Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Tory MP to Control Spending of Poor, Unemployed AND in-Work.

with 22 comments

Alec Shelbrooke’s bill, for a Welfare ‘Cash Card’ has got the attention its non-entity proposer has wished for.

But the proposal to set a spy on every poor person’s shoulder is even madder than other esteemed bloggers have so far noticed.

As his Tory friends note:

This morning in the Commons, Alec Shelbrooke, the Member of Parliament for Elmet and Rothwell introduced a Bill calling for the introduction of a Welfare Cash Card to prevent welfare claimants from buying what Mr Shelbrooke called “NEDD” (Non-Essential, Desirable and often Damaging) items, including cigarettes, alcohol, paid television and gambling. This would apply to all claimants in work and out of work, and would cover all benefits other than disability payments and the basic state pension.

One imagines that those on tax credits will be mightily pleased at having the state tell them how to spend their hard-earned cash.

As for us idlers, we say: fuck off Alec Shelbrooke!

You can contact the man himself here and tell him what you think on this here.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

22 Responses

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  1. I don’t agree with it (in whole or part) but why are disability and pensions excluded?

    As an MP he is well aware of “NED” items… (Non-Essential and Desirable) i.e. every item claimed in his expenses

    Universal Jobmatch

    December 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    • Yes, surely those pensioners fritting their dosh away in binge-drinking riots at the Ipswich Wetherspoons need curbing.

      Andrew Coates

      December 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

  2. Is this likely to get anywhere? I fucking hope not!

    This is the thin end of the bloody wedge!


    Ghost Whistler

    December 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    • The Government has the most chance of passing new laws.

      The whole “cash card” (i.e. the name) shows how poor this concept is… You don’t call a debit card, a … bank cash card… its either cash (banknotes or coins) or card.. right?

      I am assuming this Bill is introduced under the 10 minute bill rule, and most of these die out by second reading… they very rarely get to Royal Assent.

      Apparently, there is 6 million or so at target of these schemes.. You would need to issue everyone a “welfare cash card”… I assume it would be a prepaid credit card. Lets say it cost £1 per card to produce each one. I make that £6 million… a drop in the ocean… the administrative costs are the issue. This would cost an additional £35 per person including the transportation of the cards, the extra mandatory identity checks to avoid misuse/theft and additional staff time to hand out the cards. I make that £210 million. This £216 million wouldn’t restrict how and where the cards could be used. So they would have to roll out something to prevent the cards being used for purchasing NEDD items… it would be costly to contact all shops to reject cards that are branded with a certain theme or text for certain items.

      Of course, its probably a more closed case, where the cards (similar to a NI or phone top-up card but not a credit card) can only be used in selected retailers under a new system which could cost more, or some bolt on to paypoint etc

      You have to give it to Alec… they wanted to introduce vouchers for a while now… having a plastic card is a much better option, but the best is not bother wasting the time to consider stupid proposals.

      The bottom line is, its never going to happen. Another Bent unknown Tory trying to steal a little of the lime light. He already started by calling “Northern Ireland”… Northern Island ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/9533506/Alec-Shelbrooke-Tory-MP-red-faced-after-Northern-Island-Twitter-gaffe.html ) he also is using Linkedin for purposes of corruption (bribes for influence etc. the usual stuff). I am sure by Friday I would have forgotten who this idiot is… and someone saying his name would result in the basic question… “Who?”

      Universal Jobmatch

      December 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      • Well said.


        December 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      • The DWP stopped payment by Giro cheque to save cash; they practically forced claimants (and pensioners) onto bank transfer/post office accounts to save cash. This proposed wastrel of a scheme is something only an ideologically -driven, insane, vindictive, complete nincompoop of a man could come up with.


        December 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

  3. Alec Who?

    What an IDIOT – this numbty needs to go back to school and pass his english exam. I really hope he gets slapped down for wasting the House of Commons debating time with this stupid and costly bill when there are much more important issues to be dealt with.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm

  4. I wouldn’t say it’s never going to happen. People told me for years that workfare would never happen – “the unions will never allow it…” – but look where we are now.


