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Channel 4 show Benefits Street exploits the poor, says Birmingham MP

Ladywood's Shabana Mahmood shocked that TV company would 'present poverty as entertainment'

Shabana Mahmood

Benefits Street was condemned by MP Shabana Mahmood (Lab Ladywood), whose constituency includes James Turner Street, where the show was filmed.

She said: “I found it shocking that Channel 4 or any other organisation would present poverty as entertainment. It was profoundly wrong.

“There was nothing in the programme that suggested this was a serious look at the challenges, the issues that people face when they are on benefits.

“They were basically just taking poverty and trying to find the most entertainment value out of it that they could.”

She added: “There was also a specific issue around the criminal acts being filmed. Most of the programme was given over to two men who were out on the rob.

“I have been speaking to the police to make sure proper action is taken, because there is no excuse for that regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in.”

She said that while it did not excuse crime, it appeared that one of the men was a drug addict and may have other health issues.

“They were filming a very vulnerable person and dressing it up as a programme investigating what life is really like on benefits when really it was just for entertainment.”

 

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