Benefits: 'Me a scrounger? Fair enough, I am.'

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The prime minister has unveiled major changes to the welfare and benefit system, including incentives and sanctions "to ensure that work always pays" and that people who repeatedly turn down jobs will be penalised. One man who could be among the targets is "Mick", who called a phone-in on BBC Radio Sheffield.

"I left school at 18 and I've had a year's worth of working over that 20-year period.

I enjoy my free time. I don't like working for someone else and making loads of money for them and nothing for yourself.

I live on about £50 a week. Can I live comfortably on that? Of course I can.


Lee Healey, managing director of benefits advisers IncomeMAX, says that somebody like Mick could find their benefits slashed if the government's plans come into effect.

Refusing to take three jobs in three years would mean Mick could lose his Universal Credit, encompassing what is now jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit, for three years.

On the face of it, only by taking at least some part-time work might he keep his benefits.

I walk my dog every day, which keeps me fit and healthy. I go fishing, and I go birdwatching, which is my favourite hobby.

All my family have worked all their lives - they worked down pits, in the steelworks, and they've all died from illnesses related to that.

And they've had nothing to show for it at the end of it.

All that money they've paid in, they've paid out again to the bankers. I don't think my family would begrudge the pittance they give me every week.

My family, who've paid in all their lives and got nothing back, I'm just taking a little pension out of that.

'Free money'

I get my £90 weekly rent and my council tax paid, so in total I get around £140 a week in benefits. It's free money - I love it.

Most of my friends are the same. They don't see a future in working.

I live from day to day - and I enjoy my days. I don't think about my future - I don't have any kids or family to look after. I don't want any kids - there are too many people in the world as it is, we're overpopulated.

The people who are working today - they're paying for the bankers, their million-pound bonuses every month.

Am I a scrounger? Fair enough, I am, I'll take that on the chin.

And if I see anyone doing the same thing, I'll say fair enough, fair play to any of them."

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