Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit, “Shambolic”.

with 98 comments

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The saga of the love child of Ian Duncan Smith (now an enthusiastic Brexiter) continues.

Background: a brief history of cock-ups with Universal Credit.

First, it was a whole set of problems about their computer systems.”Universal Credit has been dogged by IT problems. A DWP whistleblower told Channel 4’s Dispatches in 2014 that the computer system was “completely unworkable”, “badly designed” and “out of date”.[48] A survey of Universal Credit staff found that 90% considered the IT system inadequate.” (Wikipedia)

…..experts say that the project was never truly agile in the first place. This was due to the way contracts with fixed features were set up with major IT suppliers such as  IBM, Accenture, Atos and Hewlett-Packard, and the requirements for a “big bang” launch in October 2013 (a deadline which, of course, it missed).

Senior civil servants pitch the current total losses between £161m to almost the entire amount spent so far (which ranges from £312m to almost £700m depending on who you ask, and Labour says equates to just over £190,000 per claimant). During a Public Accounts Committee session in September, DWP finance director Mike Driver said £161m was his “best assessment” of likely total losses, while the Major Projects Authority director Dr Norma Wood said that much of the £303m invested in IT by that point was “not fit for purpose”.New Statesman)

Then there was the merry tale of on-line applications which led to  MP Ronnie Campbell, tabling this motion, “That this House notes that since only fifteen per cent of people in deprived areas have used a Government website in the last year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may find that more Universal Credit customers than expected will turn to face-to-face and telephone help from their local authority, DWP helplines, Government-funded welfare organisations, councillors and their Hon. Member as they find that the automated system is not able to deal with their individual questions, particular concerns and unique set of circumstances”.

Next it was the five-week delay between making a claim and receiving money.

Then it was direct payment of housing benefit to tenants when it used to go (for example for social tenants) directly to the landlords. This has already led to people getting into arrears, as they, not unexp[ecrtably., spend the money on luxuries like gas and electricity bills, not to mention food, before paying the rent.

Next was the complicated system’s impact on work. “A House of Commons Library briefing note raises the concern that Universal Credit might make people reluctant to take more hours at work:

There is concern that families transferring to Universal Credit as part of the managed migration whose entitlement to UC is substantially lower than their existing benefits and tax credits might be reluctant to move into work or increase their hours if this would trigger a loss of transitional protection, thereby undermining the UC incentives structure.

Finally we learnt (Guardian. July 2016)

The government’s universal credit scheme has once again slipped behind schedule and will now not be completed until 2022, five years behind its original projected finish date, officials have admitted.

Critics said the latest rescheduling – which adds 12 months to the last published planned completion date and is the seventh reset since 2013 – raised the question of whether the much-criticised welfare programme was fit for purpose.

Ironically, the delay will have the effect of providing temporary respite for millions of claimants who stood to lose thousands of pounds a year when they were removed across to universal credit from the tax credits system after July 2018.

Now there is this…..

DWP slammed for “shambolic” Universal Credit roll-out. TFN News.

An MP has blamed the DWP for creating homelessness over its “incompetent” processing of Universal Credit claims.

It emerged last week in a Glasgow City Council report into the impact the scheme was having on its services that homeless people in the city has been placed on the new scheme in error by the DWP.

Now Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, is demanding answers from the DWP as to how many more homeless people across the UK have been placed on the controversial scheme in error.

The report, published by the Glasgow City Joint Integration Board, found that 73 homeless people have been put on Universal Credit, despite DWP guidance instructing homeless people being exempt from the new scheme.

Thewliss said: “The experience of the 73 homeless claimants in Glasgow, who have been added to Universal Credit in error, show that homelessness services across the UK are likely to take a serious financial hit once Universal Credit is fully rolled out.

“The suggestion from the Minister that Discretionary Housing Payment is used to top this up completely misses the point. With local authorities forced to cover the arrears of their tenants, which means less money to provide vital services which people rely on in times of need.

“The UK government needs to wake up to the reality that DWP actions are cutting the safety net of Council homelessness services, deeply undermining their stated aim of helping people into work.

