Angry campaigners have accused the BBC of jumping on the poverty porn bandwagon with a new show which has parallels with the Hunger Games.
‘Britain’s Hardest Grafter’ will pit benefits claimants, migrant workers and people on the minimum wage against each other in a competition to see who can work the hardest. One of the aims of the show is to answer the question: ‘Is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work’.
The BBC is currently seeking participants for the programme and offering a cash prize to the winner of £15,500, equivalent to a year’s income on the minimum wage. The 25 chosen contestants must currently be getting wages or benefits totalling not more than £15,500 a year.
They will then battle against each other in a fake factory built by the BBC with licence payers money. The least productive workers will be expelled in each episode until only one is left standing.
The BBC has denied that this is exploitative entertainment designed to mock the poor and reinforce ugly stereotypes. Instead they claim that:
“The series will tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time: why is British productivity low?
Is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work or hindering their working opportunity?
Is the hidden truth about immigrants simply that they work harder than Brits – and we need them as much as they need us – or are they simply prepared to work for a lower wage?
And have the young simply not inherited the work ethic of older generations or have working conditions just got too hard? Who in Britain still knows how to graft? It’s time to find out.”
The claim that this is somehow a scientific examination of social issues is a jaw-droppingly cynical piece of marketing.
In reality, ‘Britain’s Hardest Grafter’ is simply an opportunity to steal ratings on the back of stirring up more prejudice against young people, ethnic minorities and anyone struggling to survive in austerity Britain.
A petition against the programme being shown has gathered 13,000 signatures on Change.org.
Meanwhile, Benefits and Work is hoping to see a cast of 25 recently unemployed MPs being chosen to do a hard day’s graft, possibly for the first time in their lives.
Source – Benefits & Work, 29 May 2015