many tasks a minute. No one should have to do it.
Every job is real to somebody.
An unpaid job.
There is no such thing.
Satisfaction in your work.
Are they referring to voluntary stuff? I haven’t watched the news lately. I don’t think there is such a thing.
There is no such thing.
Jobs in the movies or on telly.
If you don’t commit, put any effort into society or economics. It doesn’t have to be paid. As long as you’re involved.
I used to think middle-men like recruitment agencies. Not these days, now I know more about it. In the old days, being a housewife. Voluntary work is a job. If you’re not earning money it’s still a job. It’s a stupid phrase. A job that doesn’t achieve the individual’s potential, like a temporary bar job.
One which is artificially created to massage numbers for political reasons, McJobs. With regards to the individual, it’s a job they view as pointless.
Art-teaching. Every job is real. Everything you get paid for is a really job.
Some of the politicians are fake, just fake. An appearance which is appealing to the public. They say very unclear things.
If someone wants to pay you for what you’re doing, its fine – unless you’re a crook.
There are all types of jobs. Even caring for family, stay at home mums. These are still important jobs. A husband could be working every hour god sends and you’re always with the children.
(Participant drew a cloud which was fluffy all the way around).
No salary.
There is no definition of a real job. A mother is meaningful to a child. A real job contributes something meaningful to someone.
Standing with a Golf Sale sign. Something without security or a living wage. A job where the individual doesn’t feel valued.
There is no such thing. If a person says “this is my job” then it’s a job. It’s a matter of perspective.
No prospects? Is there such a thing? If it pays, it’s a job. It might be unethical.
Living off your parent’s trust funds or inheritance.
I don’t think there are such things. If you’ve got a task, it’s a real job. Toilet cleaner or judge – it’s a real job. Historically, being a mother hasn’t been considered a real job but that’s a load of old rubbish. Maybe art isn’t a real job but its hard work.
Something that you don’t get paid for? But now I’m thinking of volunteers and that’s a real job. I don’t know. It’s a bit difficult. Loads I would consider real jobs that others wouldn’t due to the lack of incomes, like art and music. You work to make a living from them. Ultimately, you want that to be your job.

10 How do you suggest we get more people knuckling down?

Make things more equal.
Restrict benefits payments.
Something to strive for.
There aren’t enough jobs for everyone. Maye we should all be working part-time.
We kick Iain Duncan-Smith out for using these phrases. We have empathy. We try to understand why people can’t knuckle down physically, emotionally, mentally. Stop blaming those struggling and look at the politicians and tax avoiders.
Raising awareness of the opportunities out there. There are not just traditional job routes but volunteering too.
No idea.
Make it worth their while.
Meaningful, well-paid, recognised work.
Pay them more money.
Some of the rules, like health and safety, get in the way of work.
It sounds like an American mentality. Get the whip out? Make it more enticing. Better career advice from school upwards and more work experience opportunities.
Respect them and offer them training and support.
Send them to me. Life is too easy sometimes. Too many things are available too quickly sometimes. Earn it before you can have it. Hard sweat to get what you want.
Everybody I know is pretty well knuckled down already. People have 2 or 3 jobs and are still just getting by. The NHS isn’t free. People work and pay for it.
The jobs there are out there, the more people will be motivated by employment opportunities. We need more internships and work experience etc.
Hand cream.
More holidays.
I’ve heard them say that. You can’t put people into jobs they wouldn’t be able to do. Like a really busy Little Chef. If you can’t handle the pace it’s pointless getting involved.
Practising. I think everybody, on leaving school or college, should be made to do a job they wouldn’t necessarily be interested in, i.e. everybody experiencing a variety of jobs over their lifetime including domestic labour.
Show them the benefits of working compared to staying at home.
It’s not particularly easy to get benefits anyway. You have to show you are in need.
Motivate them. Find out what motivates people, what is important to them. Connect this and then make them believe in what they are working for.
Role models. The press could do more but won’t as they are about sensation. Role models could start at home. If you are 3rd generation unemployed, what other landscape do you know? If a drug dealer is the coolest role you know, there are certain consequences. If you see someone fulfilled in a job they view as part of the fabric of society. It’s an old fashioned phrase. Probably a foreign concept to many these days. Knuckling down to what? What do we think we are knuckling down to?
It’s old English. How do you knuckle down? Provide them with afternoon breaks?
Does it mean be responsible? Make them understand the importance of what they do?
There will always be these that don’t want to. You need an economy that will support it all.
Raise the minimum wage. The gap between the wealth and the poor is massive now. It would be interesting to see how big the gaps are historically and how the gap today compares to that of the Victorian times.
(Participant drew a horizontal line with spikes along it, 10 spikes in total).
I don’t know if pushing people to knuckle down is the right was to go about it or the nice way.
Inspire them, motivate them, treat them right.
Knuckling down? Not sure there are that many shirkers. There are shirkers but the phrase suggests some kind of epidemic.
By offering fair remuneration in a way that is relevant to them, i.e. money, security, satisfaction, giving back.
Investing in education. The real solution is giving people prospects. Invest in their future, rather than keep taking money away to force them into a menial job.
Make the rewards more lucrative. And education.
I’ve no idea. Is it to do with attitude and education? A feeling of entitlement perhaps? If there are people around like that I find it sad. I think people do knuckle down on the whole. I don’t know any who don’t so I can’t say. Some people have got problems haven’t they? I’m glad I’m not them. You could take their houses but they’d take to the streets and die. A man was walking back to Emmaus one winter and died outside St.Lukes whilst I was asleep at home nearby. I felt terrible. Some people have mental illness.
You could get more unemployed people knuckling down by providing them with training and education and stuff but maybe people don’t want to work or go to school. Maybe you could provide a mobile education that goes to them, in a similar way to a mobile library van. Many people are on benefits due to the location and situation they were brought up in. It’s not necessarily their mind-set.

