Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Nov 23, 2015 21:21:03 GMT
Universal Credit benefit reforms shelved for six months
Universal Credit, the controversial reform replacing tax credits and housing benefit, is still awaiting official approval. And some think it may never arrive
The Government is still dithering over a controversial benefit reform six months after plans were supposed to be finalised.
The final blueprint for Universal Credit - designed to replace existing benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance, tax credits and housing benefit with a simpler system - was due to be signed off in the summer.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 6, 2015 11:24:45 GMT
Duncan Smith lies his head off on the Andrew Marr Show
This morning, Iain Duncan Smith told the nation a pack of lies over the apparent importance of his beloved 'Universal Credit' as he bigged it up to such an extent that viewers could almost have been forgiven for thinking it's not only swept the UK but is now ready for extradition in to Europe.
Andrew Marr, in usual lame interview mode, allowed Duncan Smith to completely mislead his viewers in a thoroughly unacceptable misrepresentation of the facts.
Unchallenged, Duncan Smith told us of 250,000 Universal Credit claimants.
Setting aside reservations over the figure itself, let's take a look at how this pales in to insignificance when looking at the number of people who have claimed Jobseeker's Allowance from May 2010 to date:
The figures are shown bi-monthly but represent how many jobseeker's sign up to JSA every single month
Note, how in May 2010 for instance, 350,600 Jobseeker's submitted claims for JSA. In total, when all these individual months worth of JSA claims are added, the total number signing up for JSA comes to......wait for it.......17,267,600......in simple terms an absolutely staggering 17.2 million.......I kid you not, the actual figure is 17.2 million
Now let's see how that tallies up with the very latest figures for Universal Credit, figures which you can access for yourself right here.
Not only does Duncan Smith misleadingly quote the figure of 250,000 claimants, which in actual practice represents the numbers of people who have merely 'registered' a claim (251,32), rather than the considerably lower number of 163,997 who have got as far as starting a claim after signing up to IDS's infamous claimant commitment. The greater omission though is only talk in terms of static numbers.
Given that Universal Credit is still stuck on a very limited cohort of (mainly male single) Jobseeker Allowance claims, if we look at the same period in which Universal Credit has been in operation (using DWP figures from April 2013 to October 2015) we can make a 'like for like' comparison with the true flow of claimants.
Over this time frame we can see how a grand total of 163,997 claimants have started claims for Universal Credit claims, whereas the Office of National Statistics tells us, over exactly the same time span, 6,488,700 claimants have taken up a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance - around 2.6% of the number of claimants UC would need to handle if fully rolled over to all those in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance.
Any benefit has a cycle of claimants which is much higher than the static count.
This cyclical roll is the start of a massive (and hopefully very painful) migraine for Duncan Smith, so far I've only related the cycle to 6.4 million Jobseeker Allowance claims.
What IDS will be all too aware of is that when he extends this 'Universal' benefit, the DWP will need to factor in much greater numbers with people also making Employment & Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working & Child Tax Credits and Income Support claims yet to be included - the overall cycle will be massive - far in excess of the 4.5 million IDS originally forecast would be on UC by this Christmas.
As for IDS claiming Universal Credit makes people better off, he'll not have enjoyed reading the Daily Telegraph's damning indictment of how working people can expect to be considerably worse off once sucked in by Duncan - Smith's new passport to poverty.
In truth, IDS is completely happy for people to be talking about Universal Credit, it's the creation of little more than a mere illusion. Good, bad or indifferent, it matters not, so long as people are talking about Universal Credit, it feeds the illusion and gives you the impression it's sufficiently grandiose to at least provoke discussion - all of which has Duncan Smith feeling his revolution is happening - when in reality the revolution has yet to revolve.
All in all, another pack of lies by the Secretary of State for Work & Poverty, shame Marr doesn't do the decent thing by actually challenging the untruths which unfold on his increasingly poor show.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 8, 2015 21:23:09 GMT
IDS & Freud resort to ridiculing themselves
Talk about two desperate men,
I've already covered the pack of lies Duncan Smith proffered on Sunday's Andrew Marr show, it seems I wasn't alone in unearthing yet more tales of a deluded man who continues to live in a world of make believe and under an absurd assumption he is revolutionising the United Kingdom's benefit system with his infamous 'Universal' Credit.
Oh dear, it can only get worse.
Today was no exception with the DWP Press Office pumping out the latest batch of spin over the success of Duncan Smith's permit to poverty - aka Universal Credit.
Wow! He's gone big guns with Lord Freud and come up with what they jointly term some 'qualitative research' over how well Universal Credit is doing in transforming millions of lives, making work pay, now spreading like wildfire across the UK, moving people from welfare in to work - the revolution is happening according to this latest 50 page report on the DWP's miracle - simplifying the benefits system - hooray!
I could so easily have set about another of my in-depth statistical write ups, come up with lots of graphs and attempted once again to refute this latest batch of wisdom from our dearly beloved friends at the Department of Wicked People - that's DWP by the way - but I think for just this once we can keep this simple.
In all honesty, I think it's a mistake to be drawn in to the myth that Universal Credit is unfolding, we talk of it as though it is live event worthy of continual media mention, endless blogs, reports, and write ups have played in to Duncan Smith's hand because the public really do think this is actually happening. The DWP's qualitative report feeds further the myth that this waste of public expense is worthy of academic scrutiny, it fuels IDS's very obvious state of delusion over the grandiose scale of what he's achieved.
It's classic IDS, big up a non - event, people talk, the media promotes it, by and large all the public gets is this mistaken message that Duncan Smith and the Tories are getting to grips with simplifying the benefits system - no one would call it a bad idea - it's another tick in the box for Tory propaganda and a round of applause as Universal Credit once again hits the news.
