Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit to hit the Low Paid as Scheme is in Shambles.

More and more problems about the government’s welfare ‘reforms’ are coming up (Hat-tip Gazza and all posters).

Tomorrow Channel Four’s Dispatches focus on Universal Credit (8 pm).

The government say their flagship new benefit, Universal Credit, is working well and is helping people into work. Critics say it is a shambles. Dispatches goes undercover to investigate.

There are plenty of difficulties with the new system and our posters have not hesitated to point them out.
This is just one.

The following appeared in the Guardian in January.

Workers who claim benefits told to increase hours or lose universal credit

Nearly 1m people who are in work and claim benefits may be required to work longer, increase their earnings or face losing access to the new universal credit, two welfare ministers, Lord Freud and Mark Hoban, said on Monday.

The state’s capacity to ask more of those in work and those that are self-employed is likely to be transformed by the introduction of universal credit in April, the ministers said at a Policy Exchange event.

Lord Freud, the welfare minister, said: “The fact that those in work will come under the ambit of the JobCentre Plus for the first time as a result of universal credit gives the government radical new opportunities.

“Those in work currently face no obligations within the system to increase their hours in work and the system offers them no incentives to do so either. People on low wages can lose up to 96p in every £1 they earn as they increase their hours in work.”

He claimed that as a result employers told him their staff did not want to work longer hours for fear of losing benefits. He cited B&Q as one firm that had told him their staff repeatedly requested not to work longer hours for fear of losing benefit: “This conversation is replicated in company after company.”

He claimed work incentives under universal credit will be as much as 12 times more generous, as recipients will retain more of their extra income. Critics say that the system will penalise those who can’t increase their hours. Hoban said that as part of the drive to keep part-time workers in work for longer, he proposed these workers could receive monthly statements telling them how much better off they would be if they increased their hours, as well as receive texts telling them how much they will benefit from working longer hours, or getting better-paid work through developing higher skills.

He said new demands could also be placed on the self-employed, pointing out that the tax credit system as it stands allowed people to pursue hobbies, earn nothing and subsidise their income through state support “without any expectation that they will increase their earnings and move towards self-sufficiency. This flies in the face of a principled welfare system”.

The latest phase in DWP thinking came as the thinktank Policy Network published separate comparative international polling showing little support in Britain for a shift away from a traditional welfare state to one more similar to Northern Europe, where spending is focused on supporting working families and early years.

The Policy Network paper, backed by YouGov polling, claims that a conservative bias in social attitudes to welfare – entrenched support for the traditional welfare state, promising higher pension payments, social security benefits, and public spending on health and education – has been reinforced by the financial crisis, while public support for welfare spending on new social risks such as gender equality childcare and skills has little support.

The DWP said: “Universal credit brings together a vast array of on- and out-of-work benefits, and is due to be spread across the UK by 2017. Currently, workers who claim tax credits or housing benefit have no expectations placed upon them to help them reduce their reliance on welfare. Under universal credit, working claimants who could reasonably be expected to increase their earnings will be expected to take action to do so.”

Written by Andrew Coates

March 8, 2015 at 11:16 am

67 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Who wants to be told what to do by jobcentre after a days work get lost

    tony montana

    March 8, 2015 at 11:47 am

    • I’ve heard that it really affects all kinds of jobs.

      One for example is a free-lance journalist (so expect to get media coverage!0 who can be told, if s/he is not getting enough hours that a job in a food processing factory which gvies more has to be taken.

      Andrew Coates

      March 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      • Tough shit… fuck ’em! The deserve what coming to them… all 10.2 million of them!

        The Godmother

        March 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      • Do we warn people, those outside, those who don’t have computers & internet access, all those part time workers in all those shops etc etc,

        Who likes to give people “bad news”


        March 8, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    • If you need benefits to survive you will be told what to do weather you like it or not.


      March 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

  2. I can see this becoming Poll Tax 2. Once working people have to deal with the spiteful Job Centre automatons (it may affect Job Centre staff as well) and find they can’t increase their hours or are forced onto workfare, they’re likely kick off big style.

