Criminals to offset cuts against your stuff


10:00 am - October 31st 2011

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contribution by Spacey

People who fail to pay their fine after they have been convicted for criminal behaviour have revealed that any loss in benefits incurred as a result will be offset against the contents of your house.

The news will come as a blow to the government who had assumed that taking money away from a convicted criminal would simply deter them from eating food and wearing clothes.

Darren Henderson, a petty thief from Bradford, said that any move to reduce his benefits would leave him with no alternative but to increase his productivity.

“As a motivational tactic the government have got this spot on,” he revealed.

“If I want to make ends meet I’ll have to up my game a bit from the odd minor offence to more profitable forms of criminal activity.”

“Hopefully this will be just the incentive I need to really make a career out of it.”

The prime minister, who is in Perth, Australia, for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, said: “People need to understand that if they are claiming benefits they will face the consequences.”

“Sorry, I meant committing crime not claiming benefits.”

I’m always getting those two mixed up.”


This is a satirical article. Spacey writes more regularly for the spoof news site Newsthump

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Reader comments


Anyone else would seek work these idiots who do more crime. Jesus where do they find these people from….. at least now I can stab the idiots and get away with it.

So… we should give criminals more money because a financial reward will persuade them not to be criminals?

It’s quite disturbing that “This is a satirical article,” is needed on account of how it’s perfectly believable that Cameron might actually say ““People need to understand that if they are claiming benefits they will face the consequences.”

“Sorry, I meant committing crime not claiming benefits.”

I’m always getting those two mixed up.”

@TimJ #2:

So… we should give criminals more money because a financial reward will persuade them not to be criminals?

I think the point may be that policymaking should invovle more than just knee-jerkign in the Daily Fail direction; that it would sometimes pay to think through what people will do in response to policy, rather than what you dearly hope they might do.

TimJ @ 2

Come on, Tim, think about this for a second. Glib statements like that or arsehole pronouncements from the Tories designed to stimulate the salivating cunts that read the Mail hardly bring anything of real value to the debate. You surely cannot seriously believe that driving people into poverty makes people less likely to commit crime?

If that was the case then surely to fuck the poorest districts in cities across the World would be the most law abiding? Christ, sir, if that was true then San Paulo & Johannesburg, would be the safest cities in World

If you have someone committing crimes based on poverty, you do not convince these people to go straight by shoving them further into poverty. Surely you must accept that? If you have a woman who has fallen into a life of prostitution (for whatever reason) you do not convince her to give up by removing the one solid source of income (benefits, for example) and expect her somehow to pull her life around and become a bookkeeper instead?

Women working on the streets face any number of hazards from merely being beaten up to being killed. If that is not a deterrent, then do you honestly think that having the threat of losing if they are caught will push women onto the straight and narrow?

You see, Tim, this exactly the type of thing I am talking about. You are in no way a halfwit, but you instinctively feel the need to defend a policy pronouncement that, if you switched on your objective circuits on, you would laugh out loud at.

Surely there is one single Tory in the membership that has an attention span longer than three seconds?

You see, Tim, this exactly the type of thing I am talking about. You are in no way a halfwit, but you instinctively feel the need to defend a policy pronouncement that, if you switched on your objective circuits on, you would laugh out loud at.

I’m not defending this policy – I don’t actually agree with this policy (because it’s not enormously productive). But I don’t really buy the idea that most petty criminals are forced into crime by poverty either, and the only point of the piece was that if you fine criminals they’ll just steal stuff to pay the fine. That doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly meritorious argument.

Tim @ 6

But I don’t really buy the idea that most petty criminals are forced into crime by poverty either>/b>

Okay, that is a fair(ish) point. Let us not split hairs on whether or not ‘most’ petty criminals are in ‘poverty’ or how we define ‘poverty’ for that matter.

However, let us agree that ‘some’ criminals are stealing out of a degree of economic coercion. Be it a desire to own the latest gadget or to pay for addiction, or in some cases to put food on the table or whatever.

Leaving the judgemental stuff to one side, removing benefits (if they actually receive them) will only make the situation worse, making people destitute will merely generate more crime.

Personally, I think fining people in most cases is a pretty silly punishment as far as it goes; What we need is something that tackles the underlying causes of crime.

To be honest, Tim, I would have more respect for the Tory Party (and Labour) if they focused more energy on this than the knee jerk crap we get above.

From watching those ”Police, camera, action” TV programnmes, I’m always somewhat shocked at the end when they show what sentences the drug dealers, burglers and car thieves actually got when they went to court. The sentences often seem to be paltry compared to the kinds of agro the perps have commited. And even if someone is fined £200 – if they just have to pay it off at £5 a week off their benefits, it makes all the police car chases and the breaking down of doors, all seem like a lot of effort for nothing.

“, and the only point of the piece was that if you fine criminals they’ll just steal stuff to pay the fine. That doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly meritorious argument.”

It’s a realistic one though isn’t it.

Well hey, if offsetting your losses against the homes of the nation is good enough for the finance sector….

It’s frightening the extent to which people get actually excited about the prospect of further punishing people on benefits..

I’m at a loss as to how some here seem to believe that poverty doesn’t lead to crime.

As an example, its April 2012, imagine a single man, 30 years old, made redundant from his job that he’d had for less than two years, no redundancy. His parents are unable to help him out due to financial issues of their own, and they live in a one bed flat, so no chance of moving back home. His job paid just above the minimum wage, but not really enough to allow him to save.

This guy, lets call him Mark, lives in a private rented flat in an average area, not the best, not the worst. He finds himself in a situation where he’s claiming jobseekers allowance and housing and council tax benefit. His first problem is that it turns out his flat is more expensive than housing benefit are willing to pay for – as he’s under 35 he’s only entitled to the single room rate, which means paying a shortfall of £15 a week on his rent. At this point, he’d be prepared to move to a single room bedsit (though reluctant), but unfortunately everyone wants deposits and he doesn’t have any savings, and no way to get the money for a deposit. He saw one place willing to waive the deposit, but it was in appalling area, where he’d be scared to walk around in the daytime, let alone at night. Also the mould up the walls of the bedsit, the bugs in the kitchen, the inch deep dirt in the hallways, and urine soaked carpet in the bathroom, also made it unattractive.

So mark is stuck paying £15 a week towards his rent out of his £67.50 a week Jobseekers Allowance. His other bills – gas, electric, water and phone come to £27.50 a week, he’s had to give up sky tv, and broadband. He also has a single credit card which costs him £10 a week, and travel to the jobcentre once a week costs £4.

Mark is left with £11 a week to buy everything else he needs – food, toiletries, haircuts, travel to interviews, clothes, household items. Mark is very motivated to find a job and is willing to take anything, but because he is educated, employers of menial jobs won’t take him because they believe he’ll leave as soon as he finds something in his field (they’d be right), and in his and related fields, competition is fierce, with over 100 people applying for many of the positions. He’s willing to retrain, but turns out the only help he’s likely to be offered is a stupid course which tells him lots of things he already knows, and nothing that will help him to retrain and give him more options for jobs.

However moral Mark is, do you think in this situation he’s going to turn down a few hours of cash in hand work, or that he’ll declare it? Do you think that if a mate offers him cash to sell some dodgy goods, that he wouldn’t consider it? He himself might not go as far as breaking into people’s homes, but if he’s hungry he might be desperate enough to shoplift.

People with kids on benefits tend to be able to manage, but for those who have no kids on benefits, I’m surprised more don’t turn to criminal activities in order to live and eat.

12. Leon Wolfson

@11 – Realistically, there’s nowhere to move in any deacent area, and that kind of shortfall is on the low side for any habitable single room.

13. So Much For Subtlety

4. Robin Levett

I think the point may be that policymaking should invovle more than just knee-jerkign in the Daily Fail direction; that it would sometimes pay to think through what people will do in response to policy, rather than what you dearly hope they might do.

We have done this experiment – some American states and cities have begun kicking tenants out of social housing if anyone in the house is busted with drugs. The result is that drug use has dropped.

Penalising people for breaking the law works. This sounds a good idea.

14. So Much For Subtlety

7. Jim

However, let us agree that ‘some’ criminals are stealing out of a degree of economic coercion. Be it a desire to own the latest gadget or to pay for addiction, or in some cases to put food on the table or whatever.

This is an utter misuse of the word “coercion”. It is Orwellian. Please stop.

