Don't buy The Big Issue

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Monday 30 March 2015 7.47pm
The big issue was started to help people who were homeless out of homelessness.

Today it is sold mainly by Romanians, none of whom are homeless, and by selling the big issue they can claim a full range of benefits that normally they would not be able to claim, including housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credits at you the tax payers cost.
Monday 30 March 2015 8.02pm
BarneyBy2 wrote:
The big issue was started to help people who were homeless out of homelessness.
Today it is sold mainly by Romanians, none of whom are homeless, and by selling the big issue they can claim a full range of benefits that normally they would not be able to claim, including housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credits at you the tax payers cost.

It would be more accurate to say then "Don't buy the Big Issue off Romanians", no?
Monday 30 March 2015 8.03pm
BarneyBy2 wrote:
The big issue was started to help people who were homeless out of homelessness.
Today it is sold mainly by Romanians, none of whom are homeless, and by selling the big issue they can claim a full range of benefits that normally they would not be able to claim, including housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credits at you the tax payers cost.

Any person residing legally in the UK has the right to claim, if so entitled, to the range of benefits you mention.

There is no rule stating that one must be a Big Issue seller in order to make such a claim.

I urge you to please post here any evidence that backs up your rather sweeping statement.
Monday 30 March 2015 11.07pm
A quick Google for "Romanian big issue loophole" reveals some interesting reading Jules. I am sure you bothered to do the same before posting.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 9.08am
I guess it is a personal choice.. I do NOT buy the big issue anymore for precisely the reason Barney says. In my opinion these people are not deeserving homeless.

Same subject really - As mentioned in a previous thread the (romanian?) beggar on the Cut was there this morning setting up with a lady (wife presumably) They were enjoying themselves, nice and chatty - which is a contrast to later in the day when I pass him as he is begging as follows:-
wretched look on face? check
hand outstretched? check
eyes rolling heavenward? check
wailing "please, please"? check
I guess play acting is all part of the successful beggar act.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 9.15am
"Of the 3,500 vendors currently registered by the Big Issue, 25 per cent are Romanian or Roma, 66 per cent British and the remainder other nationalities."


So, already, to state "Today it is sold mainly by Romanians" is inaccurate.

That doesn't take away though, by the sound of it, that you can literally just walk up to the BI offices and start selling. Surely, they have a responsibility to vet people, especially when they are aware their brilliant idea is being exploited? That would be in their own interest as well.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 10.26am
I don't buy the Big Issue although in the past I have not been averse to giving money to those who I feel deserve it. I am a bit more cynical these days though.

In 2004, I worked in Maiden Lane by Covent Garden. I used to talk to the Big Issue seller, who used to sell outside Sainsbury's (now gone). By his own estimation, he was selling about 200 copies of the Big Issue in a single day and he was there a few days a week. I can't remember how much they were back then, but I do recall that he basically made 50% (i.e. if it was 1.80 per copy then he kept 90 pence). He was basically earning a good living from it and had been for over two years. For me, the whole point of the Big Issue is to help people at a crisis point in their lives. Without being harsh, this chap was no longer in crisis, he was better attired than I was, albeit I was in a suit, and probably had more disposable income than me too.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 10.48am
There used to be a lady in Shad Thames, next to Tower Bridge. She would always read a book, greet people on their way to work. She then stopped appearing and one day there was a note from her daughters, saying she had passed away. I don't much about her, sometimes I gave her money, but others gave her coffee, books and a colleague of mine once gave her a warm jacket. I don't give regularly, but sometimes I do. You don't know all these people's stories, you can't listen to every single one, but there are some seriously distressed people out there who just can't cope. We're relatively lucky in Western Europe, but when you look elsewhere, the reality since 2008 has been very very harsh. Some have started comparing it to the Great Depression.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 10.54am
eDWaRD WooDWaRD wrote:
"Of the 3,500 vendors currently registered by the Big Issue, 25 per cent are Romanian or Roma, 66 per cent British and the remainder other nationalities."

So, already, to state "Today it is sold mainly by Romanians" is inaccurate.

That doesn't take away though, by the sound of it, that you can literally just walk up to the BI offices and start selling. Surely, they have a responsibility to vet people, especially when they are aware their brilliant idea is being exploited? That would be in their own interest as well.

I agree, vetting would be a good idea.

I wonder if those figures are UK wide and how it breaks down for London alone?

Though Big Issue might be like Shelter, another org I no longer support. They have told me they are apparently "required by law" to consider all applicants equally regardless of length of stay in the UK or eligibility to stay here. This has resulted in them pushing many resources into applications for the recently arrived immigrant poor rather than people who have been here all their lives. They don't get my money any more.
Tuesday 31 March 2015 11.20am
As with most things. to let a good thing go down the drain because a minority exploits it is lazy and damaging to the majority that are entitled to their fellow citizens' (voluntary!) support. A "quick Google for "Romanian big issue loophole"" showed a link that says that 66% of BI sellers are British. I don't know how many of them exploit the loophole, so, unlike others, I won't jump to any conclusions, but I still think society is a better place because of the likes of BI. They shouldn't be necessary in the first place, but they are, and it's good that they exist. Maybe they should up their game a bit, make sure only genuine homeless people qualify to sell the BI. I remember "in the old days" when going out and the local drunk was selling BI's he found on the street to get money for a last drink. Sometimes you felt sorry for the guy and gave him the money anyway. Like a lot of other people I am a lot more cynical these days, but I still think that shouldn't be at the expense of people who really need help.
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