11. What makes a taxpayer typical?

Someone who is employed. It should be everyone.
They work and pay taxes.
No idea.
When it comes straight out of their wage or in their tax returns.
No idea.
People who consider it the norm.
No idea.
Someone who pays tax.
Someone who shares.
Someone who pays tax.
The government generally.
Someone who pays tax.
No idea.
Earning enough to pay tax as opposed to someone earning so much they should be paying more. We feel positive about paying tax.
Somebody that wants to contribute to a system that’s supposed to benefit everybody.
Working people. Not people who know how to work a system and write laws and their own special brand of favouritism.
Someone who pays their taxes and is employed.
Somebody who has a job.
They means the average taxpayer like me. I don’t pay 40%.
The average taxpayer would be the person in the middle. It’s a ludicrous question. I’m not a number, I’m a person. That’s a quote from ‘The Prisoner’.
A long face.
Those of us who haven’t got enough money to afford an accountant to enable us to avoid paying taxes.
No idea.
Somebody in regular work.
The average person earning the average income. Mid-thirties, earning so much in a certain job. It has negative connotations – burden.
What might be typical about those who are prepared to pay tax? An acceptance that, through no fault of their own, some can’t contribute. There can be all kinds of reasons such as health, education, race, opportunity. We have a system of justice and healthcare and that infrastructure requires contribution.
Somebody who pays tax.
If you are a taxpayer, you are typical by definition.
Is there such a thing as typical? It’s like saying what is normal.
The ordinary person. Not Starbucks’ owners.
(Participants drew a stick drawing of a chair, sideways on, facing to the left).
A good sense of community.
This is absurd. There is no such thing as typical. I wish I could say an honest one.
I don’t know if there is a typical taxpayer.
A PAYE person who has a job, that is on the grid, within a ‘normal’ bracket, who doesn’t questions the amount they pay or where it goes, until there is a high level whinge around election time.
No idea.
Nothing. There is no such thing as typical.
I don’t know. Someone who pays tax? There aren’t typical taxpayers. They are just people earning enough to pay tax.
They pay tax?