    Blackpool Lad

    March 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    • I work 3 jobs giving me 31 hours a week in shifts.. 6.45_9am cleaning, 12_1.15pm dinner lady and 3.30_6pm cleaning Monday to Friday in the same school on living wage. When will I have time to jobsearch?? Weekend when I spend time with my daughter n sleep Coz I’m bloody exhausted?? I also have rheumatoid arthritis n a back problems..This is utter madness!!

      kat rehman

      March 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      • There are a lot of people who have more severe health problems who are being made to work, by putting them on JSA.


        March 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      • enigma, you ignorant tit. rheumatoid arthritis is a very debilitating disease. kat rehman you are a top lady and a top mother.

        Steve Reeves

        March 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      • I have worked since 2007, 12 hour shifts, 5 shifts per week, with Rheumatoid arthritis, yes, the very same as she, but the difference is I like to work. a lot of hours.


        March 8, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      • I would have thought Kat rehman you would be put in the no work-related requirements group as your schedule is such, you don’t have the opportunity to.

        I still reckon if your claiming child and or tax credit and top up housing benefit that they will still ask you to search for better paid work but it will be done in your time without supervision unless of course you don’t have a pc and internet connection.

        If you don’t then locate and use a place like the library for instance and put that down as how you will search rather than saying you don’t have a pc and internet connection.

        I cant guarantee this will happen when UC comes in but if I was an advisor, this is what I would prescribe if forced by management in your particular case.

        Whats interesting about this as regards those already in work is how and what is fair to ask and expect.

        It appears to me that the less skilled, qualified and experienced a person is, the more hassle they are going to receive as lets face it, unskilled to semi skilled seldom goes above the national min, meaning they will have to look for more hours instead.


        March 9, 2015 at 10:02 am

    • Ah but it wont effect Job centre staff because they have already agreed with their union not to enforce it on themselves. Hypocritical scum.


      March 8, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      • Link?

        Another Fine Mess

        March 8, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      • 30.000 DWP employed to lose their jobs, sorry Another Fine Mess no link!

        The moon is falling out of the sky, no link for that either!


        March 9, 2015 at 10:10 am

      • They don’t need to worry about losing their jobs. There’s 662,000 ‘vacancies’ just sitting there on UJ, and 240,000 new ones being posted every week. They’ll be on 35 hours jobsearch or working for their benefit before they know it. 🙂

        Another Fine Mess

        March 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      • Straight to our world, if they don’t know about all the jobs available on UJM, we can then them about it while we’re waiting outside the job centres.


        March 9, 2015 at 12:40 pm


    Vote for CLASS WAR!!

    March 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    • Enigma, I do realise that there r sicker people than me out there. And I’ve experienced jcp and work programme bullying myself, albeit around 4 years ago when it wasn’t as bad as it is now. And a big thank u Mr reeves. My respect goes to all of u on here, I’ve benefited from advice on the site many times!!

      kat rehman

      March 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      • Do you.


        March 8, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      • I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis, I’m not complaining.


        March 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      • Enigma I’m not complaining just saying!! And we should all of us be standing together not fighting among ourselves. I just expressed my opinion and situation that’s all

        kat rehman

        March 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      • I understand, have a nice evening.


        March 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm


    Vote for CLASS WAR!!

    March 8, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    • I hope my bits of quick research on the internet give you help to promote your policies of double dole and pension.

      Under me nickmane of Chris, below.

      I’ve put your Class War great posters and links on me website:

      Good luck.

      Because between welfare and pension reform, the poor will have fully returned to the Victorian age of penniless starvation (even in work and as pensioners who are also within the working poor).

      One thing people do not know is that there has been massive pension reform.

      And worse to come.

      With pensioners even losing Pension Credit top up to the lowest state pension of all rich nations bar poor Mexico (OECD) for those retiring from next year, or even current pensioners under Universal Credit rules.

