giselle97 wrote:Two comments from the Guardian CiF highlighted:ephemerid
08 January 2014 8:29am
http://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/30572376http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/07/benefits-scheme-universal-credit-delays#show-allThe IT problems are one thing; the implementation is another; but the most glaring issue for me, and for anyone who knows how social security works, is that UC as an idea is totally, utterly, and completely wrong.
Social security payments are necessarily complicated because peoples' lives are complicated; all benefits require certain conditions for claiming, and those conditions vary according to the type of benefit claimed.
IDS has told anyone who'll listen that the object of the exercise is to make work pay; the fact is, it already does. Very few people are better off on benefits.
UC was supposed to simplify the claims process (it doesn't) and streamline a group of different benefits (it doesn't).
I have read all the legislation and guidance on UC that DWP has published so far; it is complex, it is intended to bring all claimants of in-work and out-of-work benefits into means-testing, conditionality, workfare, and the sanctions regime.
Far from making people better off, it will actually make them much worse off, with the additional problems associated with sanctions and disallowances.
When Gordon Brown introduced Tax Credits, he did so in an attempt to guarantee a minimum income for people who work - he wanted a universal income guarantee, but was told by his civil servants that such an exercise would be unaffordable in IT costs alone.
The tax credits system ensured that anyone who worked 16 hours or more (the threshold for an employers' Class 1 NI contribution) was able to have an income at £11K PA or so; and they would be unlikely to need more top-up benefits under the prevailing conditions at the time.
Of course, employers saw this as a subsidy and under-employment increased; and since then, rents have increased considerably so people in work also need Housing Benefit on top of their tax credits.
In the absence of a workable universal income, tax credits weren't a bad idea; since the Tories took over (and let's not pretend the LibDems aren't Tories but in yellow ties) tax credits have become much harder to claim because the rates have dropped and the hours required have increased.
Before the election, there were various theories floating about on what form this universal system would take - it started off with the idea that there would be a universal income at around current benefit/pension levels, with top-ups for those who need extra help, such as people with children or those with disabilities.
It was supposed to be simple - but the calculations are very complicated. Now, someone working and claiming tax credits and housing help, gets to keep 76 pence in every pound of gross pay earned; under UC they get to keep 65 pence.
So it will make people worse off.
Universal Credit, if it's ever implemented, will bring 9 million people into means-testing, draconian conditionality, eligibility for workfare, and sanctions - and the UC sanctions apply to the whole of the claim, not just the personal allowance, and only one claim for UC is allowed per household so any sanction will affect all the benefits, including housing and child support.
All the people who currently claim JSA, ESA/IB, Income Support, Carers Allowance, Tax Credits, and Housing Benefit. 9 million people - a third of the working-age population.
That's 9 million people who could potentially be sent to workfare if they fail to satisfy DWP or a WP provider that they are looking for more or better work; 9 million people who could potentially be sanctioned and lose support for up to 3 years; 9 million people who are at risk of destitution if a clerk at a jobcentre or a fairy jobmother at A4E decides they're not doing enough.
In short - UC does not simplify, it complicates; UC will not make work pay, it'll make work pay less; UC was supposed to be easy to access, but it isn't; and UC was supposed to provide a universal system, and it has failed so far.
What Universal Credit actually is, is this - the brainchild of a man who claimed to have had a Paul-esque conversion on the road to Easterhouse, during which he came to believe that all the ills of the underclass of his imagination had nothing to do with systematic under-resourcing and decades of poor government policy and everything to do with quasi-Victorian notions of fecklessness and worklessness, and that he alone had a mission to end it.
What started and was advertised by IDS as faux sympathy for the downtrodden can now be seen for what it always was - utter contempt for those who do not have his advantages of a conveniently good marriage and a career based on lies.
IDS is attempting to engage in social engineering on a massive scale - and he's sulking because experts cannot deliver it for him.
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BettysBlues wrote:Hi there Ephemerid
that is a very good and very chilling take on Universal Credit.
Is there any way you could get an article in the Guardian on it?
More people need to know that it's far from all it's claimed to be. Those that comprise the "working poor" really have no idea what's coming to them - millions of people.
My only hope is that the difficulties with developing the software and/or a new regime after the next election will put a stop to this horrendous upcoming assault on the lives of so many.