Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Benefits Chaos in Store for Us, Does Labour Offer a Solution?

with 15 comments

The Guardian reports on a major speech to be given today by Liam Byrne, their Shadow Minister  ,

“The coalition’s benefit cuts have descended into “chaos” that will cost an extra £1.4bn because of delays, extra claimants, waste and complaints,Labour claims.”

This is the bit that concerns us lot most,

Labour said the biggest cost would come from the government’s probable failure to meet its targets on the youth contract, which pays employers to hire young people. The government is projected to miss its aim of subsidising jobs by 92%, meaning 147,940 more young people on the dole at a cost of £9m a week in 2014.

The party said another large extra cost was caused by universal credit, a scheme to make sure people get all their benefits in one lump sum. Labour said this would need £300m in 2015 as the project had been hit by delays and IT problems.

“Universal credit was once a flagship, now a sinking ship,” Byrne will say. “If we don’t fix this mess, millions of families’ tax credits will be put at risk – along with billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”

Labour also pointed to fraud and error costing £140m, the £119m cost of extra benefits caused by an under-performing welfare-to-work programme, and an additional £102m to implement the bedroom tax – cuts to housing benefit for households with spare rooms. It said tribunals related to people challenging cuts to their disability benefit would cost £290m.

Byrne will also call on ministers to impose a deadline on the healthcare company Atos to “turn things around or lose its contract” …

The BBC has just reported the speech Liam Bryne actually made,

He said Labour backed Universal Credit, which is due to replace the majority of out-of-work benefits by 2017, “in principle” but “the implementation is a disaster,” with extra costs likely to add up to £300m to implement by 2016-17. Mr Byrne says he has written to the DWP to call for cross-party talks “to see exactly how bad things are” with universal credit and “what’s needed to fix them”.

Labour would bring “social security spending” under control and “tackle these delivery problems head on”, he said.

The BBC’s Political Correspondent,  Vicki Young comments,

A closer look at Mr Byrne’s speech reveals that his criticism is directed at the delivery of the programme rather than the principle.

He actually backs work capability tests for the disabled but believes another company should get the contract.

On Universal Credit, he says it’s a good idea, but needs to be implemented more efficiently – even the DWP admits it hasn’t been a smooth path.

As the Guardian noted,

” Miliband has said the coalition’s welfare cuts will be a “starting point” that cannot be reversed without savings elsewhere, but promised an approach to benefits that will restore the “dignity of work”.”

Need we be reminded that it James Purnell, as Work and Pensions Secretary under Gordon Brown, who first put forward the idea of cutting welfare?

The final nail in social security’s coffin came with the demise of the Department of Social Security in 2001 and its replacement by the Department for Work and Pensions. The significance was underlined by James Purnell when he became secretary of state seven years later. He called it “an ideological break with the past” and dismissed the very notion of social security: “Security as something handed down; welfare as bureaucratic transfer; people as recipients of funds.”

Liam Byrne also has form on this kind of thing,

Extracts from Liam Byrne’s speeches of the past.

1. In 2011, Byrne told Labour conference: “Many people on the doorstep at the last election felt that too often we were for shirkers not workers.”

2. He told LSE a year ago: “Labour is the party of hard workers not free-riders. The clue is in the name. We are the Labour party. The party that said that idleness is an evil. The party of workers, not shirkers.”

3. An ally of Liam Byrne told the Mail on Sunday in Dec 2011: “Decent Labour voters see their neighbours lie about all day and get benefits while they are working their socks off, and say, ‘Why should I vote Labour when they let this happen?’”

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15 Responses

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  1. Looks like Bryne is on the way out,

    “Byrne is unlikely to be in his brief after the reshuffle. In the words of one Labour MP, he has “badly lost the confidence of the PLP” and Miliband’s team were furious when he recently fractured the delicate welfare compromise negotiated by the leader by attacking the coalition’s benefit cap as too soft, declaring that “ministers have bodged the rules so the cap won’t affect Britain’s 4,000 largest families and it does nothing to stop people living a life on welfare.” I’m told that the intervention was unauthorised by Miliband’s office and was regarded as “deeply unhelpful”.

