Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 22, 2015 19:42:25 GMT
Surely it's time to end this farcical pretence?
Universal Credit is already at the end of the line
lt was inevitable....
Putting a clueless and totally out of touch minister from la la land in charge of welfare reform could only end up a disaster.
For nearly 5 years we've had Iain Duncan Smith continually promising us he would deliver us a welfare revolution. Every 'flag ship' idea he's ever had has caused untold misery and despair for thousands and thousands of benefit claimants who've been kicked to a point where they've probably become used to the unacceptable level of pain so cruelly inflicted upon them. He's been telling us how his number one solution, Universal Credit' was the answer to it all.
Those who have never had to rely on the welfare state have never had a taste of how utterly punitive it has become. These are the same people who will take to the polls in May, only two months away, and vote for more. Little do they realise that in so doing, they are potentially exposing completely innocent people to five more years of the worst possible welfare reform this country has ever had inflicted upon it.
They consider Duncan Smith a safe bet because, in their innocent eyes, he seems to talk a lot of sense.
In truth, IDS is out of control and it's the media who is allowing him to run riot.
IDS has brainwashed too large a chunk of the UK's welfare illiterate electorate, in aiding and abetting him the right wing media should hang their heads in shame.
How can anyone argue against simplifying the benefits system? How can anyone argue with rolling up a complicated array of different benefits and combining them in to 'one single streamlined payment' so as to ensure every single claimant gets an opportunity to see how 'work always pays'?
IDS has bitten off far more than he can chew, his overly simplistic view of welfare is based on traditional Tory ideology and a total lack of appreciation of complexity. IDS also has an inherent inability to own up when he's gone off the rails and believe me that happened sometime ago as far as these treacherous reforms are concerned.
The obvious point is if it's so simple: how is it that nearly half a decade on, IDS's 'revolution' hasn't even started to happen? - it's a figment of his imagination and a total waste of money.
Let's look at the abysmal state of Universal Credit 'progress', or as IDS's puts it 'carefully controlled slow roll out so we can iron out problems as we go'. Not that a slow roll out bothered IDS when it came to ESA assessment with a humungous three quarter of a million people awaiting an assessment, or come to that over one million having to fight tooth and nail in a tribunal for a paltry component payment of ESA; and not forgetting the other quarter of a million awaiting one of those delightful Personal Independence Payment awards if only they were so lucky....
Ah, so where are we at with the slower than slug pace of Universal Credit? Perhaps I should remind you of the meaning of the word, "applicable to or common to all members of a group or set", "of worldwide scope or applicability" good grief, it must be sweeping the UK as if swamped by a mega mile high tsunami....
Is IDS having a laugh?
November 2011 and IDS said he'd have a million lives changed with his revolution, yet here we are in January 2015 and there's only a teeny weeny 35,620 people touched by Universal Credit? Fetch me my calculator.....well blow me, he's all of 3.6% on 'target' using figures for 2015, which you may have realised will have made last April's figures even worse. Indeed my trusty calculator shows that if we use the DWP's somewhat more generous figures for 'claims' as opposed to 'starters', we see that as of the 24th April 2014, IDS was actually 99% 'off track' with a lower than low number of 11,610 having claimed (marginally over 1%) - and people applaud this minister???
Whilst we're on the subject of 'claims and starters', allow me to initiate the uninitiated. A starter on Universal Credit is someone who has got as far as having gone through the claims process and signed up to the claimant commitment. The c/commitment is IDS's very own version of the ten commandments; of which one is (according to the gospel of Saint Iain minister for sacred welfare reform) " thou shall have to play by the rules or you won't be getting a single penny from thine Secretary of State for Works & Pensions". On the other hand, a 'claim' is someone who's actually got through to someone at the DWP either by phone or via the internet and got themselves logged as a 'claimant'.
It's one almighty handy definition of terms. One which allows IDS to boast the following 'key message' through the DWP website:
Sounds so much better don't you think?
