Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Still in the Doldrums.

with 59 comments

James Bloodworth writes, “Just a fraction of the people the government wants to move to Universal Credit have been put on the new payment system, according to new statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
13,260 people have been moved onto universal credit since it began in April 2013. Of these, 11,070 were still claiming by the end of August 2014.

This means that work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is 986,740 short of his original target of one million people to be moved to universal credit by April 2014. IDS is also far short of his revised target of 184,000.

The latest statistics show a large disparity in the number of claimants across the country. Oldham, which was one of the original pathfinder sites, had a caseload of 2,240 claimants at the end of August. Meanwhile Birmingham and Rochdale had 10 (see chart). The low number for Rochdale is probably explained by the fact that the system only went live there recently.

Universal Creditj

A report from the Work and Pensions committee of MPs warned in April of this year that it was still not clear whether the universal credit roll-out would actually work.

“Whilst it is right to ensure that the system works properly before extending it, there is a difference between cautious progress and a snail’s pace,” said committee chair Anne Begg MP.

“Given the excruciatingly slow pace of roll-out to date, it is hard to see how the most recent implementation timetable can be met,” she added.

Given today’s figures from the DWP, the roll-out of universal credit doesn’t appear to have significantly picked up the pace.

 

More on Left Foot Forward.

This, by David Finch from the important Public Finance bulletin (10th September) , raises wider concerns,

Universal Credit attempts to be a big bang solution to the complexities of the welfare system but new incentive structure could undermine the intended benefits

Despite parties gearing up for the next election and the chancellor already placing further spending cuts to welfare firmly on the table, attention has moved away from the expected impact of Universal Credit on families, and has instead turned to the implementation issues that have dogged it so far.

Cuts in welfare spending have already made Universal Credit less generous than originally envisaged and it is unclear what the impact of Universal Credit will be when it does arrive.

As a paper published today by Resolution Foundation argues, simplification of the benefit system is certainly a positive step. Universal Credit is a radical and big bang approach to dealing with the often confusing complexities of the current benefit system. A single benefit will ease the process of moving into work by removing the need to claim different benefits.

Financial rewards to start work are improved through work allowances (effectively earnings disregards) which mean that the initial earnings of a household, up to 20 hours of work at the minimum wage for a couple with children, are kept before any benefits are withdrawn.  Once earnings go beyond this point UC is withdrawn at a single rate of 65p for every additional pound of earnings.

But this new incentive structure creates its own problems. For some, particularly those claiming support with their housing costs, the point at which this allowance runs out is much lower, for a couple with children claiming support with housing costs it is equivalent to working eight hours at minimum wage.

A new regime of in-work conditionality is expected to counter the risk that people who now find it more worthwhile to enter work at a low number of hours get stuck in those jobs. People will be expected to be earning the equivalent of 35 hours at minimum wage or risk having their Universal Credit award reduced.

Finch then states,

“… the radical nature of this system should not be underestimated.  Little evidence exists to inform its design which is a huge departure from the current role of Jobcentre Plus. Yet the policy design is still not complete and it is unclear whether the default of an evolved Jobcentre Plus is the correct agency to deliver such support. “

Is this news item related?

Iain Duncan Smith’s department has raked in nearly £120,000 from calls to Government helplines.

Pensioners and redundant workers are among people forced to pay the rip-off phone charges.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mr Smith – already under fire over his discredited Bedroom Tax – may now have to explain why his department still has 0845 numbers for its helplines.

The Government has pledged to stop using the numbers, which cost up to 41p a minute from a mobile phone.

But Labour MP Roger Godsiff has discovered the DWP has made £117,000 during the past five months from the high-rate numbers.

Among the DWP helplines with the 0845 prefix is the Future Pension Centre which gives pension statements and information.

Higher rates are also charged on the Redundancy Payments helpline.

The DWP gets 0.3p per minute from every call to its 0845 numbers, which is then spent on operating ­other phonelines.

Daily Mirror.

The new system, and the present system, are unfathomably complex and people often ring up the DWP to try to get help.

The benefits system increasingly relies in Call Centres, and we learn they may introduce (as with other government agencies) voice recognition questions.

The application by phone system will be another hurdle for people to jump over.

