Did this man really spend £10k of benefits on prostitutes? We’re sceptical

Daily Express is keen to believe his boast, but let's think this through

 

The Daily Express gleefully reports today that a ‘jobless layabout ‘ has boasted of spending £10,000 of benefits on prostitutes.

Out-of-work builder Carl Robinson, 26, said:

“I will get a job at some point but at the moment I’m enjoying myself and paying for sex. I have spent over £10k of benefits on hookers. It is a lot but it is money well spent.”

A charming boast to make. But the Express seems uninterested in the important question of whether it’s actually true.

The Department for Work and Pensions was no help, bleating: “After looking through their system for ‘Carl Robinson’, without any key identifying details, they have ascertained that they are unable to say definitively if he is claiming.”

Thank heavens that has been ascertained. But why were they not provided with any other ‘identifying details’? If the Express can speak to Robinson and take his photo, why can’t they ask for other details? Very curious.

Regardless, is Mr Robinson’s claim true?

Working with the story’s sketchy information, MediaWatch can surmise the following:

The only benefits Robinson is said to be receiving is £170 a fortnight of Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA). He is said to have started claiming and using the money for prostitutes three years ago.

Assuming he received this benefit all year for three years, this would amount to £4,080 a year and £12,240 in total.

For his claim to be true, he would have to have spent £10,000 out of this £12,000, or 83 per cent of his money, on prostitutes.

This would leave him with £2,000 for food, travel and so on, for three years. 

Given that this is the case – and again, relying on the information in the Express story – we echo David Hume in asking:

Which is more likely? That Carl Robinson survived on £2,000 for three years while spending the other 83 percent of his benefits on prostitutes?

Or is it more likely he made it up? (or is massaging the truth, or the story has left out some key information)

Time will tell. We expect a correction or clarification within the week.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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8 Responses to “Did this man really spend £10k of benefits on prostitutes? We’re sceptical”

  1. Selohesra

    Another possibility would be that he did a bit of cash in hand work whilst claiming these benefits meaning he would not have to survive on £2K for three years

  2. GTE

    So how can Lord coke spend 400 quid on hookers plus extra for coke, when his expenses are only 300 quid?

    Answer he has other sources of money.

  3. Clive

    JSA is only £72 a week. £53 for those 25 years of age or less. I should know because I claim it. Where does the Daily Express (or the young man) get £170 a week? I wish!

  4. Giles Farthing

    if there is anyone out there who needs to get laid, i’d say it was Adam

  5. Cole

    Or that he’s a boastful idiot and that the story is a lot of nonsense.

  6. Ken Bell

    Hmm, lemme think…

    Yeah, if someone offers a story that is tailored to an individual paper’s needs, and offers a photo to boot then the chances are that the paper will buy it. If he is feeling very lazy then he can approach any number of agencies who specialise in selling tales to the press and they will take his photo, write up the story and then punt it as ready made copy that just needs to be slotted in.

    I doubt if this fella got rich from the tale, but he probably trousered a 100 quid.

    Update: I checked the story and the photo carries the credit of SWNS, so he most likely got in touch with them and they sold it on to the Express for a cut.

  7. Ken Bell

    Hmm, lemme think…

    Yeah, if someone offers a story that is tailored to an individual paper’s needs, and offers a photo to boot then the chances are that the paper will buy it. If he is feeling very lazy then he can approach any number of agencies who specialise in selling tales to the press and they will take his photo, write up the story and then punt it as ready made copy that just needs to be slotted in.

    I doubt if this fella got rich from the tale, but he probably trousered a 100 quid.

    Update: I checked the story and the photo carries the credit of SWNS, so he most likely got in touch with them and they sold it on to the Express for a cut.

  8. RVP

    Those are his expenses, not his wages.

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