Using 63,690 as the 'claim' figure is one heck of an improvement on the 35,620 claimants who, shock and horror, are actually on Universal Credit - in IDS numbers it's almost double the true number (percentages are so tedious at times) but hey who's counting?
Shall we turn our attention to a slightly more in depth look at the lowly numbers languishing on Universal Credit?
Well, here's a turn up for the books. The almost exclusively men only front - benchers who brought this dreadful attempt at welfare reform in to legislation will be delighted to know, Universal Credit is a predominantly male orientated specimen. IDS is choosing his guinea pigs carefully; a very unequal 70% are male claimants:
Yep, 70% .....
And all whilst Esther McVey's been giving hashtag #NotJustForBoys large all week after finding the time to talk on that TV programme 'Loose Women'. Little did Esther know that her boss has let 24,900 more men loose on Universal Credit than the 10,720 women who've had a taste of the revolution unfolding all over Great Britain; predominantly focussed on an area of the north west nearest to where she lives.
The revolutionary tide of welfare reform reaches high water in Oldham where no less than 3,780 unsuspecting, mostly single male, Universal Credit guinea pigs have commenced their DWP 'customer journey'. Life will never be the same again, for their lives are about to be transformed forever more. Other UC guineas in Kendal and Irlam are few and far between with just 10 in each JCP hutch awaiting their first monthly payment in arrears
So how universally is Universal Credit helping claimants of all ages?
Hmm, not so universal it seems....
As can be seen, UC isn't exactly reaching out to those aged 50 or above.
Which I find a bit odd really when considering how the top UC area in Great Britain, Oldham, has a total working age (key benefits) claimant count of 23,590 of which (in May 2014) 3,910 were on JSA, 11,580 on incapacity and Employment & Support Allowance and 2,460 were lone parents. Of the 23,590 in Oldham those age 50 or over accounted for 8,310 of the claimant count as opposed to 2,960 age 16 to 24.
In other words, IDS is particularly targeting young males with uncomplicated claims, mainly single and probably more likely to find work than the 50 plus group who by and large stand very little, if any chance, of having their lives transformed by IDS's far from revolutionary attempt at welfare reform.
Someone see sense and remove this dreadful minister from his post with immediate effect; he's an absolute disaster and needs to be stopped before his dreadful reforms go any further.
You know, those upward climbing graphs which attempt to make it look as though it's all working.....
For crying out loud!
Iain Duncan Smith has had two years to roll out this masterpiece of his, his revolution isn't evolving, the nonsense this man gets away with defies belief.
The entire Welfare Reform Act of 2012 is built around Universal Credit providing the solution. Nothing stands a chance of fitting in to place unless it provides the £7bn worth of savings he promises from its delivery. Given, the snails pace progress, we are absolutely light years away from anything happening which can be chalked up as a success.
Forget all the hype about 85,110 'claims' (which is dire enough anyway), none have got as far as IDS's infamous claimant commitment and therefore have not actually started their claim. It's like applying for a mortgage, until you've got it, you are without the mortgage you've applied for.
So, let's just deal with the real numbers. The sum total of claimants who have actually on Universal Credit at some time between April 2013 and 12th March 2015 is 52,630.
To give you an idea as to how much of a drop in the ocean we are talking about,take a look at how many people actually took up a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance in the most recent ONS figures for the month of March 2015: the figure shown here:
The above excerpt from the ONS data tables show that despite a low figure of the overall number estimated to be within the Jobseeker Allowance (JSA) claimant count of 772,400 a total of 181,500 claims were made for JSA in just one month. Over the last year the total number of Jobseeker's Allowance claims was 2,385,500 (2.3 million).
Since April 2013, the total number of JSA claims came to 5,402,100 (5.4 million). A 'universal' credit figure for all claims started over the same date range is a pitiful 52,630 against what would be a national JSA caseload of up to 5 million people (although a number of these will be contribution based claims which are not included in Universal Credit).