Remember: we will all end up on Universal Credit….sometime, or Never?

Labour in power could abandon universal credit (19.9.14.  Inside Housing)

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

59 Responses

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  1. I’m not surprised Howard Shiplee has thrown a sickie, who could blame him? But I don’t see why we should still be paying him £200K pa to sit on his arse at home watching SKY tv all day long. Send him to ATOS for a genuine miracle cure.

    Landless Peasant

    September 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

  2. As for IDS, I hope he gets struck by lightening. What an utter bastard.

    Landless Peasant

    September 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

  3. The programme might be stuttering month in, month out but the support by all parties remains at full steam.

    Take this committee, what have they achieved really, how far have they gone to seek retribution.

    Whether claimants like it or not, universal credit for all intents and purposes doesn’t look like its coming off the table.

    gaia

    September 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    • It genuinely is ludicrous that this is kept going.

      Remember that this is going to affect anyone on any kind of benefit.

      Millions and millions of people, in work and out of work.

      A real scandal.

      Also, I mention ‘voice recognition’ .

      This is already sued in helplines for the Tax Offices.

      It means that when you call up you have to answer questions to get through to right service.

      Voice recognition regularly fails people with accents, those who don’t pronounce clearly and so on.

      Benefits claims are increasingly made by phone – and you have to pay since they took away the service in Jobcentres.

      Problems with Universal Credit will be dealt with by this clapped-out method.

      And so it goes.

      Andrew Coates

      September 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      • This voice recognition business appears to me to be nothing more than government seeking to ignore their responsibilities towards serving the public.

        May I ask all claimants not to except this and always choose the option to speak to an operator or you just might find your rights being eroded even further.

        DONT LET GOVERNMENT BOIL DECISIONS DOWN TO A YES AND NO BASIS.

        gaia

        September 21, 2014 at 8:11 am

      • Yes it is genuinely ludicrous but to stop now would be to admit they got it wrong, and they’ll never do that.

        Huggy Bear

        September 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

  4. I agree,you would think call it what they like it is in reality multiple benefits which rely on on different conditions. trying to tie all these somehow to make it easier .the saying its easier said then done,or a fool beleaves.

    Ian duncan smith has succeeded in one respect,creating chaos.people dying before they receive their entitlement.it just keeps happening,the longer it goes on the harder it is to pull,and good money is thrown after bad.

    ken

    September 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    • Ken, have you read all the regulations surrounding this as it is anything but a simple tie up of benefits.

      For instance currently you get sanctioned it only effects your JSA but under UC it will include your housing benefit aswell.

      gaia

      September 20, 2014 at 6:33 pm

  5. Ive finally had time to look at the latest labour market stats and found some interesting stuff.
    According to the ONS stats while unemployment falls, inactivity is increasing.

    While fulltime employment increases slightly, part time work increases 13.5 times faster.
    In the self employment sector their has been a drop in those doing so fulltime while those doing part time increases. Lastly the number of people needing a second job has risen sharply.

    Clearly employment is not what our government would have us imagine meaning yet more money going out of the public purse to prop up those on low wages and totally explains the workings of UC in respect to those on low incomes claiming housing benefit and working tax credit being treated exactly the same as unemployed people currently are.

    This means from a UC claimants perspective, even if you do get a part time job and cancel out your unemployment benefit (UC), you will MOST CERTAINLY NOT BE BETTER OFF IN WORK as the new scheme is designed to punish those not working over 30 plus hours or better put the tories are striving to FORCE any member of the public to work the hours they choose or face draconian treatment.

    Whether government care to admit it or not, they are in deep trouble as lowering taxes and insurance further to the point of no one requiring any benefit will see public services under funded while the countries debt spikes still further. Even increasing wages will negatively effect the situation as companies reduce staff while some will leave the UK altogether for more viable countries such as china.

    This entire time all the tories have achieved is a balancing act so as to make it appear that they actually made a difference when infact all they did was besides skewing figures, distribute the problem long enough to get re-elected.

    Eventually the bubble will burst in one form or another and working or not, all will feel it

    gaia

    September 21, 2014 at 9:14 am

    • Gaia, thanks for doing the stats.

      It’s not that surprising: people I know in work seem to be doing this kind of part-time work a lot, at the beck and call of employers.

      It ruins their lives – not being certain of how long they will work, when it will be, and the way it makes people frightened of complaining about anything in case their hours will drop.

      Andrew Coates

      September 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

      • It would be nice if the media did it to rather than cherry pick stats that suck up to the current governments smoke and mirrors act.

        The funny thing is even without the stats we all working or not feel somethings not right yet hardly any seek to challenge it for fear of facing the truth. This might explain how the public are beginning to kick back against their respective governments, even on occasion administering judge and jury on the spot like the wanted woman accused of a road rage attack on another woman.

        I think what the public are seeing now is the picture in the puzzle with those that does’t not protest showing it in a more physical manifestation.

        gaia

        September 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

  6. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

    A6er

    September 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

  7. Mr Coates:

    I’ve just found this online dated September 2014 and there appears to be no mention of East Anglia, I sign on down the road from you at Newmarket Jobcentre. Do you know if East Anglia is part of the pilot or not? I thought it was.

    http://www.herefordshirecarerssupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Supervised-Jobsearch-Pilot-Fact-sheet.pdf

    Huggy Bear

    September 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    • Huggy Bear: an interesting link. I sign on at Ely, which is down the road from Newmarket. I’ve heard no mention of the 35 hour job search here. I have a personal adviser interview in early October, so I should hear something then.

      jj joop

      September 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    • Huggy,

      East Anglia was on the original document,

      Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2014)

      (Draft Legislation:This is a draft item of legislation. This draft has since been made as a UK Statutory Instrument: The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2014 The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Supervised Jobsearch Pilot Scheme) Regulations 2014 No. 1913)

      “(3) The second condition is that C is registered at a Jobcentre Plus office within a Jobcentre Plus district of the Department for Work and Pensions, by whatever name it is from time to time known, which is identified by reference to its name at the date these Regulations come into force as listed below—

      (a)East Anglia;
      (b)Black Country;
      (c)Mercia;
      (d)Surrey & Sussex;
      (e)West Yorkshire.”

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111115367/regulation/6

      But as you say it is not on the more specific one that you’ve found.

      Thanks for finding that one out.

      We will see.

      Andrew Coates

      September 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

  8. I see from that pilot fact sheet it still appears that the scheme will be held at a provider not the jobcentre, but I have actually been asked if I want to supervise those who will be on the scheme in (the jobcentre). as they have changed a few things in the jobcentre to accommodate computers for the supervised jobsearch.

    enigma

    September 21, 2014 at 2:39 pm

  9. Oh the adviser assumed that I didn’t have any knowledge of the supervised jobsearch, as is the case of every adviser who assumes we the unemployed know nothing!

    so as I stated in another message, some people will do the scheme in the jobcentre while others will do the scheme elsewhere.

    jj joop did you notice in a message that someone has received a letter about the scheme and has got a computer at home and on line and the jobcentre knows that. so it won’t matter if we have a computer or not. good luck to you!

    enigma

    September 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    • There are changes afoot at my Jobcentre. The phones and job points have been ripped out, and the seating/waiting area has been reduced as well. Apparently they’re going to put more computers in. They’ve only got one at the moment.

      I think if you refuse to use their computers for a job search they can mandate you via a Jobseekers Direction but they can’t force you to apply through their computers because of privacy and cookies.

      We shall see. As stated earlier, I have an adviser interview in October; the same time the selection process begins.

      jj joop

      September 21, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      • These computers in the jobcentres are going to be the equivalent of the modern-day stocks.

        Rotten Egg

        September 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    • As far as I know it matters not if you have a pc and internet connection or whether or not you are already competently jobsearching. Without a operations guide on the criteria of who constitutes as requiring such like the UJM affair it would mean currently they could target any as after all its a pilot is it not.

      gaia

      September 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      • Yes, they are sending out letters about the supervised jobsearch to those in those area’s stated in the fact sheet, in the pilot scheme, as is known if it works out it will go to all area’s. so let’s hope it does not work out.