12. What is the value of a person who is economically inactive?

It depends what other roles they have. They have full value in my opinion.
They can be a value in other ways.
They are not any less of a value or a person.
No idea.
Loads. It depends on that person.
Just because you are not paid for what you do it doesn’t mean you are economically inactive. For example, Carers.
It could be loads. They could be caring for someone or thinking clever thoughts.
Unexplored potential.
It’s not only measurable in monetary terms.
Everybody is valuable depending on their skills. Everyone has value in one sense or form.
Most are economically active in one way or another.
You are not putting anything in. You need to become proactive if possible. It’s an issue of they can’t. If they are healthy they need help.
Generally they are sick people who can’t take care of themselves.
No value really. More of a hindrance.
Many, many values to them.
They are still a valued person with feelings, thoughts, meaning and purpose etc. As much as anyone else.
Their being and their life.
A leech, a sucker.
Their physical, intellectual and spiritual activity.
It depends on if they are sick. If he can’t work, what is the value? I believe there is always something he can do.
In terms of the economy, not.
Hopefully lots of values. Could be caring for the sick or in education. It’s rare for someone not to contribute to their economy in any way as everyone buys things.
This is a really good question. There are other contexts where people can be valuable. Caring is an obvious answer. Unpublished, unremarked areas of tremendous value. If we removed them society would look very different. Press should print more stories of daily life where people aren’t economically active but still play a tremendous role. Even visiting an old, sick person. There are hundreds if we think about it. If the stories of shits were balanced by ordinary stories of people doing their jobs, the general perception would balance.
Well if they are…do you have to be economically active to be valid? How do you class valid?
It depends on the person but there are many other values. The question suggests that a person who is economically inactive is a bit of a burden for the rest.
Is it possible? You still have to buy things. They can still be doing charitable stuff. Some you might think there is none or a negative value if you think they are a drain.
They may be very, very valuable people. There are a huge number of us. If someone doesn’t earn a living they may still be of value i.e. a stay at home mum, a Carer, they may be needed.
(Participant drew a cloud which was fluffy on top but flat at the bottom).
Value in which terms? They are still a valuable person. Maybe they don’t have a job, but with support from the government to find a job…
Just like any other person.
They still have an intrinsic value as a person. Our children, our pensioners are economically inactive. There is potential for the first and we are grateful for the experience of the latter.
The value of a person shouldn’t be linked to economics. In my opinion it is not. In Bhutan they measure the gross domestic happiness not the gross domestic profit of their country, and that’s a very ‘wealthy’ country.
They are human beings and have to offer everything that a human being has to offer e.g. friendship, love, and support. You can’t ditch people because they are economically inactive and say they are a non-person.
Well if they are doing nothing and just lying about, then not much value. But they could be volunteering. If there was a way to get people to do that and get some self-esteem. There is nothing worse than doing nothing.
I don’t know. They might have valuable ideas to contribute.