      Me petition had one man told he could not retire / get his state pension payout til 73 under Universal Credit rules because his wife was 5 years younger than him.


      March 8, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    • In real terms the dole in only worth a quarter of what it was way back in the 80s when Thatcher was on the Throne. Never mind doubling the dole – the dole needs to be quadrupled at least to restore it to income parity. Emeritus

      Emeritus Professor of Social & Economic Policy

      March 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    • Enigma enough!! The point I’m trying to make is that there are many people out there, in my situation, working odd hours or same amount as me, and it would be nigh on impossible to fit jcp interviews and jobsearch around our hours. I don’t drive, and more time would be wasted waiting for buses ect which could make me late for work or jcp interviews. This could lead to sanctions. I fully agree you are th better person and I’m just a lazy single parent..

      kat rehman

      March 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      • I’m not a better person than you or anyone else.


        March 8, 2015 at 6:53 pm


    Many of the lowest paid workers (men and women) are out of the state pension payout system, and this will hit the first people retiring from next year on and from 6 April 2016.

    They are older than the women born from 1953 who lost state pension payout at 60 from 2013 (not able to retire til 2019 onwards) and men at 65 (raised retirement 1 year between 2013 and 2016 and then retirement age progressively gets older and older).

    See who loses all or most of state pension, under my petition,
    in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:



    Right now Universal Credit only applies to people who are newly unemployed and living in certain areas of the country.

    However, eventually Universal Credit will be brought in for everyone claiming the benefits and tax credits that are being replaced.

    Read more at:


    Universal Credit is not just for people who are out of work.

    If you’re getting tax credits or help with your rent, then you’ll be moved onto Universal Credit at some point between now and 2017.

    Read more at:


    Universal Credit might … affect you if you’re retired and getting Pension Credit.

    As of 6th January 2014 anyone born before 6th March October 1952
    qualifies for pension age benefits
    (Pension Credit and Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support for people of pension age).

    Read more:


    If you reach Pension Credit age and your partner is under Pension Credit age, you might not be able to claim Pension Credit – you both might have to claim Universal Credit instead. The date for this change has not yet been announced.

    Read more at:


    Universal Credit is gradually replacing Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, tax credits and a number of other benefits.

    So if you make a claim for them, you may be asked to claim Universal Credit instead.

    And if you’re already receiving them, you’ll be moved over to Universal Credit from 2016 onwards.

    Read more at:


    Income-based ESA (but not contribution-based ESA) will move to Universal Credit.

    The claims process will be the same one used for ESA.

    Under Universal Credit each household will make a claim,
    rather than each individual.

    It’s one payment, paid monthly and based on all your household’s circumstances.

    Read more at:


    Housing Benefit sanctions under Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element)

    No longer will Housing Benefit be paid direct to landlord, but be inside your Universal Credit benefit given to you.

    More at:


    Harship Payment assessments are far far meaner than JSA means testing

    If you get income based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and get a benefit ban sanction, you can apply for non-recoverable Hardship Payments (HP).

    However, under Universal Credit (UC), unlike JSA entitlement, all cash savings and liquid (liquefiable) assets and potential help from family and friends or others are taken into account.

    Therefore, a Universal Credit benefit sanction can lead to loss of life savings.

    At present no-one getting a Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) Hardship Payment has to repay, but under Universal Credit
    the Department of Work and Pensions
    can recover it directly from benefits,
    through court imposed debt recovery and
    attachment of earned income.

    Read More at:


    Universal Credit benefit sanctions to last indefinitely, not just 3 years

    1) JSA and ESA sanctions

    Under the current Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) sanctions regime the maximum benefit ban is 3 years (“156 weeks“) for failures to meet requirements.

    Anyone sanctioned can apply for means tested reduced JSA called Hardship Payments. (HP). Under JSA and Employment Support Alowance (ESA) HP is not recoverable.

    2) What about Hardship Payments (HP) and Universal Credit (UC)

    All Hardship Payments under Universal Credit are recoverable, meaning they are treated like a debt by the DWP.