        enigma

        September 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  10. If everyone searches for jobs on the scheme but does not apply for any jobs they see, this could be the downfall of it, but we know that a lot of people do what their adviser tells them to do, just like creating an account on UJM, and giving access, I have told a lot of people on benefits about this website, the info on it etc some don’t want to know, they are the ones who do everything they are told, because they are scared of the possibility of a sanction. as if they have no rights what so ever.

    enigma

    September 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    • enigma:

      You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head in your description of most jobseekers. It’s either can’t step up, or won’t step up. I met people like this when I was on the WP. One I knew lady signed on by post because she lived out in the back of beyond. One of her postal signings got lost and her claim was shut down. She had to resubmit her claim. In the meantime, she lost a month’s worth of benefit. Did she claim for the lost month; did she hell. I advised her what to do, paperwork and so on. I even offered to help her fill in the forms and come to the interview to act as her advocate. Her response: no reply, she just looked at me vacantly. I couldn’t help her; no one could. She just didn’t have what it took to challenge or confront authority of any kind.

      jj joop

      September 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      • Because of people like this, I think this scheme will be judged a success. Not forgetting, of course, people who will be sanctioned off the unemployment register because they’ll just walk out or threaten / assault an adviser out of sheer anger or frustration.

        jj joop

        September 21, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      • That’s the problem, it seems there just isn’t enough of us who challenge, it’s only obvious, the more who fight the faster things will change. this is why I try and get as many people on here and off here fighting for their rights, I have printed out a lot of docs from this website and hand them to those who need them. (food bank)

        enigma

        September 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm

  11. These computers in jobcentres are going to be the equivalent of the modern-day stocks!!

    Rotten Egg

    September 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    • Have you not got a job yet? Here’s another rotten cabbage you lazy scrounger!

      Rotten Cabbage

      September 22, 2014 at 2:00 am

      • SPLAT!!

        Rotten Tomato

        September 22, 2014 at 8:03 am

      • Hey we will stopping that free food from your benefit.

        growls

        September 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm

  12. Yes, two people I know you have never been sanctioned because they do everything they are told. I see them just about every day, I still try to tell them but no.

    A success yes if they target those just like these two people.

    There will be fights for sure. I see the police going toward the jobcentre often, I have seen advisers being pulled over their desk, it will get worse of course.

    enigma

    September 21, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    • Thus far, I too, have managed to avoid being sanctioned. However as the nearest provider office to me is nearly 25 miles away, I fear it’s only a matter of time before I am sanctioned. It’s 2 hours by bus to get there, or 1 hour using the train and bus.

      jj joop

      September 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

  13. Sorry “Who” !

    enigma

    September 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

  14. According to the PCS Union, the 35 hour jobsearch rule is not “required” by the current regulations for JSA claimants, and it is not within the remit of F&F (Freedoms and Flexibilities – whatever that means)!

    The PCS Union goes on: “Branches should advise members not to comply with the instruction, branches should then escalate through the usual trade union side structures”.

    We shall see if anything worthwhile comes of this PCS advice!

    http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_work_and_pensions_group/dwp-news.cfm/work-services-update

    Tobanem

    September 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

    • As for the “2 to 5 minute attitude test” carried out by non-professional pen-pushers, there is nothing entirely new in this.

      Back in Victorian times, character assessments were often made, with feckless recipients being blamed for their own poverty, which was due to their apparent moral disease of idleness.

      The only cure for this internal disease of attitude and mind was hard labour.

      Something for nothing was anathema to the Victorians; and it still is to today’s Tories!

      Tobanem

      September 22, 2014 at 8:04 am

    • I think the 35 hour jobsearch rule referred to in the PCS newsletter is via the JSAg, not the the new supervised pilot scheme. The legislation in the pilot is very clear.

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2014/9780111115367

      jj joop

      September 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

      • jj joop

        Yes, it appears we have double standards here.

        It doesn’t make much sense to have no legal requirement for Jobseekers to “ordinarily” seek work for 35 hours a week on the one hand, and then introduce a pilot scheme to impose 35 hours supervised jobsearch on the other hand!

        But then, nothing at the DWP makes any sense in the real world!!

        Tobanem

        September 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

      • As Andrew Coates has already said – welcome to Narnia Wonderland, aka the DWP.

        jj joop

        September 22, 2014 at 9:40 am

      • Hold on their Tobanem,

        Under UC regulations 2013 point 95, it is quoted as follows.

        95.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as not having complied with a work search requirement to take all reasonable action for the purpose of obtaining paid work in any week unless—

        (i) the time which the claimant spends taking action for the purpose of obtaining paid work is at least the claimant’s expected number of hours per week minus any
        relevant deductions,

        So basically even unsupervised a claimant is expected to search for work for 35 hours.

        You see as I did outline in the additional act to the current JSA regs, even JSA claimants are still subject to the new UC regs

        gaia

        September 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

  15. WAKE UP FOLKS> Currently 16 Hours A Week Is Classed As Full Time Work. This Is Because Of The Minimum Wage / Benefits Ratio. IF Labour Win The Next Election And Do Bring In A National Minimum Wage Of £8 Per Hour. Then I Benefit Is Still Roughly £78 A Week. 10 Hours Will Become Full Time Work. Could We The Be Expected To Have 3-4 Part Time Jobs

    Mail.Gr

    September 22, 2014 at 9:18 am

    • On the plus side, if you have to apply for 10 -16 hours a week vacancies then that’s more to put down on your job search and your adviser won’t be able to accuse you of shirking.

      Huggy Bear

      September 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

      • Hey Huggy, you wanna buy some shit?

        Starsky and Hutch (Undercover)

        September 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

      • Starsky and Hutch, your asses are so busted. You hear!

        Captain Dobey

        September 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

      • Could Still Be Required That We Get Ex No Of Interviews Though

        Mail.gr

        September 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

  16. There is also the elephant in the room of Council tax benefit, another postcode lottery! For example London Borough of Harrow have a council tax benefit taper of 30%. So take your gross pay, subtract tax and national insurance and then withdraw 95% (65% Universal credit and 30% council tax) Which leaves a claimant getting perhaps 3p for every additional pound earned – Clearly a massive incentive to work harder!

    Nicola

    September 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

  17. Down Memory Lane

    How many of you on here remember words like the following being used by Work Programme Advisors to describe participants on that “mandatory” scheme over the last few years:

    Wrong mindset

    Low self-esteem

    Uncooperative

    Disruptive

    “Attitude” (You’ll never get a job with that attitude)!

    Comfort Zone

    Taking money off the state

    Chip on shoulder

    Then there were unemployed people being made to undergo “Neuro Linguistic Programming” (snake oil pedalled as universal panacea for all ills – and identified as one of the top 10 most discredited schemes)!

    And don’t forget “Gestalt theory/therapy!

    I think I might have missed out the crystal ball and the broomsticks!

    Finally, a line from “One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest”: “If you don’t comply, they’ll try the electrodes as a last resort to fry your brain”!

    Tobanem

    September 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    • Comfort zone, ah that takes me back!

      Andrew Coates

      September 23, 2014 at 10:06 am

  18. has anyone been given a color coded zone card for the jcp mine is an orange one and no longer have to report to the podium and can now just go straight up to my adviser.

    also at my jcp long term unemployed is up 880% in 4 years.

    super ted

    September 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    • If its not to much to ask super ted (you know, we never know whos listening in) where do you hail from as 880% is quite a figure or are you just poking fun?

      gaia

      September 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      • As usual I thank you kindly super ted.

        I see Gloucester MP Richard Graham is no more clued up than the people and organisations he says needs to get on board. Its not quals employers are asking for, its experience and when I say this I mean a whole lot more than a mere 6 months.

        To add to this even though an employer will seldom ever enquire a claimant is stigmatised the moment the employer knows they have been unemployed long term so no qualification or any current practice will change this beyond and this makes me laugh as this is precisely what some areas are doing is to have the taxpayer foot the bill for the claimants wage which for some is as high as £7.65 an hour.

        gaia

        September 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

  19. the supervised jobsearch says “up to 35 hours a week”,but its not saying the criteria for less then this.