13. How might we measure entrenched worklessness?

A scale related to how many pints of fosters they drink on a Saturday.
No idea.
That’s meaningless.
By how long someone has been unemployed.
Is that phrase really used?
No idea.
No idea.
No idea.
We can’t.
It’s almost impossible.
If it goes back generations.
Treat everyone as an individual.
An entrenched workometre.
Look at the history of a past claimant? Its confusing language. This is the problem. It’s regularly used and difficult to comprehend.
We need to measure how people become long-term unemployed, by the lack of choice and opportunity.
By the lack of contribution to society. The NHS can’t be in pace if people don’t contribute.
There will always be a certain number of people who won’t work. It’s part of the cost of having a civilised society. But benefit programmes do more good than bad. It’s just part of the deal.
No idea.
Try to really understand what we mean by work. They are only discussing paid work.
By the amount of people employed or unemployed. There are probably black and white statistics on this.
It makes me think of measuring people in trenches with a tape measure. You would need to define entrenched.
By looking at entrenched workfulness. As in, what indicates they are. Who are the people in work? I supsect its more men than women.
I don’t know what it means.
The length of time people have been claiming. If more than a generation etc.
Why bother? Why not ensure jobs are available and focus more efforts on that?
I don’t know what it means exactly. Whether there is any residue of the desire to work? If you are third generation unemployed, perhaps you have no concept to work to.
Count them.
You have to go to the job centre to take any job to prove you’re not a burden.
It needs too much manpower, proper assessment, close observation.
The government would look at the historic family. They need to share out the work a bit more.
(Participant drew a number 3).
No idea.
Measure? No clue.
Its a generational thing. If you have a family where you were born into long-term unemployment and never experienced the return of work, it could possibly lead to them not understanding the culture of working. I’m familiar with a family or two like that. I think they have missed out on some aspect of life as a result.
Qualitative discussions with families who have generations of worklessness and are unhappy with that or seem not to be benefitting in any way from that. Those with alcoholism, depression, violence. Only by speaking with them and finding out the real reasons could you think to address the issue.
Look at the statistics for how long people have been out of work and the reasons for that.
By income or lack of but that is not the only produce of work. Its not just monetary but the effects on society.
I suppose the government have figures of people who sign on. I’m sure they’ve been asked if its generational. They’d have to give someone a job and look into it. Probably more prevalent in some areas than others. Sure some whole families are unemployed. They could be asked – what would they like to do? If I couldn’t do my art I’d be a bit of a basket case myself. A lot of people took the wrong turn in life and ended up on the street and shouldn’t be there.
Try to assess their situation and work out why and from those findings try to come up with a solution to change up and coming generations.

14. What are the quantifiable benefits of a decent bit of work?

That you provide some sort of use.
How long is a piece of string?
If you feel it is of benefit to someone.
Work can be good for you psychologically. If you are not in a mental or physical position the benefits are nil. Don’t force people who are not able.
Good pay.
No idea.
No idea.
Money and self-respect.
I don’t understand.
That’s stupid.
Feeling passionate about what you are doing.
A decent bit of pay. What a silly question.
‘Decent’ is subjective and individual. As seen by whom?
Doing a job you enjoy, you find joyful, pleasurable and stimulating. People are healthier, self-worth, pride.
Self-satisfaction, pride, tiredness, sleeping well, wanting to get up and do something the next day, a healthy cycle.
Everybody comes out ahead.
Opportunities, money.
Fags and booze.
If it is truly decent it gives job satisfaction so you actually want to do more.
A reason to get up and out, structure, social contact, a bit of money, making a difference, doing something good.
Financial reward but you can get that from indecent work as well. In fact you would probably get a lot more from that. It sounds like a much better programme.
A smooth touch.
One that pays a living wage.
You get involved.
Economic return, financial reward, a person feeling they are contributing etc.
Benefits for whom? The employee or the government? For the individual – pay, finance to support self and if decent – satisfaction etc.
Self-fulfilment, some aspect of your character has been exercised through the medium of that work. Peer group affirmation. Impact on the wider world of your part in the work.
Pride, the dollar.
Everyone should have a house and a certain amount of time for themselves. Everyone is entitled to a home.
The work achieves what it is meant to achieve. It meets its purpose.
Better living standards for the employee and feeling valued in society.
(Participant drew an isosceles triangle).
Some people who don’t have a job feel useless, others don’t care.
Is it just a lot of politician speak? The benefits are unquantifiable.
Self-esteem. Feeling that you are contributing in some way. A satisfied / selfish feeling of having done some good. It makes us feel better about ourselves.
Sense of achievement, sense of self-worth.
Money, satisfaction of doing a good job, raises confidence etc.
Pride, accomplishments, security.
Self-esteem, money, ability to buy your own food, pay your rent, be independent, not feel guilty, to feel you have a rich life, not financially, but enriched by learning new things, have a future, can provide for your family. Some people just don’t care about these things. If you don’t care you’re not going to bother. A lot of people don’t care. It’s going to take a lot of talking to them to get through to them. It takes all sorts.
These are really vague questions. It can contribute to society one way or another. If it was a product you were producing that could help society / a service you were producing that could help society.

