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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