Everyone, including DWP staff, think IDS’ Universal Credit is a disaster: here’s why

Universal credit was supposed to be introduced by IDS/DWP in September, but the roll-out date continually gets postponed.   The aim is to replace several in- and out-of-work benefits –     job seeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, tax credits, plus housing benefit and support for childcare costs – with one single payment.   However there are snags, big ones:

*  The vast majority of claims are meant to be initiated and managed online, but benefit claimants are the people most likely not to have a computer or are not trained to use it,

*  Payments will be made monthly rather than weekly or fortnight, which will increase the risk of rent arrears especially when support for housing costs will be paid direct to the tenant, not to the landlord as normally at present,

*  A new conditionality will be imposed: recipients will be expected to look for work as soon as their youngest child reaches 5 as well as further away from home, a 90-minute commute being considered reasonable compared to 60 minutes as now.

*  Claimants will also be expected to look for more or better work till a certain level of income is reached, and non-working partners will also have to look for work until the couple cross the income threshold.

*  Those who fail to comply with the new conditionality regime can have their benefits withdrawn for up to 3 years, and sanctions can be carried forward into new claims.   Even if hardship payments are made in cases of sanction, they will be recovered by DWP,

*  The rate of support for many children with disabilities will be substantially less than at present,

*  Adults with disability will be badly penalised: the severe disability premium currently paid to disabled people who don’t have another adult caring for them will be ended, resulting in a loss of £54 a week.   Similarly, disabled claimants who work and get the disabled workers element of Working Tax Credit will lose £54 a week.

*  In-work claimants on the lowest incomes who are deemed not to be looking for more hours or better-paid work could face a sanction with a punitive loss of benefit,

*  Awards to self-employed claimants will be made on the basis that they are already earning a ‘reasonable’ minimum income whether they’re getting that level of income or not,

*  The government have not yet decided how free school meals or free prescriptions will be managed under Universal Credit, but if eligibility is set at lower income levels than now, many will suffer a substantial cut in income,

*  Nor is it true, as IDS likes to claim, that most claimants will gain from Universal Credit: middle-income claimants will come off worst, but even those on the lowest incomes who IDS likes to claim will gain will find those gains will largely disappear once the impact of benefit and tax credit cuts since 2010 are taken into account.

7 thoughts on “Everyone, including DWP staff, think IDS’ Universal Credit is a disaster: here’s why

  1. http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-prime-minister-of-the-united-kingdom-either-sack-iain-duncan-smith-or-demand-his-resignation-2

    The thing is if you are going to roll all benefits into one you also need to include council tax reduction and child benefit and it has to be linked to the tax system and national insurance, pensions disability payments and any other award like cold weather payments and be live in real time. Minimum wage should be increased to a living wage standard and made equal from 16 up. How can a 16 year old live on £2.65-£3.68 an hour when most adults over 21 can not live on £6.19 an hour. https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates . I think we should also adopt UkIP’s tax policy http://www.ukip.org/issues/policy-pages/tax . Zero hours contracts should be restricted but not banned entirely as the do have a use (I am on one). More money need to be pumped into child care and people should not be penalised for not being married. Lower the VAT to 15% and make sure businesses pay the right tax.

  2. I am not a Labour supporter in any way as I feel the 3 main parties have lost touch and direction and trust. I would like to see an in out EU referendum and I would vote out. I also want to be independant from Scotland.

  3. What I find strange is if “everyone” thinks it’s a disaster from within the DWP, then why is it not being fought against tooth and nail by those same people? Because the average Joe outside the House of Commons doesn’t seem to be being taken notice of, unless they’re a statistic amongst the homeless or the dead.

  4. UC is exactly like the USA’s Tea Party thinking – with the same lack of data or simple common sense. Consider a 90-minute commute for adults with children. School gates open at – generously – 8:00 a.m., and to get offspring there and then commute 90 minutes means finding a job that lets you start at 9:30 or 10:00. Then, let’s assume that despite funding cuts after-school club might last until 6:00 p.m., so to get to school to pick up the sprog/s you have to leave work at 4:30. That doesn’t allow for requests for overtime from management, finishing tasks that the job requires, transport problems, or any other career flexibilities normal to adult life. Nor does it add up to FT hours on a M-F schedule. To do this with a 10 o’clock start would mean leaving work at 6:00, meaning childcare from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m., which is expensive IF you can get it for those hours.

    If these louts and fools weren’t elected they’d just be airheaded pub bores, but, elected, they are sociopaths. Why on earth are we taking them seriously? We can do schedules (see above) even if they can’t and these schemes are Alice-in-Wonderland ludicrous. They’re unworthy of adult consideration. As my teenaged son would text: WTF? Labour? Anybody home?

  5. It sounds like common sense on the face of it, to roll several benefits into one, but it requires only a small amount of mental effort to realise the reason the current system is complex is because it needs to be. People in work but on low incomes have a different set of requirements to a severely disabled adult who needs full time care. An able bodied adult who is out of work is different to a single parent of young children working part time. Any attempt to crowbar all of these different cases, with their complex and sometimes conflicting needs and circumstances is bound to end in disaster. Add to that mix the idea of integrating all of this with the HMRC database – in real time! – is nothing more than a flight of fantasy…

    I don’t mean to launch into a personal tirade against a fellow parliamentarian of your Mr Meacher, but all I can say is, if IDS had a brain he’d be a very dangerous man.

  6. IDS does not have a brain and he is a very dangerous man.
    I told the manager of Haringey DWP that the software would crash about a year before it did, so this was on previous experience, entirely predictable. The DWP estimated an extra cost of £2.2 billion and have now revised this in excess of £13 billion. The senior leadership of the project have been replaced several times, effectively leaving the whole thing leaderless. Only 7,000 claimants have been paid UC and IDS describes this as “a success”.
    Words fail me. What criteria might he have for “failure”?
    If he were press officer on the Titanic no doubt he would have described it as a partial success in that it got half-way to New York without a hitch! “I’m a glass half full kind of guy! No ice thanks…whoops!”
    This man should be recycled as lipid fats. My dog could do a better job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *