Wednesday, 12 December 2012

In defence of Leanna Broderick, the single mother whose life was caricatured by the Daily Mail.

(Annual actual cash received by Leanne Broderick per year)

If you use twitter, insert the name Leanna Broderick into the discover # section, just so that you can observe the level of abuse she faced yesterday as a direct consequence of this Daily Mail article (here). In a "how the cash adds up" part of the article the Daily Mail do very little to allay the misunderstanding that somehow the Single Mother in question receives £15,500 "cash" a year. She does not. And what's more the amount she does receive puts her below the poverty line. In actual money received into her bank account Leanna receives £8,904 a year. This is nearly £2,000 less cash than a Minimum Wage Job would pay a year. And with that money she has to feed, clothe and heat herself and her two children. Given that the average fuel bill is more than £1,300 a year, it leaves Leanne with £7 per person a day to provide food, clothing and transport for the family of three. 

So how do we account for the difference? Well, the Daily Mail neglect to tell you that Leanna's Child Benefit entitlement would still exist even if she was in work. The payment is not a reward for her not working, it is for the children's well being. Even if Leanne took a Minimum Wage job then she would likely keep the vast chunk of her Child Tax Credit, or at least have it made up with Working Tax Credit. The actual amount Leanna is receiving for being a single mother according to the Daily Mail is just £2,160. The Housing Benefit & Council Tax she receives are not expendable by any means other than that for which they are designated, and the amount she is receiving for her 2 bed flat in Croydon is much cheaper that the average house price in London. Leanna's home is £3,600 cheaper than the national average in rent charged a year, and clearly a below average abode. Leanne's rent is £444 a month but the average for Croydon is £840 (proof here).

If you do one last thing today, check the photograph on the Daily Mail article (here). It appears to be one of the most loving and happiest family photographs one could wish to see. I have very little doubt that these two young children are being cared for by a loving mother. What the Daily Mail are loathe to tell you is that to put these two children into childcare would cost more than £10,000 a year, and that for just 25 hours care a week. They will also not tell you that Sure Start has been cut by 27% in Leanne's area (Croydon) since the Tories came to power (here). 

I came from a single parent family, and was raised on benefits. I can assure the hate mob that reacted to the Daily Mail article yesterday that life was not easy. All of my mother's children grew up to pay back in thousands of pounds of taxes, any child benefits we received while we were children. Looking at the family photo of Leanna Broderick, I have very little doubt that the love & warmth she provides to her children will yield fantastic results for society, and the state, when they mature into young adults.


A.S. said...

Thank you for bringing some sense to this story. When I first read the Daily Mail article, I knew what the comments would be like. The Daily Mail is good at baiting its readership and many of them fall for it every time.

I can't see how she can save £250 a month based on the amount she gets in benefits. My guess is that she either has a strong family network or the father of the kids makes a financial contribution or even both.

By the end of the week, I expect the government to announce some new cost-cutting measures which will affect those on benefits. I've noticed that this is a pattern that often follows these sorts of Daily Mail articles.

John said...

Interesting article.
How does she save £250 a month ?

Anthony Ward said...

Caricature is just another form of distraction. All the Establishment press are doing it now: in Rotherham, in Wales, in the NHS, even about same-sex marriage.
The same thing is happening in the Saldhana suicide case: 2 DJs mercilessly depicted as bad guys, woffly pr statements from the hospital...but the widower has doubts. This deserves oxygen of publicity.
Best J

Peter Nicholls said...

I worked out she saved £2000 in a year, thats £38 a week, or £150 a month. She obviously skipped on things for herself. I really am upset at the way people react to this horrid propaganda without even thinking it though. But that's the level of that ilk, I hate to suggest.

The tender at the local petrol station was all for cutting down benefits, citing people he 'knew' swinging the system. Then in the next breath told me he was sick and had to sign on "and all i got was £80 a week - nothing! I couldnt do it again!"

He failed to see that that's all most people get unless they have special needs etc etc . You all know the story and truths. I just wish I knew what to do about all this.

Just incase this get's picked up by anyone, or you're interested, or the search engines find it, let me put a little about myself:

I have long term term health conditions (quite bad CFS/ME, fibromyalgia and depression) and, although I used to be a teacher, I cannot work due to the effects my conditions have on me. So, I claim what is currently Incapacity Benefit (income support). I get £102 a week.

Housing benefit has been reduced from 50th percentile of 'rents' in an area, down to the 30th percentile. I also only get a single room rate, this is about £79 a week.The reality is that there are very few single room properties (unless i want to share with 20 year old students in a house of 4 or 5) that are under £79 a week. Couple to this, most landlords don't want people on benefits. There is not a single social housing flat with one bedroom, at £79, nor will I share with strangers. My rent is £104 a week, taking my £102 a week down to £77.

I had to take a social loan from the DWP to help pay my deposit, until April this is taking £12.50 a week off my income support. So this leaves me with £64.50 per week.

This year alone I have seen my gas and electric bill rise by nearly 10%. My money comes in and it goes straight out again on rent, bills and food- well I say food, my friend buys me my food shopping. I have nothing left over. To the point that friends and family sometimes send me a little money, just so that I can have some variety and get out and about.

I estimated that in three years time, with food and fuel inflation as they are, this would result in an effective cut of around a quarter to my income.

The real question is: how will I manage when I am already struggling to manage right now? This is the real world. This is my world.

MissJuly said...

Thank you for this post. I wish as many people would read this as they did the Daily Mail article. The ignorance of people sickens me, and my hatred for the Daily Mail is increasing daily too.
It disgusts me that even those from similar backgrounds to Ms Broderick have the audacity to attack her over the Internet, knowing full well that what the Daily Fail writes is a load of bull.
I really feel for this girl, and I would love to speak with her to discuss money-saving advice!

MissJuly said...

Good question, easy answer. By buying the cheapest options throughout the year. Going without certain luxuries so she can splash at Christmas. Anyone would think she had done something wring for saving money to spend at Christmas.

This recession has hit us all, and made monsters of most.

Phil Champ said...

"What the Daily Mail are loathe to tell you"

It's spelt "loath".