    Therefore if someone gets a 3 year Universal Credit ban and applies and gets Hardship Payments, repayment can be made through Universal Credit.

    Put more simply this means Universal Credit sanctions (aka reduced benefits) can effectively last far longer than 3 years.

    Read more at:


    Ask me another, if anyone will be left on benefit or the state pension at all under Universal Credit?

    Those denied state pension payout since 2013, also lose Pension Credit by the sound of it.

    Pension Credit (savings) is abolished for new claimaints retirement age on and from 6 April 2016.

    From 2016 guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, becomes far more complex conditionality even for current pensioners.

    There is a way to stop all this cruelty leading to penniless starvation for all ages, even babes in wombs of sanctioned mothers.

    See how at:


    March 8, 2015 at 5:38 pm

  6. if i take a short job, say 16 hours and sign off (i can afford to do this as i live with my parents) surely nobody at the JC+ or DWP can say anything to me after i sign off


    March 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    • If you sign off then no, you will be left alone to get on with it. lucky for you.


      March 8, 2015 at 7:07 pm

  7. benefit fraud suits government propaganda perfectly,its just put out of context for those purposes of smearing claimants,create hostility for political gain.

    They treated us like we had committed a crime




    March 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    • We are all criminals to the DWP, because we claim benefits.


      March 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm

  8. That’s what the DWP want, no one to claim. They will then say the economy’s booming because benefit claims are down but the reality is that people aren’t claiming because they can’t be bothered dealing with the cretins in the Job Centre. I can see trouble ahead.

    Blackpool Lad

    March 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm

  9. No wonder Capita have been gifted with the responsibility for booking initial work search interviews for new Universal Credit claimants. The Jobcentre just won’t be able to cope with the new influx. And those of us who have previous experience of so-called providers know exactly what will happen.

    jj joop

    March 8, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    • I will let you know what happens JJ.


      March 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm

  10. Yup, just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

    One thought though for people facing being transferred to Universal Credit from their current benefit – for now at least, you won’t be transferred if you are challenging a decision on a “legacy benefit” – Income Support, income-related JSA, income-based ESA, tax credit, Housing Benefit – so if you are arguing about the one you are on you will stay on it….

    Jane Smith

    March 8, 2015 at 9:26 pm

  11. I was googling ‘UC & Dispatches’, and suprisingly only IUA seems to think this is an interesting/important subject.
    I sometimes find another version of a site, what’s this one for?
    I like the last paragraph here from 2012.

    Another Fine Mess

    March 9, 2015 at 12:42 am

    • The panorama programs should make for interesting viewing.


      March 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  12. Back to the subject of sanctions (as if it had gone away)!

    A day of action against sanctions is planned for 19 March:


    Search for the the words “A stronger sanctions regime” in the following link – and you might need to be reminded that it comes from New Labour! (Have fun searching for the words “tough”, “mandatory” and “summary” and “community” as well)!!:

    Click to access 7363.pdf

    By the way, correct me if I’m wildly wrong here, but does the Labour Party still have 80% of the Tory welfare cuts lined up?


    March 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    • Hopefully there will be a lot of people outside the local jobcentre on the 19th, as well as every other JC.


      March 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    • The Labour party can be utterly changed by the poor, who now outnumber all other voters, putting a pencil cross against new logos on 7 May, to ensure food and fuel money for your kids, yourself and your granny and grandad.

      This next hung parliament will need more partners than just 2, for the first time in UK history.

      So putting a cross against a different logo on 7 May will be key.

      The 80 per cent Tory cuts still planned by Labour will not get past with enough anti austerity new MPs in what is called a supply and confidence type of coalition.

      A partnership between parties where each keeps its individuality, as coming with Labour’s partners the Scottish National Parties and Plaid Cymru of Wales. But eve with these the MPs will not be sufficient.

      For parties to rule they must share between them at least 323 MPs.