    The view among many in the party is that if Labour is to reach a position on welfare that both its MPs and the electorate can live with, then it is essential for Miliband to appoint a shadow work and pensions secretary who is trusted by backbenchers. Just as only Nixon could go to China, so only a leftist can sell Labour’s new position on welfare to a sceptical PLP..”

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/08/why-liam-byrne-set-be-ditched-milibands-reshuffle

    Yuk!

    Andrew Coates

    August 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

  2. I have a few questions for Mr Milliband.

    The only way for the benefits regime to ever work properly is to treat every case as individual. Currently 1 size fits all – you can be signed off sick by a GP or hospital consultant in the morning, then fail the ATOS assessment on the same afternoon. How many millions are wasted every year on these medicals that get overturned in many cases?

    Proper skills taught by colleges and hands on experience are needed to get people working, not CV writing and silly employability courses provided by the leaches we have come to know as private providers. Skills that will enable the unemployed to be able to apply for the skilled vacancies that pop up every day. Where is the support?

    Investment in creating jobs and helping people to help themselves rather than importing migrant workers and spending money on kicking the unemployed when they’re down. Until the failings of the current system are addressed there is no hope of reducing the unemployment figures. How many people have spent 2 years on the WP and come out 2 years later exactly where they started and how do they plan to work towards a solution?

    Chris

    August 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    • I also believe a major plank of any reasonable strategy for employment is the Living Wage.

      Instead of making life on benefits so miserable people have to do to Food Banks, we should have a decent minimum.

      Those in work should get an increase – the “living” wage, that is that makes it possible to do without credits and the rest.

      That was employers won’t be tempted to recruit the cheapest workers they can get (making us fight amongst ourselves and other people from the EU).

      That way people in work will not be pitted against those on benefits.

      That way we’d pump money into the real economy, not just let it shift off into the hands of tax-avoiding rich.

      Which reminds me – people seem to have forgotten about them recently.

      Andrew Coates

      August 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

      • Nice try Andrew, I don’t suppose the very fact that benefits amounts are tied to wage levels has got anything to do with this post or should I say a certain paragraph. lol

        This funny observation aside I agree, people who work shouldn’t ever have to go for a handout in todays society, your quite right.

        The trick as always is how and what to implement without everyone closing shop and going abroad. Ive looked into this actually and it appears companies through their profits could supply welfare themselves thus reducing the burden on workers tax/ni contributions. Infact if all were honest global businesses everywhere could supply global welfare.

        Im still fine tuning the model but maths wise the hypothesis is sound and in my opinion who better to control it to as no employer would let any workforce sit idle, they know what they want and how to get it so with an oversight committee added on I think its a win, win.

        Ive heard you use to or are a journalist Andrew so I would appreciate any input you might have on this or even concepts of your own on the subject of where should we go from here.

        gaia

        August 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

  3. Liam Byrne, I thought he was a (blue) tory, he is a (red) tory though.

    What if work is a job with no dignity? No hope, future, enjoyment, variety, autonomy, way of ever getting out? If people work on workfare then they are still working hard (for nothing) so that’s the same situation. Has not mentioned people who collapse during Workfare and CAN’T work. Atos, don’t sack them, string them up. FAMILIES: he talks about them like they’re sacred, but only normal ones in work and earning enough to satisfy him. of course all the POOR families are still families too. He’d rather split them up and stick them in B&B’s or under a bridge.

    yesterday I thought:

    From: Department of Workfare and Pickaxes
    To: David Cameron
    Re.: Compulsory workfare
    Dear Spammeron,
    We are so pleased to hear that you have injured your back. A remote-sensing robot computer from Atos referred your case to us. As a supporter of workfare, you will no doubt be delighted to learn that you have been specially chosen for a placement, lasting indefinitely and starting at 5am tomorrow (7 days a week till 8pm, lasting indefinitely). Your new unpaid workfare placement (we have no funding for PPE or lifting equipment) is as a Labourer, laying paving slabs. You were perfectly matched to this Opportunity by the computer at Universal Jobmatch. We plan to cure your slipped discs (Psychosomatic condition) by firm application of heavy manual work until your body becomes Nonviable and we can delete your physical form. Have a nice day.

    something survived...

