Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Skint, Channel Four: Is this How We Live?

with 15 comments

Last night I watched Skint, a Channel Four ‘real-life’ documentary about the long-term unemployed.

It’s set in Scunthorpe, on the Westcliff estate.

Dean, who used to work at a steelworks but had been on the Dole for a year.

37 years old he lived with his wife Claire and their seven children and stepchildren.

This is how the programme is described on its site,

Skint tells the provocative and revealing stories of people who are in long-term unemployment, have never worked, or are growing up without any expectation of working.

At its height Scunthorpe’s steelworks employed 27,000 people. It now employs a sixth of that number. With work in the town still hard to find, the people featured in this series are thrown back on their own resources.

Told with energy, humour and boldness, the series offers an insight into their lives, highlighting social issues such as youth unemployment, crime, welfare dependency, truancy and addiction; but with the characters also revealing their ingenuity, resilience, community support and love and pride of family.

Skint gets behind the headlines as people who are often maligned for their lifestyle offer their own story and show the real impact of worklessness.

Public life seemed to centre on a hanging-out point, a wall.

When they were not showing people with major personal crises, like teenager, Connor who’d been excluded from seven different schools, and his long-suffering (lone-parent) mother Jordan, they were shooting scenes of people trading and swooping dodgy goods.

Shoplifters came with delicacies like Bernard Matthew’s turkey products.

Apparently these were flogged by the local junkies.

Personally (I’m sure I speak for most of us) I would walk ten miles in tight boots rather than have anything to do with hard-drug users, but there you go.

The screaming fraught scenes shown are not to everybody’s taste either.

Knowing – and seeing – that this kind of thing goes on does not make it any more typical.

Most long-term unemployed are a lot, a hell of a lot, more ordinary and would no doubt not make good documentary material.

“Quiet desperation” is a phrase invented for them.

Still Skint is more real and even funnier than the dire ‘sitcom’ on ITV about a Job Centre, the Job-Lot.
I’d put the cast of that series on the Westcliff Estate and see how they fare.


15 Responses

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  1. SKINT

    Now begging could be outlawed:


    What will the penalty be? Heavy fines for the skint?


    May 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    • It is significant in the above report from Aberdeen, that Labour Councillors are in favour of banning begging.

      Yes, the propaganda war against the undeserving poor in the shape of the workshy and sturdy-beggars (and even the disabled), is not aimed solely at disgruntled elderly Conservatives, as the following report in today’s Guardian reveals – although it only reveals what regular and discerning readers of Ipswich Unemployed Action are already aware of long since:


      Divide and conquer; neighbour against neighbour. A dangerous policy.


      May 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      • People begging can be arrested and prosecuted under the following powers:

        – Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3). Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging. It is a recordable offence and carries a level 3 fine (currently £1,000)

        – Highways Act 1980 (section 137). If a person wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway they are guilty of an offence. This carries a level 2 fine (currently £500)

        – Public Order Act 1986 (section 5). Causing harassment, alarm or distress. This carries a level 3 fine (£1000) or a penalty notice of £80



        May 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

      • Begging can be extremely aggressive.

        Andrew Coates

        May 15, 2013 at 10:40 am

    • Does anybody know if the Vagrancy Act was ever repealed. They can you this to ”move people on”

      Access Allowed

      May 14, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      • Sorry the keyboard stuck

        I shouuld have said if the vagrancy act has not been repealed they can use this to move people on

        Access Allowed

        May 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm

  2. The Job Lot: “It’s not a target, it’s a spotlight, it’s where we aim for.” “Like a target” lol 🙂

    The Job Lot

    May 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    • FAO “The Job Lot”

      At real life Jobcentres, “targets” (for sanctions) are not referred to as sanctions; the word “expectations” is used instead!!!


      May 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm

  3. “The City of London and the Offshore sector – The Enemy Within”



    May 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    • And there’s this,

      Colchester: Charity’s warning over debt distress.

      “At Clacton’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, financial capability planner Lee Fraser said he has seen a rising number of people seeking guidance about debt issues over the past few years. In 2010/11, CAB advisors across the Tendring district dealt with 5,200 cases of debt totalling around £22million, while in 2011/12 6,000 debt cases representing £30m were seen. And Mr Fraser says the figures for the financial year just gone, which have not yet been fully-collated, show another rise in debt cases.

      He said: “People are struggling to pay council tax for the first time and dealing with the bedroom tax. It’s causing a lot of heartache and affecting their mental health capacity.

      “Many of the people living on benefits are the ones who are living with debt – be it doorstep loans, catalogues or payday loans. These aren’t like normal loans. You don’t get a letter asking for payment. People get contacted by phone and by text – some times every hour. There’s only so much people can take.

      He added: “The burden falls on men in particular who in their role as a breadwinner take on most of the debt and try and run a family at the same time.”


      Andrew Coates

      May 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

  4. I say don’t knock drugtakers or unemployed or criminals as with out these people thee would be a lot more people unemployed .as with these people doing what they doing there would be no need for police probation officers councillors prison officers these people when you think about it long and hard keep lot people employed with out them be lit YOU LOT ON THE DOLE


    May 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  5. Stop press Tory government in act of compassion 300 and odd people in danger of losing thier Jobs government acts fast and radically.

    They are of course tory mps in danger of losing their place at the trough


    May 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

  6. Probably a lot of squatting space in the house of commons~?

    something survived...

    May 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

  7. Yes! Finallу someone writes about guaranteed no fax payday loans.

    next day payday loans

    June 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

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