      So there is plenty of scope for the poor to use their vital crosses in boxes on 7 May by the side of new logos even in Tory and Lib Dem areas, because a lot of these have more poor and the sitting MP had only a slim majority.

      The poor have never had so much power, than on 7 May this year.

      See how at±:


      March 10, 2015 at 12:09 am

  13. Tobanem

    March 9, 2015 at 10:53 am

    • Any who observe all know welfare reform was started by labour, that the tories really aren’t doing anything new besides fudging figures, withholding documents and paying contractors on a result basis.

      What has happened here is typical pandemic human behaviour when people fear instability.
      You would imagine the first thing a government would do would be to help the effected during the worlds worst financial crash or any recession for that fact but instead all we saw was government helping the banks despite there illicit behaviour and then tell us all we had to pull our belts in like it was all our fault.

      So now we have one faction of society against another faction of society with a whole lot of political misdirection thrown in to keep it that way.

      This time however its worse, not solely because banks could once again fail at any moment, not solely because governments are fudging figures and creating scenarios to inflate GDP so they can borrow more money despite pushing constant austerity cuts, not solely because even the money they do save, they keep handing out to private companies in an attempt to achieve what they promised to get elected in the first place (use savings to get savings so achieve less savings overall)
      BUT because no matter what evidence surfaces proving the contrary, the political party of the day push ahead with utter contempt towards any who stand in there way and is so bad, politicians openly flaunt how they can do whatever the hell they want and the public cant do anything about it and the very fact most laws/regulations never get overturned proves this.

      So this election isn’t going to be about whos going to save you as in earnest its still highly unlikely the UKs DEBT, not deficit will be sorted in a way that’s significant not to mention despite cutting funds for public services, I cant see how we can become sustainable without raising taxes and NI contributions rather than lower them.

      This election unless the public push for a new type of governance that’s also highly unlikely to happen will be about which evil you prefer to get in bed with.


      March 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm

  14. Since 2010, women have been disproportionately affected by austerity, through job losses in the public sector and cuts and changes to benefits. If the Conservatives win the General Election, this is set to continue. Only last month it was reported that under George Osborne’s freeze on tax credits and benefits, 75% of the savings will come from women, only 25% from men.
    This is partly because many benefits are paid directly to women as the primary carers of children: Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits and the Childcare element of working tax credit are curently paid to the main carer, so inevitably when benefits are cut women are hit harder than men.

    Iain Duncan Smith has often stated that one of the aims of Universal Credit is to change people’s behaviour.


    Universal credit could lead to domestic abuse.

    Click to access 106.pdf


    March 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    • If you look at Universal Credit, it will hit pensioners, new pensioners from 2016, low waged (mostly women in part time jobs) and unemployed including disabled and chronic sick pushed onto work components of benefit.

      This is not about changing people’s behaviour, but about leaving more and more people in penniless starvation, with nil state pension (payable even if remain in work).

      These poor are in a Vote Different or Starve election Thursday 7 May.

      Poor have the greatest power in a generation. Especially women, who put cross to paper the least.

      Putting cross against logos (see my website to see those graphics http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk) of:


      – Class War

      – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

      – Mebyon Kernow of Cornwall

      CELT NATIONS – SNP and Plaid Cymru of Wales

      See more why this could be vital for food and fuel money at:


      March 10, 2015 at 12:14 am

  15. Another Fine Mess

    March 9, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    • “No one can trust Iain Duncan Smith to tell the truth about universal credit so it falls to the staff to expose this wasteful and politically motivated shambles for what it is.”

      As goes for the political parties, can’t be trusted to tell the truth and so falls to everyone else to expose it all.


      March 9, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    • As much as i enjoyed reading the PCS post another fine mess, it does bring up the constant protest against the use of statistics to the forefront again.

      PCS states I quote, “Around half of the staff in the UK’s four universal credit centres took part in the survey”.

      This means there quoted figures could be fifty, fifty either way as so to speak.