    December 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm

  5. In ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, by Margaret Atwood, the heroine Offred is explaining how easy it was for the government to take over (theocracy). She says first they abolished money and changed it to ‘credits’ on a sort of central computer. The main point about this society is that the only PEOPLE in it are male. They quickly pass in secret, a law saying that no woman may hold money or property. Immediately and without warning their central computer freezes all accounts with ‘F’ on them. When women ask what is going on they are told they must nominate a husband, male partner, father, or other male relative, for the money to be transferred to! Women are non-people. (They later ban being an unmarried couple) Being gay is a capital crime; gay men are hanged, lesbians get killed or put in work camps full of radiation and left to die; some lesbians are put in brothels for the Party officials. The work camps are for the sterile, old, disabled, dissidents, the wrong sects of Christians. Black and Jewish people get deported in big ships. Women get told what their role will be: Econowives
    get married to less rich men and are the wife, sex toy, mother and servant all in one.
    Wives wear blue and are not generally having a sex life with their husband, or not much. Handmaids (red) get sent to couples with a childless Wife, and have to be impregnated by the man. There are also servants, who don’t have sex with the man but do all the housework. And some women are trainers of Handmaids, some are in brothels, and some are spies for the government. Women don’t really have jobs except the Aunts, the ones who force women to be Handmaids. Men if not in the Party get limited and boring jobs; The military, guards, military police, secret police, spies, destroyers of art/literature, drivers, gardeners, bodyguards, servants etc. and shopkeepers. Only a few men are doctors because most were killed and it is a crime to get ill, but they are there just to do sexual examinations of Handmaids to see which to call infertile and condemn to death. Doctors get killed for doing abortions or preventing pregnancy; or sleeping with a handmaid, though they sexually assault them. The doctor Offred is sent to, offers to save her life by raping her and getting her pregnant, but she refuses! Even in the system sometimes men in one of the guard forces get caught having sex with eachother, then both get hanged for it. Women/men also get in trouble for not having enough enthusiasm at executions the people are forced to carry out.

    The computerised system with everyone’s full details on it sounds just like the idea of joined-up data on us, Universal Cretin, Universal Jobfuck. So at a stroke they could take money from, or impose restrictive conditions on, all members of any target group that a current or future government wishes to select.

    It probably wouldn’t be ‘all females’ like in the book. But it could be:
    -All people on benefits
    -All disabled people
    -All black/Asian/foreign people…

    The irony is, now big brother really IS watching us.

    something survived...

    December 20, 2012 at 4:27 am

    • The Handmaid’s Tale is a good flick… well worth the download… 🙂

      Film Buff

      December 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      • There are some quite shocking scenes in that film; besides the hangings, there is that scene in the dormitory where the “handmaid’s” are all packed in like sardines lying on the floor with the searchlight scanning over them; one of the girls is scene to be masturbating and is dragged out to be whipped black and blue and later on hanged for this “offence”.


        December 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      • ffs, death by hanging for having a wank… welcome to Iain Duncan Donuts vision of the future…


        December 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm

  6. Welcome to Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon society


    December 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

  7. We simply have a government that by blaming the poor divert attention from those responsible for the crysis we all face today. They are merely making every effort to ensure the poor facilitate their and the riches needs what with not having the cash anymore after papering over to many cracks in their ill gotten games.

    Bottom to the top people,they cant make you come for help so they intend to force you,humiliate you,make you act out their will.

    Think your not,whos taking from who,whos calling the shots,whos on the work programme with little to no chance of employment,whos made or will be to endure unpayed labour,Whos being told how to live,how to act,how to think.

    So their we are,two sides,one believing they have a right while the other believing they dont,neither backing down but who loses out,yes you,always you.


    December 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

  8. Just a note, the Atos Register of Shame website is NO longer, so the link on your blogroll is out of date, my new website is here?


