'It doesn't do genuine people justice': MP hits out over latest episode of Channel 4's Skint Britain show recorded in Hartlepool

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has hit out after the latest episode of the TV show Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits.

Speaking after the second episode of Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits aired on Wednesday night, Mr Hill said he continues to be unhappy with the way the issue and the town is being portrayed.

The three-part Channel 4 show is filmed in Hartlepool which was one of the pilot areas for the roll-out of the Government's new benefits system.

Universal Credit, which is aimed at getting people on benefits back to work, replaces six other benefits with a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income.

The show aims to portray how the system has impacted on people's lives and the second episode shows people turn to crime as they struggle on the new system.

Startling scenes show how some residents in the town have resorted to selling stolen goods, searching for scrap metal and shoplifting as an attempt to survive.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said he is still unhappy with Channel 4 documentary Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said he is still unhappy with Channel 4 documentary Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits.

At the end of the episode a statement which appears on screen reads that the Government says there is no evidence to link Universal Credit with a rise in crime.

But Mr Hill says that he disputes the statement saying: "Where people are destitute because of things like being sanctioned and having £5 to live off for a full month, where people have hit rock bottom, clearly there is a likelihood that crime may occur.

"Universal Credit will have had an affect and the Government can't deny that."

But the Labour MP said he was still dissatisfied with the portrayal of the issue in the programme.

Darren says he has to resort to robbing drug dealers with a knife after his benefits were sanctioned.'Image by Channel 4.

Darren says he has to resort to robbing drug dealers with a knife after his benefits were sanctioned.'Image by Channel 4.

Mr Hill said: "I am still unhappy with it, as it still portrays Hartlepool in a bad light.

"It fails to focus on the true impact of Universal Credit as felt by the hundreds and hundreds of people in my constituency.

"People who are genuinely suffering in silence, people at food banks, people who are having disability benefits taken off them.

"The impact Universal Credit is having on people in the town just is not coming through in a way that properly demonstrates the true impact of things like sanctions and underpayments, having to access food banks.

Hartlepool resident Graham is forced to resort to shoplifting to survive. 'Image by Channel 4.

Hartlepool resident Graham is forced to resort to shoplifting to survive. 'Image by Channel 4.

"It doesn't show any of that and it doesn't show the kind of support and community support that is available for these people or what people do on a daily basis to support people in need.

"None of that is properly portrayed and that is part of the story - the fact that so many people in our town do what they can to help other people.

"Although the programme didn't absolutely portray Hartlepool as the Wild West it still remains that there are elements of poverty porn.

"It doesn't do genuine people justice."

Video by Channel 4.

John Watson has set up a security services firm. 'Image by Channel 4.

John Watson has set up a security services firm. 'Image by Channel 4.