MP Simon Hart has defended his claim that every constituency in Britain has its own ‘benefits street’.
Mr Hart made the comment in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Question Time, when he raised concerns over the welfare state which is portrayed in the Channel 4 programme Benefits Street.
The Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP told PM David Cameron that “sadly” there was a ‘benefits street’ in “every constituency in the land”.
Speaking to the Western Telegraph afterwards, Mr Hart said he was happy to stand by the comment he had made.
“However, I am going to stop short of saying where my constituency’s ‘benefits street’ is,” he added. “I would rather not say.”
Mr Hart continued: “Everybody I meet and know, whether they are in politics or not, is aware that there is a little corner in their area where this is a potential problem.
“It may only be three houses, but they exist, and we would be kidding ourselves if we were to say otherwise.”
He emphasised that the benefits system should not be a ‘lifestyle choice’ but should be there for those in need of it.
However, he accepted that some people had become trapped in the benefits system, and that it was important to get them out of this.
“If we can release people from the trap, then hopefully we will be able to provide more benefits for those who really deserve them.
“We need a re-balancing act, to make sure that the system is as fair as it can be. Our task as a government is to try and do whatever we can to rectify the situation.”