    Atos Victims (@AtosVictims1)

    December 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    • Have linked. Looks a geat site.

      It’s hard keeping up with blogs, on Welfare many disappear.

      Andrew Coates

      December 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

  9. I know what you mean Andrew, I’ll link your site up to mine also, thanks again mate…

    Atos Victims (@AtosVictims1)

    December 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

  10. Sounds like the identity card scheme via the back door. Cause they only want to keep tabs on the poor. They already know the top guys are baduns cause you cant be rich with out shafting someone on your way up.


    December 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

  11. What Happens In A Situation Like This.
    Your are mandated to apply for a job via UJM. You agree to save your benefit. But then when you click on the apply button.. it returns..Error 404 [if using mozilla] or page canoot be displayed if using ms-explorer worse still it comes up untrusted site [certificate expired]
    and that was for a telephone call centre in Ipswich THE IPSWICH BUILDING SOCIETY AND ALSO HAVEN POWER.. It’s impossible to apply for these posts online. The method wanted.


    December 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

  12. Time to cash in the Azure card

    While the government begins to put measures in place to force people off benefits and into work, it seems they have forgotten about a group of people whom they are forcing to rely on a particular benefits system, because they are not allowed to have jobs. And rather than giving these people an “easy ride” – as many would claim – this system is in fact causing poverty and hardship because it simply doesn’t work.

    Earlier this year, the government rolled out a payment card for all asylum seekers who have had their asylum claims refused and are waiting to return to their own countries, but have no other way of supporting themselves. Previously these benefits came in the form of vouchers; before that, in cash handouts. The “Azure” card is intended to pay for “food and essential toiletries only”, and can only be used in stores selected by the Home Office – these include Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Peacocks and Morrisons. The card only allows users to roll over £5 each week.

    A research report we published on Friday confirms the worries we at the Refugee Council had about the Azure card when it was first introduced. As well as limitations with where the card can be used and what can be bought with it, the card often just does not work at the checkout, which not only causes humiliation, but means people, often women with young children, have to go without food for days on end.

    We have heard countless horror stories from our clients trying to use the card. Take Violet, for example. She lives in asylum accommodation in south-east London and has no choice but to leave her children at home while she walks three miles to the nearest eligible supermarket for her weekly shop – without cash, she can’t buy a bus pass, and the card does not work at the local store at the end of her road, which, incidentally, is also the cheaper option.

    On top of this, her oldest child has had to start school without a uniform, since the card won’t allow her to purchase clothing. The bus-pass problem also meant she had to miss her latest appointment at the Home Office, and now she is terrified she and her children will be detained for absconding.

    Violet’s story is typical of the people who responded to our research. Sixty per cent had experienced the card not working, including 13 people with children, while 79% reported that shop staff had refused the card, despite being in the specified supermarkets. Almost half had been unable to buy food that met their dietary, religious, or cultural requirements in the specified supermarkets.

    But above all these technical difficulties, one of the most distressing things our clients recounted is the feeling of shame and stigma using the card has caused them. Hostile attitudes from shop staff, and being labelled as an “asylum seeker” by being the only one with such a card, contributed to feelings of isolation and anxiety among 56% of our respondents.

    The payment card system has to stop. We understand these are hard economic times for everyone, and we are not asking for a rise in levels of support (though at around £5 a day it is a wonder how they manage). So the taxpayer won’t have to fork out any more for this group. We are simply asking for a change to the way it is being distributed – for these asylum seekers to be given their support in cash, like any other benefit. That way they could spend the money as they wish, allowing them to live in dignity while they wait to return home.

    The Refugee Council, together with the Scottish Refugee Council, the Welsh Refugee Council and the North of England Refugee Service, is asking the government to ensure that, while it looks to improve the asylum process to ensure that people such as Violet get a quick and fair decision on their case, they must also use this opportunity to end this inhumane system of the payment card now.

    Time to cash in the Azure card


    December 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

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