Leaving the judgemental stuff to one side, removing benefits (if they actually receive them) will only make the situation worse, making people destitute will merely generate more crime.

It may. But welfare itself is a crime generator. You give money to young people to be idle, with no consequences on their behaviour, and of course you are going to get crime. Work demands good behaviour. You get arrested too often and you will lose your job. You will lose the chance at a better job. Whereas the Social don’t care. If the Social starts to care and starts to sanction people who are on benefits but committing crime, there will be a deterrent effect.

The only question is whether the number of people pushed into more crime is greater than the number of people deterred from starting. I think it wouldn’t be. But let’s give it a go and see shall we?

Personally, I think fining people in most cases is a pretty silly punishment as far as it goes; What we need is something that tackles the underlying causes of crime.

Eugenics? What is it you are asking for? The causes of crime are criminals. Nothing else.

15. Leon Wolfson

@13 – No, what happens is that people are bribing the police not to report it. Sometimes with sex. And there appears to be a fair amount of blackmail going on as well.

You really need to catch up to reality.

16. Robin Levett

@SMFS #13:

We have done this experiment – some American states and cities have begun kicking tenants out of social housing if anyone in the house is busted with drugs. The result is that drug use has dropped.

Cite for the study please; I take it that the study covers the effect upon criminality generally?.

17. Robin Levett

@SMFS #13:

On second thoughts, forget my #16; I’m not going to follow you down that rabbit-hole. Your story, whether anecdote or data, is irrelevant. The issue here is whether removing someone’s legal income is likely to reduce or increase their efforts to obtain an illegal income. Do you have anything to say about that subject?

18. So Much For Subtlety

17. Robin Levett

The issue here is whether removing someone’s legal income is likely to reduce or increase their efforts to obtain an illegal income. Do you have anything to say about that subject?

I refer you to my original comment – I think it will but who knows? Let’s try it and see.

“The causes of crime are criminals. Nothing else.”

Well with outsdanding knowledge and expertise such as this why are we wasting all this time and money studying and researching the subject of “criminology”?

Indeed SMFS you are clearly being wasted in our society – there are currently numerous unsolved crimes in the UK, with perplexed police officers just waiting for the brilliant insight that these crimes have been committed by criminals.

20. So Much For Subtlety

19. Planeshift

Well with outsdanding knowledge and expertise such as this why are we wasting all this time and money studying and researching the subject of “criminology”?

That is an excellent question. Damned if I know. Given their net contribution to human knowledge on this subject is less than zero. We would be better off without any of them.

Indeed SMFS you are clearly being wasted in our society – there are currently numerous unsolved crimes in the UK, with perplexed police officers just waiting for the brilliant insight that these crimes have been committed by criminals.

Yes. Perhaps if you were not quite so self righteous you might notice that your comment is irrelevant to anything I said. Knowing the general does not help with the specific – even if we were talking about the same things. The roots of crime is not the same as any one actual crime.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/qJt9mDfz

  2. Double.Karma

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/qJt9mDfz

  3. Will Horwitz

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/G5NsXuqd

  4. Matthew H

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/qJt9mDfz

  5. Aegir Hallmundur

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/qJt9mDfz

  6. Christian Reilly

    Ho Ho! Very good, sir/madam(e)! @libcon: Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/zDr0qZoG

  7. Chris Goulden

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/G5NsXuqd

  8. Alex Braithwaite

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/vhAlGG0K via @libcon

  9. Magnus McMagnusson

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/qJt9mDfz

  10. Noxi

    RT @libcon: Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house http://t.co/RECnvfCu

  11. Anna-Lujz

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  12. The Unknown James

    Criminals to offset benefits loss against your house | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ud0ruBxV via @libcon

  13. Liza Harding

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  14. Elcin Kurtulus

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  15. CJ NABI

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  16. Fazey Pie

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  17. Andy Henley

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  18. fauxpaschick

    Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/ruur7nz2

  19. Roger Thornhill

    RT @sunny_hundal: Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/i8e2lwjC // why fines r daft. Imprison, rehab.

  20. liane gomersall

    Criminals to offset cut in benefits against your stuff | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/BQNOKJkW via @libcon

  21. Brendan Ross

    RT @sunny_hundal: Criminals say they'll offset benefits losses against YOUR house http://t.co/yZ0Fstyj





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