The lies which surround it have become an irrelevance.
See this report for what it is, it's total nonsense, a team of researchers and the involvement of IPSOS Mori doesn't detract from the ridiculous content of this report. All the fancy graphs and graphical illustrations, bolstered with reams of text can be shot through in minutes. At first 'wave' the DWP and their researchers polled around 900 people using telephony prompted (leading) questions, the second wave sees this reduce to around 50% of the first as the numbers wanting to answer questions dwindles to a further (no doubt tedious) round of pointless (leading) questions. In a show of sympathy the time involved in the second round involves the target in a conversation (of sorts) of around 15 to 20 minutes - far less than the first round of up to 45 minutes (yawn, yawn).
What it boils down to (I shudder to think how much public money was wasted here) is that around 26 people were picked out for face to face interviewing - of these 23 indicated they'd agree to a follow up call.
As a little incentive the researchers paid a "small cash incentive", always handy when you haven't got a bean to live on.
Laughably the DWP concede to labelling any case involving housing costs as 'complex' and in the interests of something along the lines of 'good practice' people with mental health problems were excluded - leaving the type of claimants who would generally speaking have a better prospect of being able to negotiate the benefits system. There are thrown in to the mix some pretty ludicrous case studies simply saying for example " male aged 35 " - leaving no means of establishing whether these were just another round of fake stories.
Cut through all the bull and the report actually tells you nothing, a few negatives are thrown in for some degree of authenticity I presume, there were no firm examples of identifiable people being moved in to work - just the usual DWP blah blah blah about making it appear IDS's dream is coming true - totally unimpressive and absolutely ridiculous if this is the best they can come up with.
As I say in the preceding post, UC has yet to show it can handle the massive claim cycles involved in benefit claims, a figure far higher than anyone dare imagine. Yet, this is the true test - when millions are claiming and DWP staff are falling - carry out a survey when UC is on anywhere near a full load and the results would be nothing for IDS to do other than feel deeply ashamed of how he's recklessly misled the public over this total non - event of his.
The key message is simple - Universal Credit just ain't happening folks.
In a major report the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said single parents with jobs and two-earner couples on low incomes will lose out as a result of the Tory Work and Pensions Secretary’s new Universal Credit system.
“The long run effect of universal credit will be to reduce benefits for working families on average – a reversal of the original intention, said IFS director Robert Joyce.
Universal Credit is a new individual payment system being brought in to replace a raft of existing benefits over the coming years.
It has been plagued by IT errors and is already years behind schedule.
Errors: Iain Duncan Smith's reforms are already years behind schedule
A separate report by a committee of MPs warns the project is falling further and there is a “long way to go” before it can be fully rolled out.
In a scathing verdict, the cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was “disappointed” to find IDS and his officials “evasive” about the massive delays to the project.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 31, 2016 20:36:15 GMT
Benefit IT blunders mean claimants in Stephen Crabb’s own constituency ‘going hungry’
By Nigel Morris 29th May 2016
Benefit claimants in the Work and Pensions Secretary’s own parliamentary constituency are going hungry because of problems with his department’s computer systems, a senior MP has warned.
IT glitches mean that new claims are simply vanishing, leaving claimants without any of the cash to which they are entitled for three months, according to Frank Field, the chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee.
They are meant to receive their first benefit payments within six weeks.
But Mr Field said he received specific evidence of the blunders hitting people living in Preseli Pembrokeshire, the seat represented by Stephen Crabb, who is in charge of the benefits system, as well as in his own Birkenhead constituency.
He told i he feared that thousands of people across the UK are being affected by the online errors.
And he warned that the computer system underpinning Universal Credit (UC), which is replacing current benefits, might not be able to cope with pressure it faces.
“There are lots and lots of cases in Pembrokeshire, as in every constituency, of people going weeks longer than they should without money,” he said.
“People are being hung out to dry with no income for three months.”
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 24, 2017 21:32:36 GMT
MPs launch official inquiry into universal credit as criticism grows
By Patrick Butler 22 February 2017
Investigation into benefits system comes amid mounting evidence that payment delays have left thousands facing eviction
MPs have launched an official inquiry into universal credit amid growing concerns that design flaws in the new benefits system are leaving thousands of low-income claimants facing eviction and reliant on food banks.
The Commons work and pensions committee said it was compelled to launch a full investigation after mounting evidence that built-in payment delays and administrative blockages were creating severe problems for claimants and landlords.
A Guardian investigation this month found widespread evidence that thousands of tenants on universal credit were running up rent arrears and debts because they could not manage the minimum 42-day wait for a first payment.
Landlords have also criticised the system, with private landlords warning that they will not let to universal credit claimants because of the high risk of rent arrears and problems navigating byzantine official bureaucracy.
Surveys by housing associations have found that up to nine in 10 tenants on universal credit either run up rent arrears or increase the level of pre-existing arrears because so few are equipped to cope with long waits without income.
Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee said: “Huge delays in people receiving payments from universal credit have resulted in claimants falling into debt and rent arrears, caused health problems and led to many having to rely on food banks.”
The inquiry will ratchet up the pressure on the Department for Work and Pensions to review the design of universal credit. It has played down the impact of the 42-day waiting time, arguing that its research carried out two years ago suggests arrears levels fall after three months once tenants get used to the new system.
But the former welfare minister Lord Freud admitted to MPs last month that at least a quarter of tenants on universal credit had run up rent arrears as a result, and he suggested that ministers should consider shortening waiting times for payment.