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Benefits Street told to film elsewhere

AN MP has urged the makers of the controversial Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street to film "somewhere else" - adding to the list of towns that have withdrawn the welcome mat.

Tory James Wharton, who represents Stockton South, said the programme was "the last thing we need" as the town near Middlesbrough was "headed in the right direction".

Mr Wharton said a TV crew had been seen in Dixon Street this week, and he believed the area was being considered for the next series.

He has written to Richard McKerrow, the Creative Director of Love Productions which makes Benefits Street, to express his concern that filming in Stockton could leave viewers with a negative, unfair image of the town.

He said: "This is the last thing we need. I am proud of our town. I was born and raised in Stockton and I do not want its reputation damaged by a trashy TV programme.

"Stockton is doing well, unemployment is falling, new companies are opening up and our town is headed in the right direction. This sort of cheap TV could undermine that. Benefits Street focuses on a minority of people and presents them in the worst possible light.

"The Government is doing a lot to ensure those who want work are helped and that welfare is no longer an option for those who refuse to look for employment, the system is changing for the better and unemployment fell in Stockton South every month last year."

He added: "Channel 4 should take Benefits Street somewhere else, it has no place in Stockton, a town on the up where things are improving."

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