“They can take the first step to head off this problem by halting the deeply flawed implementation of Universal Credit.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Welfare reform has already had a significant impact on our budget for homelessness services.

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

January 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm

98 Responses

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  1. THE RELAXED LANE

    The relaxed lane is “aimed at making life at the supermarket checkout less stressful for some of its more vulnerable customers”.

    Will this nice, kind, service be coming to a Jobcentre near you soon?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-38671867

    Brain Dead

    January 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    • count on it – it won’t be ‘relaxing’ thou – more like jackboots… with the obligatory death dirge for those starving due to UC. But it will be saving money thou!

      Gazza

      January 19, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    • I thought the relaxed lane would be through out the store, not just at the checkout !!!

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      January 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      • Didn’t happen there either ☺️

        Violet

        January 19, 2017 at 8:37 pm

  2. And it’s not just the unemployed.

    Employers – entangled by the in-work benefits quagmire – have started to complain that their “old” computers can’t handle the software necessary to take on HMRC’s “real time information” PAYE system.

    It is indeed ambitious to attempt to run an electronic benefits system harmoniously alongside tax and housing benefit records on the public internet. Some would say it is insane!

    How long will this complicated set-up hold together, when it has to rely on the faultless input accuracy of the always-changing information provided on a constantly recalculated basis by claimants, employees, and employers alike?

    Cases have already been reported where employees trying to meet the strict requirement of in-work benefit rules, have been sacked because some employers don’t allow their employees to apply for other jobs concurrently – as required by the in-work benefit rules back at the Jobcentre. And if employees comply with their employer in order to keep their job, they get sanctioned for not meeting benefit entitlement rules!

    Frankenstein

    January 19, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    • Well well well

      Just as i predicted. What is ultra annoying about this is that it is so predictable. Companies = not want to spend cash… Now i wonder what will happen?

      As for the employees that were sacked what is the bet they were sanctioned for failing to find work.

      This lot are building up some true deep hate for the tories – I would be very worried if i were them, doing that wholesale will upset a whole lot of people…. My mistake they already are!

      Gazza

      January 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm

  3. NAO slams HMRC’s tax credits contract with Concentrix

    Economia – 17th Jan 2017

    The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a damning report highlighting a series of shortcomings relating to HMRC’s contract with Concentrix, the US company hired to check tax credits entitlement

    The report found that HMRC paid £86,815 in compensation for complaints related to cases mishandled by Concentrix, and said that the Revenue paid more than £23m in commission to the firm, despite an increase in complaints.

    Meanwhile HMRC had expected to secure savings of £1bn, but only managed to secure £193m, less than a fifth of expectations.

    The NAO said that the amount paid to Concentrix was around £32.5m over the life of the contract.

    Previously, the contract was expected to be worth between £55m and £75m over three years on a payments-by-results basis, but HMRC said payments were reduced where performance and customer service levels were not met.

    Read More:
    http://economia.icaew.com/en/news/january-2017/nao-slams-hmrcs-tax-credits-contract-with-concentrix

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    January 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    • “”””Concentrix received a peak of 48,000 calls, of which 19,000 went unanswered. It then redeployed staff to call centres but this was insufficient to cope with the volume of calls and meet service standards, and was below the resourcing set out in its plan. This meant that some claimants were unable to contact Concentrix to discuss their award.”””””

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      January 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    • According to the Prime Minister HRMC will never again use a private company to investigate (go on fishing trips) looking for fraudsters. No private company involved in welfare should ever operate under any “pay by results” scheme. We have seen what happens when this goes on: thousands of innocent people lost benefits after being falsely accused of fraud and tens of thousands of genuinely sick and disabled people kicked off sickness and disability benefits because private companies administering the WCA decide falsely that they are fit for work.

      All this private contractor paid by results shite originated in David Freud’s diseased brain.

      Broken Toy

      January 20, 2017 at 6:34 pm

  4. Universal Credit tenants in arrears increases to 86%

    InsideHousing – 16th Jan 2017

    The percentage of council tenants on Universal Credit in rent arrears has increased to a “critically high” 86% over the past year, sparking “extreme concern” among councils.