15. How important is it to you to see the government secure Britain’s future?

It’s very important.
What does it mean?
It’s important. Britain has a good future but I don’t think they are focusing in the right place.
Extremely important.
Very important.
No idea.
Very important via climate change etc. I’d rather someone other than this government was securing it.
It’s not.
If I knew it was spoken with sincerity then yes. As it stands I feel this is rhetoric is spouted by lobbyists.
Paramount, but let’s sort out the right people are in government first.
It’s important to create institutions and organisations that work for people, climate change. Society should use less resources. A lot of work is currently based around wasting resources. Need to create employment which builds community, supports people to be happy. Women’s work is not paid or recognised by society. The GDP measures things like creating and selling arms. We need to not be selling arms to the Middle East but create an environment where we have proper support for childcare etc. There is an organisation which has done a lot of work around the 25 hour week.
Very important.
Fags and booze.
I’m not sure I understand the question.
I’m not that passionate about it.
Nice idea. Impossible task. Try collaboration.
That’s difficult.
Not really.
Not really. I don’t live here.
Very important that Britain embraces the multi-cultural open place it is and doesn’t isolate itself from the rest of the world.
I would have thought that is the role of government! If they are not doing that I wonder what they are doing.
It’s quite important. Many people depend on it.
They haven’t got a clue what reality is really like. The gap between rhetoric and reality is really huge.
(Participant drew a flight of stairs going up from right to left. 7 steps in total. On the left side a walking cane ran up the height of the stairs and curved over just above the top step).
Really important. I don’t want to move again.
I believe in the government less and less. I would expect people to take matters into their own hands but it won’t be smooth or painless. I think democracy is a fiction right now. Governments are puppets for the hands of multi-national corporations. I don’t believe they will do what needs to be done environmentally or in any other way. Their hands are tied.
Very. But it’s not just the government who is either responsible for or can contribute to that.
Very. It’s basically up to them in terms of major decisions. We don’t want to be going to war every 5 seconds.
Very important, but it depends what the particular party means by that. They need to do it in order to grow a decent society, support the creative industries, good public service and looking after its people.
Depends whether I trust the government or not and I don’t trust them.
That’s their job isn’t it? It’s what they get paid for so I suppose it’s quite important.
Obviously it’s important to me but I’m not really clued up on politics so I don’t really know.

16. What make a day’s work honest?

Doing the best you can.
The effort put into it.
A stripy jumper and a bag of swag.
That you’ve done what you said you were going to do.
(General look of despair).
When you satisfy someone else’s needs.
Nothing illegal. What makes the politician’s work honest?
No idea.
As long as it’s not dishonest.
Fulfilment etc. Doing what you love.
If it doesn’t damage other people (which wouldn’t include working at McDonald’s or Primark or really any other multinational.
Knowing you’ve potentially helped somebody and done all you could.
Achieving your stated aims and not those of lobbyists.
Commitment. Crimes free, lacking fraudulence, sincere. I don’t know. What’s honest?
Not exploiting or being exploited.
Bit of blood, sweat and tears put into each day. It’s wholesome.
When you’re not doing harm. If you’re working towards your goal.
Turning up, doing you work, legally, doing what’s required by your employers.
Feeling the benefits.
If things are equal for the worker and employer.
It’s a tricky one to answer.
There is what they mean and what I mean. I feel it’s to do with the responsibilities within your workplace and your family.
Waking up.
If you don’t break the law. If you don’t do it for your own personal financial gain.
If you feel content yourself. If it was fulfilling.
Putting the hours in conscientiously.
Working hard.
That’s a wonderful term. It belongs to a previous generation – when you’d line up hoping to get work on a daily basis. It probably comes from employers not employees. It’s pedagogical, patronising, and anachronistic nowadays. An unhelpful phrase. Come from top down, not bottom up.
Don’t tell a lie.
You put in the amount of effort necessary to achieve whatever you are doing.
Somebody who has put everything into their work, whatever that might be. Someone who has paid their tax and not avoided paying it.
(Participant drew a tear shaped leaf with a line down the middle).
You work your hours, you do your job and you get paid fairly. It works both sides.
Doing your best.
When you as an individual feel that you have done your best. Which goes back to giving yourself that feeling of satisfaction.
Not stealing from your boss (laughing).
It’s legal. The employer respects the employee and gives decent rights and pay. In return, the employee works hard. It’s a two way thing.
If you put all your effort into it.
Just working. It’s such an expression. Go out and dig a field or something. It doesn’t really matter. If you’re working, you’re working.
That you work hard and you’re not messing around and you’re doing the job you’re meant to be doing, not sitting on Facebook or whatever and getting paid for that. Or wasting time and chatting to your friends. Working to achieve something by the end of the day.