    August 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm

  4. Liam Byrne is a Class Traitor, utter fucking SCUM. I for one will NOT vote Labour!

    Landless Peasant

    August 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  5. “he signalled Labour wants to get universal credit and other major schemes back on track, rather than scrap them altogether.”

    “Byrne said Labour would focus on cutting the overall benefits bill by getting people back into jobs through welfare-to-work schemes”

    What an absolute twat.

    Landless Peasant

    August 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  6. “Liam Byrne said he hoped Universal Credit could be saved and suggested Labour would work with the government to “get things straight””.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23768436

    what we are seeing is the emergence of a one policy state,both parties working hand in hand.an Americanisation of culture.sadly the easy target and demonising of those on benefits is paramount in this reality.

    ken

    August 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

  7. Andrew Coates :
    Looks like Bryne is on the way out,
    “Byrne is unlikely to be in his brief after the reshuffle. In the words of one Labour MP, he has “badly lost the confidence of the PLP” and Miliband’s team were furious when he recently fractured the delicate welfare compromise negotiated by the leader by attacking the coalition’s benefit cap as too soft, declaring that “ministers have bodged the rules so the cap won’t affect Britain’s 4,000 largest families and it does nothing to stop people living a life on welfare.” I’m told that the intervention was unauthorised by Miliband’s office and was regarded as “deeply unhelpful”.
    The view among many in the party is that if Labour is to reach a position on welfare that both its MPs and the electorate can live with, then it is essential for Miliband to appoint a shadow work and pensions secretary who is trusted by backbenchers. Just as only Nixon could go to China, so only a leftist can sell Labour’s new position on welfare to a sceptical PLP..”
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/08/why-liam-byrne-set-be-ditched-milibands-reshuffle
    Yuk!

    Won’t matter. Whoever replaces Byrne will say and do the same things. The problem is with the party, not just this one man. Miliband is a huge liability.

    ghost whistler

    August 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm

  8. Labour are just a (sick) joke now.

    ck

    August 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

  9. WOW, has everyone forgotten FND. Labour are exactly the same as conservatives on welfare, Infact every trick the cons use now is really a carbon copy of labour when they were in power. I would forget any chance of a party coming to your aid, its never going to happen.
    Even unions are using it as an excuse to look good while having a stab at government.

    Im afraid we are all really alone but that’s not a bad thing as their are over 1.5 million of us claiming unemployment benefits and even more whether working or not claiming housing benefits and lets not forget the disabled, sick, elderly and even the disillusion youth. Banded together would be a formidable force that not even the governments army could stop short of firing on in a heinous fashion. Now you know why their changing or trying to ASBOS and their agreement with Europe as its easier than you think to form this alliance if everyone is dedicated enough.

    With this alliance in turn we could approach unions who will jump at the chance I suspect of increasing their bargaining power and lets not forget trusts, charities and the likes all trying to get a piece of government time and ear.

    The very fact alone if done that the government were aware of this alliance would make them have to spend more taxpayer money to sway these organisations from teaming up with the alliance, thereby further reducing the claim that well you didn’t lower spending and that despite caps, cuts and austerity we are really no better off than when you weren’t in power which in turn effects their vote ratio again.

    Getting people to think what you want is easy, this government do it everyday, the question is as always is “how much of your own blood are you willing to offer, how much are you willing to suffer until victory” and of course “would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of others even if that meant giving up your life” ?

    To answer this is to answer ones own true convictions.

    gaia

    August 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    • I have not forgotten the Flexible New Deal – far from it.

      It was a failure.

      The rot set in when New Labour started farming out public bodies to private providers, and (above all under David Blunkett) began to use companies like A4E.

      The unions, through the TUC and the Unemployed Centres, strongly protested, but were not listened to.

      Still Blunkett did well out of it: he was able to indulge his taste for the finer things in life.

      Andrew Coates

      August 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

  10. Whoever you vote for the government still gets in. Even if you don’t vote!

    Work or suffer, potentially die. That’s the way I see and experience it.

    I feel for the people who have no support going through this alone.

    Mr No

    August 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  11. Dear Liam Byrne,
    Workfare has determined that your perfect job (*starts tomorrow) is as a rabies tester, happy dying.

    something survived...

    August 25, 2013 at 6:00 am

  12. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.

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    February 9, 2014 at 7:32 am


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