The Citizens’ Jury in Glasgow took place on Thursday 7th July and Friday 8th July in the Glasgow Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall St. At this meeting, jury members raised various questions that we weren’t able to answer in full so, as promised, we are responding to these questions on the project website. The questions raised were:
1. Is our education system failing some people by treating everyone the same / rewarding certain kinds of learning styles/skills and not others?
2. Are programmes like Benefits Street an accurate depiction of life on benefits or not and how big is the problem of benefit fraud in the UK?
These issues are explored with reference to data in blog posts by Ben Baumberg Geiger. The first blog post challenges the accuracy of some episodes of programmes like Benefits Street and some media coverage of benefits fraud. The second blog post compares public perceptions of benefit fraud with data on actual levels of benefit fraud.
3. Are people better off on benefits than working?
The idea that people are better off on benefits than in work is challenged in this short blog piece from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
4. What causes the excess mortality in Glasgow (compared to similar cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast)?
As discussed, there seem to be lots of different reasons for this, including poorly made local policies, poor quality housing, the scale of deindustrialisation and the way in which policy decisions made in Westminster were imposed on Glasgow. A review of the research on this topic is available here.
5. One other topic that came up was who benefits from tax and welfare policies. Here, it’s worth noting, as this fullfacts piece explains, that a great deal of ‘welfare spending’ goes to wealthier groups in society (e.g. through pensions). Then, following on from the point Richard Wilkinson made in the video featuring him and Kate, here is some more information from The Equality Trust (which Richard and Kate founded) about the claim that the UK’s tax system is no longer progressive.