Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale MP Philip Davies has hit out at “too generous” benefits after watching controversial Channel 4 television documentary Benefits Street.
The Conservative MP for Shipley spoke out on the documentary – which shows benefits claimants smoking many cigarettes and watching satellite television – saying his hard-working constituents “cannot afford such luxuries”.
Mr Davies also said benefits were clearly too generous, as it appeared the claimants featured in the documentary could also afford new tattoos.
The first episode was aired last week, showing residents on James Turner Street in Birmingham discussing their dependence on benefits as well as featuring shoplifting sprees and fraud.
Channel Five recently aired a similar programme called On Benefits and Proud.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Davies said: “Has the Secretary of State managed to watch Benefits Street and On Benefits and Proud?
“If so, has he like me been struck by the number of people on there that manage to combine complaining about welfare reforms whilst being able to buy copious amounts of cigarettes, have lots of tattoos done and watch Sky TV on the obligatory widescreen television?
“Does the Secretary of State understand the concerns and irritation of many people who go out to work every day, pay their taxes, but who cannot afford those kind of luxuries themselves?”
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said: “Many people are shocked by what they see, but the reality is that is why the public back our welfare reform package to get more people back to work to end these abuses.”