17. Does the promise of seeing the benefits of Britain’s growth motivate you to play by the rules?

I don’t like the way it’s phrased. We’re not children. Britain’s growth would be nice.
No idea.
Economic growth? Not growth of the island itself? I don’t think it should grow. It should be in perfect balance / equilibrium.
It’s not applicable to me.
The biggest crooks don’t play by the rules.
Not particularly.
I can’t answer. I’m not British.
It’s saying we will build a better Britain if everyone plays by the rules. It’s asking if an end result motivates you to play by the rules. It’s great to have a prosperous country. It depends on the rules and if they are right. Some choose not to play by the rules and others can’t. Personally, the answer is no. I have to do what is right for me.
No. Other things motivate me but it wouldn’t be my first thought.
Yes. Because I am a rule player. They are very important.
No. Motivation is to do with your sense of place in society.
For me? I always play by the rules. It’s innate. At times I think it doesn’t pay to.
Probably, yes.
No. It’s my own set of values and those around me which influence my behaviour. I’m short sighted when it comes to economic growth.
No. I don’t really live within the rules because my life is a bit strange. I file taxes here and in the USA but its really difficult. I feel guilty a lot of the time but I do my best.
Not really. Probably sound selfish. I’m trying to achieve my own goals. I’m not setting out to break the rules but it’s not one of the things in my mind while I’m setting out to achieve what I have set out to achieve.

18. What’s the best way to tackle the root causes of poverty?

What are they? Corruption. Not necessarily dramatic. Corruption of thoughts in the way we organise and maintain the country. Not laziness etc. How do we tackle poverty? Education, for everybody, including the people running the country.
Restrict immigration.
A book.
Higher taxes.
A living wage, not minimum wage. Outreach programmes for illness and addiction. Probably won’t be solved by attacking the poor. Look at the top. There are too many really rich.
The government have got to do their job.
Working with the poor, trying to get them back on their feet.
No idea.
It’s too complex.
Some sort of ownership. If you want something, you want to succeed.
Redistribution of wealth.
Treating everyone fairly and equally.
A multitude of ways, including redistribution of wealth, enforcing penalties on corporations who avoid tax. Make it a criminal offence to exploit workers, particularly vulnerable workers.
Look at the government first. Its lead by people who have no idea of or personal exposure to poverty. Expose politicians to it.
Make sure employers offer a living wage. Give the correct level of holding and personal development to people who have become damaged by society, to allow them to become healthy.
A better balance. Some people don’t need benefits. Some people are on too small a minimum wage. Poverty in the 21st century shouldn’t happen.
It’s such a complex question. There isn’t a root. It’s an ongoing cycle of different matters.
Equipping people with skills, creating demand, don’t outsource everything to cheap labour abroad and end up without jobs at home.
Jeepers this is heavy stuff. We need to define the root causes. I don’t know if I’m completely familiar with what the root causes are. Certain circumstances cause poverty but root causes is different. Root? Lack of mobility in society. Life can very quickly unravel if on the edge of the earning income brackets but the root is to do with how society is set up. Roots presupposes long term position – sections of society who perceive they have no hope of climbing out of the situation they are in. Its as much to do with perception as ability, and also, the perception and function of education.
Stop wasting money on afternoon tea.
I’m retired but yes.
They need to raise the minimum wage and create more work / share the work load. Need to make the gap between the rich and the poor smaller and have no nepotism, especially in the top jobs.
(Participant drew a tree, snapped in half across the trunk. The heavy, leafy top laying on the floor).
To share fairly between the people. Maybe capitalism isn’t good enough now. Only a few people reap the benefits of capitalism and the rest don’t.
Total reform of the tax systems, getting the vital resources back into the hands of the people. Look at Costa Rica – they privatised the energy companies and people couldn’t afford water.
Oh god, erm, no one has succeeded so far. We continue as a human race not to learn lessons.
Identify what the root causes are. I’ve no idea so it’s hard to say. Get think tanks focused on the issue to think about creative ideas that are genuine, not sticking plaster solutions to win elections.
Interest in education – simple as that.
A fairer and more equal distribution of benefits and education.
It does start in the beginning. Good food and education. I don’t know whether it is possible to be equal completely. It would be nice but you’re dealing with people and people all differ. They’ve got to want to get out of poverty and not have more children than you can afford. Some are really unlucky and some really lucky. I see how my son has struggled and my daughters have worked hard and got jobs. It’s not straightforward. He hasn’t found the right thing. It’s demoralising. He is lucky he has family to support him. Maybe it’s not the right thing to do. I don’t understand how people chuck kids out on the street, but I’m not in that situation so I’m not qualified to judge.
I don’t know. It’s quite difficult. I think all the things you are saying about benefits and having them go to the right people and using taxes in the correct way rather than wasting them or giving them to the wrong people. (*Note – the feeling the benefits facilitator had not given any views of her own – ‘the things you are saying’ was a turn of phrase used by the participant).

