Begging pays more than MPs earn

Apparently the average beggar can earn about £30 an hour. Hey, that’s the equivalent of £1,200 a week, or £5,200 a month, which is £62,400 a year – not far off what an MP earns.

Let’s chew that over once again. A beggar earns almost as much as an MP. And since they never pay tax on it, they probably ‘net’ more than an MP!

Of course, the average beggar doesn’t work 40 hours a week. Instead, they ‘work’ until they have enough to buy their next fix of heroin or crack and alcohol.

Were they to ‘work’ continuously they would be able to afford a life of luxury that those hard working ‘mugs’ giving them the money will never know. Indeed, over the decades there have been revelations about people who have given up ‘city jobs’ in order to earn far more by begging. Somebody not being a waster or junkie can apply themselves to the task and can live very happily, thank you.

To prove this very point, I recently spent a week begging.

Yes, I know!

I targeted the centre of Liverpool and so the tourists. I sat in doorways next to cash machines and late night convenience stores holding a piece of cardboard with a pathetic message on it. I approached people very politely as they were waiting at bus stops or coming and going from train stations. I stood in busy shopping areas just looking odd and holding my hand out.

I wasn’t aggressive and I didn’t have a dog. Either or both can enhance your takings, apparently.

So how was it, you may ask.

Well, on the negative side I was verbally abused most days. On two occasions I was physically harassed and jostled, which, not being used to it as real beggars surely are, I found extremely alarming and distressing.

But on the positive, I did manage to pocket just under £650 tax free! This was across 7 days with a total of around 24 hours of ‘work’.

The minimum I was given was a pound, and I noticed that asking for a specific amount – “£2 towards food and lodgings” – prompted them to give me more. The maximum I was given was a £10 note, about which I did feel considerably guilty.

I think I was very lucky overall to not get my head kicked in. Kicking beggars is a sport, apparently. It’s the sport of drunken gentlemen later at night. There is also a bit of a ‘mafia’ that somehow controls who is allowed to beg where within prime locations. The ‘mafia’ don’t appear to be English. Newcomers can get their heads kicked in, I was told on a few occasions.

Outside of this set of rules, and the wild cards of the scary people who really should be locked up because they have very serious mental health issues, everybody seemed very ‘nice’.

Obviously, the whole story is a lot longer than my summary here, but, I am extremely surprised by the level of generosity that ordinary hard-working people seem to have. They ‘give’ not realising how much a beggar ‘takes’.

I was tempted to keep the £650, however, I stuck with my original plan to donate it entirely to a charity based in Liverpool that tries to help those with drug problems. In a way, I reasoned, I was collecting for charity all along, not for myself.

In many ways, what we need is for people to stop giving to the beggars directly, but instead start to give to the charities that exist to try to help the genuine cases of people who have fallen off the ‘path’.

If people realised just how much beggars can make over an average week, for it to all then be passed on ultimately to the drug dealers and pushers, maybe they’d stop feeding the problem and try to help fund a real fix for it.