Newspaper condemned after linking welfare benefits to child killer Mick Philpott

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  By a Newsnet reporter
 
A newspaper has been condemned after it claimed convicted child killer Mick Philpott was a product of the welfare state.
 
The Daily Mail caused outrage after its front page contained an image of the convicted killer alongside the six children who died after he set fire to the family home – with a headline that read: ‘Vile Product Of Welfare UK’.

Many people reacted with fury at the right wing paper, which described Philpott as a “drug-taking layabout, who embodies everything that is wrong with the welfare state”

Writing in the Independent, Owen Jones called the Daily Mail’s headline: “shameless, grotesque [and] vile”.

Other commentators accused the newspaper of trying to exploit the tragic death of six children in order to score points against the benefits system and those claiming benefits.

In Scotland, despite the newspaper’s Scottish edition not printing the headline, Scottish politicians slammed the headline with SNP MP Pete Wishart saying, “most Scots would find it disgusting” and Green MSP Patrick Harvie contemptuously saying people wouldn’t “wipe their arse with it”.

The decision to link the dreadful deaths of the six children with welfare benefits follows the introduction of savage cuts imposed by the UK coalition.  The highly controversial Bedroom Tax was part of a raft of new reforms aimed at cutting the amount the UK spends on benefits.

The reforms were described as “historic” by the Daily Mail which has a history of arguing against what it terms the ‘Culture of Benefits’ and ‘handouts’.

On Monday, the day the reforms came into force, the newspaper wrote of the bedroom tax: “The ‘bedroom tax’ is in fact a re-allocation of housing benefit away from people with spare rooms towards people without.”

The controversial ‘tax’ that sees people on housing benefit facing cuts if they are deemed to have a ‘spare’ bedroom has already led to thousands taking part in protest marches in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Daily Mail has also taken a vociferously anti-independence stance and the decision not to run with the headline in Scotland may have been due in part to a fear that it may have alienated many of its Scottish readership.