Universal Credit is often compared against the static count of claims, but the real number is the high turnover of on and off flows shown in the ONS table above. But remember, Universal Credit isn't just replacing Jobseeker's Allowance, it has to extend to a high number of the 2.5 million claimants currently on incapacity benefit claims - Employment & Support Allowance (many of which will be income based), not to mention Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. The total number of flows is light years away from anything Universal Credit has so far handled.
Here's the dreadful figures....
It's also worth pointing out that the 'in work' figures for Universal Credit are not ones which can be relied upon as any evidence that claimants are in work because of Universal Credit. A person who, for instance, is in a Universal Credit area may already be in work and not on any benefits. If his or her hours changed they may have (under the old system) become entitled to Tax Credits or Housing Benefit. In a Universal Credit area they would have to make (as a person already working) a claim for Universal Credit.
The MPA gave Universal Credit a “red-amber” rating for its confidence in the delivery of the project, a status that is defined as: “Successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas. Urgent action is needed to ensure these are addressed, and whether resolution is feasible.”
However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted that the change in the lifetime cost is simply due to a change in the way the figures are accounted for, by assessing the running costs of Universal Credit (UC) over more years, up to 2023/24 instead of 2021/22.
“There is no increase to the budget for Universal Credit, this is just an accounting measure which includes the cost of running Universal Credit over more years. In fact we’ve reduced the investment costs for Universal Credit by 25%. When fully rolled out UC will bring economic benefit of £7bn a year," said a DWP spokesman.
The MPA review said that delivery of Universal Credit remains on track against plans announced in September 2014, when Her Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury) agreed the business case for the programme.
The DWP comment on the costs included in the MPA report said: “The budgeted whole life costs reflect the Strategic Outline Business Case approved by HM Treasury. This figure excludes the impact of further savings expected.”
Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has previously insisted that the financial benefits of Universal Credit far outweigh its costs. The National Audit Office said in November 2014 that the "net present value" of Universal Credit in the DWP business case was £20.7bn.
The controversial welfare scheme aims to replace six existing benefits. A limited version of the programme is being rolled out across the country, but only targeting the simplest of claims, and using an IT system that will mostly be thrown away once a new digital service currently under development has been completed.
The digital service, which will eventually support the full roll-out of the new benefit nationwide, started a trial in one postcode area of Sutton in south London at the end of 2015, and has recently been extended to another postcode in Sutton, as well as one in neighbouring Croydon.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 11, 2015 21:46:32 GMT
Universal credit roll-out in chaos say Reading council leader
Cllr Jo Lovelock told Reading Borough Council of 'incompetence on a large scale' in the changeover to universal credits
By Linda Fort 11th July 2014
The roll-out of universal credits by the Government has seen “incompetence on a large scale” according to Reading council leader Jo Lovelock .
Cllr Lovelock was responding to a question from Cllr Jan Gavin about the “uncertainty that timescales for the roll-out of universal credit would be met.”
She wanted to know if the council now had “a clarity of process and timetable?”
Cllr Lovelock said little had changed since Cllr Gavin asked about universal credits at the March full council meeting.
She told the Reading Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, July 7, said: “The Government told Reading that Universal Credit is to be rolled out in Reading on September 21, 2015. We are advised that in this tranche they will only be considering single claimants under 25 with no housing cost.
“We are advised that the timetable will be accelerated moving forward however there is still little information regarding this and the speed the Government anticipates the project being completed.”
She said according to a press release: “Universal credit would be available at all Jobcentres across the country next spring 2016.
However Cllr Lovelock said Universal Credit would be available at 260 Jobcentres across the country from May 11 - but primarily for single customers.
She went on: “There has been no other information released since I last updated you other than it will be accelerated. Therefore the position remains the same.
“New claims for housing benefit are due to end between May 2016 and December 2017 rolling out on a geographical basis.
“The migration of existing benefit claims on to universal credit will not begin until January 2018.
“The migration of employment and support allowance and tax credits cases (along with associated housing benfit claims) will ‘occur at some point’.”