      Example: “Lets say despite these figures we went and spoke to all the staff members (say 200 over 4 offices), except this time, the staff that weren’t polled all say in response to the first question that they felt the training was adequate, it would imply via head count and not an average that actually only 41% feel it wasn’t and so reversing consensus.

      Secondly, of these polled staff, what were the percentages of the same questions per office, (ie, was a or were some offices saying it was inadequate more so than others) ?


      March 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

  16. Channel 4s “Dispatches” tonight is unmissable!

    Slowly but surely, national television is widely publicising Universal Credit for the complete omnishambles it has been from the outset – as regular discerning readers of these pages will have known long since!


    March 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm

  17. Low and behold, crap last week, still crap this week.

    Yet again Dispatches allows DWP to wiggle out of it not to mention what was I saying about stats as according to DWP, PCS only received responses from 13% of staff from 2,700 staff working on UC.

    So if DWP can back that up it means in respect to the first question on training, only around 11% thought it was inadequate and not 82%.

    Its interesting as either the government or PCS is twisting the truth as PCS claimed I quote, “Around half of the staff in the UK’s four universal credit centres took part in the survey”.


    Well did PCS as DWP heads claim only receive responses to there survey from 351 people and not the 1,080 to 1,350 people (40% to 50%) PCS itself purported.

    For the record sending out a survey that doesn’t get returned, doesn’t make that individual still part of the survey.

    Will see if PCS issue a retort shall we ?


    March 10, 2015 at 7:21 am

  18. Has anyone began using the new digital signing service yet ?

    Well ive managed to acquire a document that’s being handed out to claimants. Now on this form is a request asking claimants to bring in certain and specific ID.

    Now I have already spoke with one claimant who states that they don’t have any of the mentioned ID so like him and wondering what this will mean come there next signing on period.

    The letter itself doesn’t explicitly state the claimant must have one of these items so has anyone else already been through this or encountered any other problems regarding this new procedure like for instance deciding to give DWP a new and unique signature so if stolen wont aid criminals to use to defraud the victims bank account or obtain a passport illegally ?


    March 10, 2015 at 10:02 am

    • ive managed to acquire a document
      JC gave me one months ago.

      so like him and wondering what this will mean come there next signing on period
      Unless the JC are forcing people to sign the toy, it probably won’t even be mentioned again!

      Another Fine Mess

      March 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    • I’ve been advised by my work coach that I’ll be using it within the next 2-3 weeks. Apparently, I will have to bring in some photo identity to prove that I am who I say I am before they can set it up.

      Parker Pyne

      March 10, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    • Another Fine Mess:

      I clicked on the link and this annotation was left by Gavin Shaw, it makes for disturbing reading:

      “Given the fact that a Digital Signature could be used against a benefit claimant where the manipulation of “Custom Fields” would allow for a Template to be removed and replaced with a new Template, where a signature was used to comply with text that could be replaced with other text through the use of Drop Templates, would mean that the claimant could be signing to agree something which they later find out was not something that they originally agreed to sign.”

      It would appear that the signing template could be altered by an unscrupulous work coach and you could end up signing up to something, i.e. a 6 month CWP, for example without your knowledge.

      Does anyone know if you can be sanctioned for declining to sign electronically?

      jj joop

      March 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm

  19. no,its just harassment to comply. camlite its more like payment lite.last weeks programme their more likely to offered a seat then a job.


    March 10, 2015 at 10:29 am

  20. crap last week, still crap this week

    according to DWP, PCS only received responses from 13% of staff from 2,700 staff working on UC
    Why would the dwp have access to details of the PCS survey.
    I think towards the end the dwp said the number working on uc in the centers was only about1,300.

    Another Fine Mess

    March 10, 2015 at 11:11 am

  21. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    March 10, 2015 at 11:32 pm

  22. You are not transferred onto UC while you are challenging a legacy benefit decision so if UC is about to come your way – is it time to go from the work-realted activity group to support group, argue for a carer’s premium, whatever?


    April 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: