Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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‘Skivers against Strivers’ – examining the welfare myth of ‘them and us’

One of the UK’s leading social policy experts, Professor John Hills, headlines an impressive panel for a book launch organised by the Bevan Foundation and the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD).

Professor Hills, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, will present the key findings of his book ‘Good Times, Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us’.  Professor Hills, will be joined by a panel of Professor Ian Rees Jones , Director of WISERD and Liz Withers, Head of Policy of Citizen’s Advice Cymru.  

Professor Hills’s book uses extensive research and survey evidence to challenge the view of a divide between “strivers and skivers”.  According to Tom Clark’s review in the Guardian of 11th December, the book is both ‘meticulous‘ and ‘disruptive‘.  

Commenting on his findings, Professor Hills said “The debate around ‘welfare’ contrasts a stagnant group of people benefiting from it all, while the rest pay in and get nothing back – skivers against strivers; dishonest scroungers against honest taxpayers; families where three generations have never worked against hard-working families; people with their curtains still drawn mid-morning against alarm-clock Britain; ‘Benefits Street’ against the rest of the country; undeserving and deserving; them against us. We are always in work, pay our taxes and get nothing from the state. They are a welfare-dependent underclass, pay nothing to the taxman, and get everything from the state.

“But the evidence shows that the rapid changes in people’s lives mean that this picture is far from reality.  Our complex and ever-changing lives mean that all of us rely on the welfare state throughout our lifetimes, not just a small ‘welfare dependent’ minority.  The myths about where our money goes and who benefits from it feed the illusion that big savings in spending can be made just from ‘welfare cuts’.  But with only £1 in every £12.50 we spend on the welfare state going on cash benefits for those who are out of work that is not the case.”

The event is kindly sponsored by Mick Antoniw AM and will take place at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay, 9th February, 2015, beginning at midday.



For further information, please contact:

WISERD Communications Team
Telephone: 029 2087 0026


Notes to editors:

About the Bevan Foundation

The Bevan Foundation develops ideas that change Wales and improve people’s lives. We use evidence to produce innovative solutions, and share our and others’ knowledge and experience to shape public policy and practice. We are a registered charity, independent of government or any political party. We are funded by membership subscriptions and donations, grants from charitable trusts and by trading as a social enterprise.




The Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) was established in 2008 to draw together and build upon the existing expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods and methodologies at the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales and Swansea.

WISERD undertakes research and capacity building activities that facilitate the development of research infrastructure across the economic and social sciences in Wales and beyond.  The WISERD hub is based at Cardiff University.



About Mick Antoniw AM

Mick Antoniw AM is a Welsh Labour & Co-operative politician, who has represented the constituency of Pontypridd since the National Assembly for Wales election of 2011. He was a practising solicitor before his election to the Senedd, specialising in personal injury. Antoniw was a partner in Thompsons Solicitors, the specialist trade union solicitors, with whom he began his training in 1980. Antoniw is a trustee of the Welsh Refugee Council.




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