19. Are you work-ready?

I am but I’ve been working very hard for the last few years and now I’m off travelling before settling down. I’ve just completed an MA and I worked 40 hours a week as a Technician throughout that.
No. I’m on holiday.
I am working.
Yes, I guess so.
No idea.
After 10am.
Born ready.
I work long hours daily and don’t earn any money at it.
Definitely. These hands go 7 days a week.
Hell yeah – I’ve been working since I was 8.
I guess so.
Yes, should be.
No, I’m retired.
I’m ready for work.
Only on Thursdays.
I’m work willing. Ready? Not sure.
What a ghastly phrase! What does it mean? I haven’t the faintest idea what it means. Am I ready to work? Yes. Am I informed and skilled enough to do a particular job? I don’t know. I’m willing, yes.
When I get my timetable.
Of course.
I’m retired but yes.
Always. I support my family.
(Participant drew 8 stick chairs placed in a horizontal line, in profile, facing right).
Wow. Yes.

20. Do you believe in hope for families?

What does it mean?
No, not if Iain Duncan Smith said it. It’s a nice concept.
No. It’s impossible to get on the property ladder so how can you consider starting a family?
Just families? At the exclusion of others?
How can you not?
I don’t really believe in families (I believe they exist). It depends.

I hope families never vote Tory.
It doesn’t look hopeful.
Definitely. They need to stop exploiting people.
I believe there should be.
It sounds good but I don’t know what it means.

You need to know what hope is and what families are. There are so many different sorts of families – what would hope mean to each one of them? Hope is a very strange word. It sounds politically that you are trying to find a word that didn’t mean or cost anything. It’s a ‘motherhood’, an ‘apple pie’ word without any value.
I believe in the family.
I used to.
What do they mean by hope? Is there no hope if you want to start a family? It’s a strange question.
I don’t know. I don’t know his (IDS) policies.
I don’t know what he (IDS) is talking about but I believe there is hope / a future for the family, yes.
I’ll have to leave that blank. I don’t feel qualified to say.
What the hell does that mean? I haven’t got a clue.
Families are so torn apart now. People have to travel to work etc. I do believe in families. It’s your team.
(Participant drew a webbed foot without an ankle).
I don’t know. What if someone doesn’t have a family?
Hope for families? What a very unusual statement. My family exists. I don’t have to hope for it.
Yes. That means making sure children aren’t living in poverty. If it means paying parents who don’t work, it’s a price worth paying.
I should hope so. Families in all their shapes and sizes.
I’m not really sure what it means. Hope for families? Yes? I’m not sure. Overall, I’m not sure I would have given the same answers if I were answering these questions at home by myself.