    The ‘treatment’ group sounds ominous.

    theres a extract from a comment here about complaining to the MP

    As a recently retired JCP adviser I’m appalled at some of the descriptions of adviser behaviour I’ve just read. If you experience this then write to your MP. The MP will ask for the manager’s observations and, of course, the allegations are always denied. Jobcentre managers jump through hoops when they get an MP’s enquiry. They have to respond and absolutely hate it. Not enough customers do it.

    https://aftertheworkprogramme.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/after-the-work-programme/comment-page-1/

    ken hutchinson

    September 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm

  20. THE TREATMENT GROUP

    Just watch out for the electrodes – the “electro convulsive therapy” type to jolt you out of your moral disease of idleness and back to work.

    Of course, real work does not exist in sufficient quantity for all of the unemployed, but that does not matter down at the Cuckoo’s nest Jobcentre where nothing matters – except sanctions targets!

    Tobanem

    September 23, 2014 at 8:14 am

  21. WORKING LESS IMPROVES HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY.

    http://www.proven.com/blog/how-working-less-improves-productivity/

    This isn’t a new idea but has proved to be quite true so WHY is our government insisting we need to work more, jobsearch more?

    Theirs no doubting the driving force behind this DENIAL is the persistence of CAPITALISM, a force that creates both greed and locked in desperation so the next question is, who are the winners and losers?

    gaia

    September 23, 2014 at 9:04 am

  22. Benefit failures branded ‘criminal’

    BENEFIT reforms have failed in almost every way, Labour’s Rachel Reeves has said.

    The shadow work and pensions secretary said Iain Duncan Smith was the man “with his own special Midas touch – everything he touches turns to a complete and utter shambles”.

    The Leeds MP said flagship reform universal credit was “stuck in first gear”, while work capability assessments were “in meltdown” and the youth contract was an “embarrassing flop”.

    She said: “It would be comical if it wasn’t so criminal. We should be angry that taxpayers’ money is being squandered. That vulnerable people are being ill-treated. That lives are being scarred. That talent is being wasted.

    “We should be angry – and they should be ashamed.

    “The Tories will leave a truly toxic legacy. And for all their talk about cutting welfare, they’ve overspent on social security by £13bn in this Parliament with a rising in-work benefits bill left for the next government.”

    Ms Reeves outlined to the delegates in Manchester Labour’s six point plan for new reform at the Department for Work and Pensions.

    It includes a compulsory jobs guarantee to stop people being left on unemployment benefit for years on end, and basic skills tests to ensure gaps can be filled quickly when someone loses their job.

    Other plans include a youth allowance, a replacement for the work programme, further pension reforms and new tailored support for disabled people.

    She said: “Conference, it’s not enough to get people into work if they’re still reliant on benefits to make ends meet. So we will get more workers paid a living wage.

    http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/politics/benefit-failures-branded-criminal-1-6855323

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

  23. Esther McVey dodges White Dee debate.

    Fresh from this year’s Channel Five finale, Dee is about to enter a different sort of mad house full of self-obsessed prima donnas: Tory Party conference.

    Tory MP Mark Hoban has been nominated to debate Dee, after Esther McVey – another former telly star – chickened out of the showdown organised by Policy Exchange.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2014/09/esther-mcvey-dodges-white-dee-debate/

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

  24. Whoops! Labour’s shadow pensions minister ‘Sexy’ Rachel Reeves does not know how much the state pension is worth.

    Wrong-footed: Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves was put on the spot during an inteview on LBC with presenter Nick Ferrari.

    Ferrari: How much is a pension at the moment for an elderly person? What do they pull in a week now?

    Reeves: It’s just under £100 a week, the basic state pension, of course.

    Ferrari: Is it?

    Reeves: Yes.

    Ferrari: The basic state pension is just under £100?

    Reeves: It’s around £100 a week. Of course…

    Ferrari: I thought it was £113.

    Reeves: It’s around £100. If you…

    Ferrari: So you don’t actually know what the pension is?

    Reeves: It depends how many years you’re contributed.

    Ferrari: Right.

    Ferrari: I’m told the pension figure is £113.10, do you recognise that figure?

    Reeves: It does depend, Nick, on how many years…

    Ferrari: Well you’ve just said it’s under £100. It can’t be under £100.

    Reeves: Well it depends on how many years you’ve contributed.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2766383/Whoops-Labour-s-shadow-pensions-minister-Rachel-Reeves-does-not-know-state-pension-worth.html

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    September 23, 2014 at 11:19 am


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