Cllr Lovelock went on to say the roll-out has been “chaos” and revealed “incompetence on a large scale.”
Universal Credit is the Government’s new benefit scheme which involves a single monthly payment for people in or out of work and merges together existing benefits like jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit.
The ludicrous man told us of his government's timetable to "move 12 million claimants on to the new benefit (Universal Credit) by 2017"....
Overall, by the end of December 2015, he predicted 4.5 million claimants/beneficiaries would be on Universal Credit
A question I think....
Yes, it was 4.5 million claimants and beneficiaries who none other than Iain Duncan Smith predicted, back in 2011, how the first tranche of half a million JSA claimants would move to Universal Credit, followed by a second tranche of a further half a million ESA and Tax Credit claimants by the end of the first phase. He then predicted (it's all in the text above) that by the end of the second phase a further 3.5 million would be transferred, making a total of 4.5 million by the end of the second phase; with the third phase commencing 'at the end of 2015'.
It is therefore little wonder that the OBR in their latest 'Welfare Trends' reports have revised their 'assumptions' four times over the predicted case-load for the number of claimants tied to Universal Credit as a case-load statistic. Clock the forecast:
How is it possible for Iain Duncan Smith to be able to get away with making wild forecasts, as he did in 2011, that 'nearly twelve million' people would be on Universal Credit by 2017?
How can he get away with telling the public that by the end of this year, 4.5 million people would be on Universal Credit either as a claimant or beneficiary when the reality is that the latest Statistics show just 86,665 mainly single people have in fact started a claim?
None of the OBR assumptions even suggest 12 million people would be reached by 2017 (even when taking in to account partners or child beneficiaries).
Hardly any wonder the OBR pours scorn on the whole wretched project and sums up the prospects of bringing in fiscal savings as succinctly as these buried statements:
"The rollout of universal credit is not associated with large planned savings"
"Universal credit is not yet a major factor in our medium-term forecasts..."
"...recent history of optimism bias in universal credit plans.."
"...will pose many of the same delivery problems as the reforms to incapacity and disability benefits..."
I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the miracle IDS purports to be performing in his 'reform' of the welfare state.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Nov 6, 2015 20:43:31 GMT
George Osborne in conflict with Iain Duncan Smith over universal credit
Work and pensions secretary fears chancellor’s proposals to cut spending to partially fund anticipated tax credits U-turn could undermine scheme’s effectiveness
By Andrew Sparrow 6th November 2015
George Osborne is at loggerheads with the work and pensions secretary over proposals to cut spending on universal credit by more than £1bn a year. The chancellor is considering the move – which Iain Duncan Smith fears could drastically undermine the effectiveness of universal credit – as a means of partially funding his anticipated U-turn on tax credits.
The savings would be achieved by changing the taper rate that applies to the new benefit. Currently it is set at 65% – meaning that for every extra £1 claimants earn above a threshold, they lose 65p – but Osborne is looking at a proposal to increase this to 75%.
Duncan Smith is resisting this because one of the key aims of universal credit is to increase work incentives. A taper rate of 75%, alternatively described as equivalent to a marginal tax rate of 75%, would make it hard for Duncan Smith to argue that universal credit is structured in a way that encourages people to work longer hours.
According to a source familiar with the dispute, the Osborne proposal could save the Treasury around £1.5bn a year, which would help fund the remedial measures being planned to alleviate the impact of the £4.4bn tax credit cuts.
Osborne was forced into a rethink after the House of Lords voted last month to block the measures until the government comes up with a plan to compensate those losing out. The Resolution Foundation thinktank said that under the original plans, 3.3 million families were set to lose an average of £1,300 from next April.
The chancellor will announce his revised plans in his autumn statement on 25 November. So far he has said almost nothing about how he intends to lessen the impact of the planned cuts. Experts have warned that increasing the income tax allowance or the national insurance threshold – two options that have been floated – would do nothing to help a large chunk of claimants, because 43% of households receiving tax credits earn less than £1,000.
