Sheffield MP Louise Haigh has criticised the BBC for a planning a ‘Hunger Games’ style TV contest for the least well-off.
She raised concerns at the broadcaster’s plans to make Britain’s Hardest Grafter, which will see a group of unemployed and low-wage workers try out a series of ‘real world jobs’, according to a brief published by the BBC in January.
A participant will be eliminated each week until one is crowned the winner of a £15,000 prize.
Ms Haigh, who represents Heeley, said: “Do you share my concern about the news the BBC is due to air a programme entitled Britain’s Hardest Grafter, which has been dubbed the Hunger Games for the unemployed?”
“Can we have a debate on whether the BBC is fulfilling its objective on airing programmes of quality and distinctiveness?”
Answering during the weekly business statement, Commons Leader Chris Grayling replied: “I think you make an important point. It is certainly the case that challenges in our society should not be used to create showbusiness opportunities and so I would always ask all the broadcasters to approach the work they do on analysing life in this country and elsewhere with the utmost caution and sensitivity.”
The BBC brief said: “These jobs will take place both out in the workplace and within the confines of a specially created factory, a warehouse space, which over the course of five episodes will be transformed to cover the UK’s largest blue collar sectors. The contestants are all there for one reason: to make money.”
It continues: “The series will tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time: why is British productivity low? Is the benefits system providing many with a reason not to work or hindering their working opportunity?
“Is the hidden truth about immigrants simply that they work harder than Brits - and we need them as much as they need us - or are they simply prepared to work for a lower wage?
“And have the young simply not inherited the work ethic of older generations or have working conditions just got too hard? Who in Britain still knows how to graft? It’s time to find out.”