Read more of IDS's Universal Fiasco in the Guardian
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Nov 18, 2015 20:21:03 GMT
Flaws in universal credit system leaving vulnerable people penniless, says study
Built-in delay of at least 42 days before claimants receive payments leaves people struggling to pay bills and buy food, says Citizens Advice
By Patrick Butler 18th November 2015
Design flaws in the government’s troubled universal credit system are leaving vulnerable claimants hundreds of pounds in debt and dependent on food banks, according to a study of how the system is working in practice.
The main cause of difficulty is a built-in delay to universal credit which requires claimants to wait at least 42 days before receiving a benefit payment. This has left some claimants penniless, stressed, forced to borrow cash to pay rent or utility bills and struggling to buy food.
The system, which is being being slowly rolled out across the UK and is years behind its original schedule, is also dogged by computer processing errors, poor communications with claimants, and delays in fixing simple administrative problems, says the study by a group of Citizens Advice offices.
It says that although universal credit assumes claimants are paid monthly in arrears – and therefore if they lose their job they can manage until their first benefit payment – half of low paid workers are paid weekly, meaning they must last for six weeks on a single week’s money.
More than 60% of the study’s respondents reported that they had found it “very difficult” to pay rent, utilities and food bills during the 42-day period. A third had waited even longer for their claim to be processed, with one in 10 waiting at least 63 days.
The study says these problems undermine the aims of universal credit because “claimants are forced into focusing on getting their benefit income into payment, finding food for their families and negotiating late payments of bills with their landlords and others instead of looking for work”.
The Citizens Advice study was based on 350 universal credit claimants who had presented with benefit problems at 16 of its offices in England and Wales between March and June 2015. The study says that although this cohort is not representative – because it studies only those claimants who have had difficulties with universal credit – it indicates serious problems that will proliferate as universal credit rolls out.
Flaws in universal credit system leaving vulnerable people penniless, says study they now this they new alot wouldnt be able to cope with this system but one wonders is this man so deluded with this uc that he cant put it aside has its failed yet the tories aktion against benefit claiments is this bringing back that aktion t4 plan of culling the stock it doesnt see, so far fetched now jeff3
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Nov 23, 2015 21:11:07 GMT
Residents left without food or electricity while waiting for first benefits payment, according to Citizens Advice Bolton
By Andrew Bardsley 23rd November 2015
PEOPLE claiming the new universal credit have been left unable to pay their rent or afford food or electricity, according to a report co-authored by Citizens Advice Bolton.
Bosses from the advisory organisation presented their report at the Houses of Parliament, which aims to highlight problems with the new benefits system.
The report claims four out of five people surveyed by Bolton and 15 other Citizens Advice offices were unable to pay for such basic items while waiting for their first payment.
It says admin problems had contributed to the delays, such as claimants being asked to send documents which had already been provided, and claims being lost within the IT system.
Richard Wilkinson, chief officer of Citizens Advice Bolton, said some changes have been made but that there was more to be done.
He said “We agree that the benefits system needs simplifying and we support Universal Credit and its aims. However Universal Credit will not achieve its aims unless the problems identified in this report are resolved.”
Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, also met a representative from Citizens Advice Bolton and received a copy of the report ‘Waiting for Credit’. She said the report "revealed flaws in governments troubled Universal Credit system".
Mr Wilkinson added: "At Citizens Advice Bolton we help approximately 1,300 people a month of which 500 will normally relate to welfare benefits and over the past year have become increasingly involved with clients claiming Universal Credit who have either needed advice on how to claim or help with dealing with issues they have experienced when making their claim.
"One of our core aims is to use these experiences as evidence top research and campaigns in order to give people an opportunity to be heard so we were pleased to take part in this important piece of research.
At the launch of the report in London, at which MPs and members of the House of Lords were present, the report and its recommendations were referred to Lord David Freud, the minister of state for welfare reform."Our contribution was substantial and the results of the report are very reflective of the experiences of the people of Bolton."