    The National Federation of Arm’s-Length Management Organisations (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH), which together represent more than one million council homes in England, carried out annual research into Universal Credit claimants and found the percentage of council home tenants in receipt of Universal Credit who are in rent arrears has increased by seven percentage points – from 79% in March last year to 86%.

    This compares with 39% of tenants in arrears who do not receive Universal Credit.

    The average arrears total has also increased, from £321 to £616. The research also revealed 59% of Universal Credit claimants living in council homes have arrears that equate to more than one month’s rent.

    Read More:
    http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/universal-credit-tenants-in-arrears-increases-to-86/7018394.article

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    January 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    • Yep. And the next thing that will happen is landlords will stop renting properties to anybody on Universal Credit, anyone who has ever been on Universal Credit, and any people who look as if they might end up on Universal Credit any time in the future because that don’t want to risk having any tenants falling into rent arrears. Result: Very many fewer homes and a much worse standard of property available to rent to the low paid ad/or benefit claimants.

      Universal Credit is a double whammy fucking up the lives of tenants and landlords in one go.

      Broken Toy

      January 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

      • What do you mean next thing, its already happened. Theirs already next to none in area after area throughout the UK. Also your find the ones that are available require a guarantor so someone can swing for the arrears.

        doug

        January 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

  5. And for the love of God, where is the Labour Party in all of this ?
    How much more homelessness, misery and suffering will it take for them to do something, anything about it ?

    Jeff Smith

    January 19, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    • And where are the unions which claim to support the poor more importantly? And is supposed to keep Labour on the straight and narrow of looking after the poor of society.

      The time between now and the next election, with what labour visibly does, and does not do will either send it into power or consign it to the history books.

      Gazza

      January 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    • I would also be grateful if somebody could find what the Labour Party is saying.

      I haven’t seen anything serious yet.

      Andrew Coates

      January 20, 2017 at 12:57 pm

  6. Its still happening work experience.Their trying to con people into signing up to 30 hours a week unpaid for the sake of a reference and other volunteering without any legal basis and companies still participating.Its a completely shady practice.

    The setting up to fail is still continuing.

    ken

    January 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    • but you cant get a reference can you as it is not paid work so total bs to con you in to it as what they are doing to all the ppl found fit for work after there assessment as tried it with me and told um where to shove it.

      and it is still run buy providers for profit so you cant get a reference from them can you as most of the time have sub contracted it to another company anyway to do the deed.

      i put on my reference that i worked at tesco for 30 days but they have no knowledge of this and said i was never there.

      o yes i forgot i was a slave for the profit for the provider not tesco they just used me as a slave for the profit of not paying the min wage.

      sign nothing 😉

      superted

      January 19, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      • Be vary careful here just a quick look informs this is for 16-24 year olds work experience not someone considerably older.What their trying to do is make JSA 30 hours work.

        This is risky practice that will come back heavily later as it appears someone is making it up also trying it on.

        sign nothing.

        Great advice Superted

        ken

        January 20, 2017 at 7:56 am

      • its not just for 18-24 its for anyone they can con in to it as they now cant mandate you on to it but are still trying it.

        superted

        January 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    • Sadly for DWP, employers are wise to it already so often tell candidates that voluntary references don’t count. On top work coaches are prohibited on giving references so if you’ve been out of work for say 6 months to a year or longer, the claimants will struggle to supply references good enough the satisfy a potential employer.

      doug

      January 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      • That is true I have come across that before an agency wanted paid employment.If someone knows someone in a trade or similar then that’s fine.

        ken

        January 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      • i have been telling them that for the last ten years pmsl they can pay providers 1000s for nothing at all yet you ask for a fork lift licence coarse and get told no its a fkn joke.

        anything that will help you back in to work and you are not allowed to do it tried over and over again yet still told no.

        on the plus side i did get a sanction for that course as i never attended it or completed it pmsl.

        superted

        January 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      • Yep. References that ain’t PROPER, PAID employment ain’t no good. You can forget about references from voluntary work, references from the job club, references from workfare placements (even if you are working alongside paid staff because as far as the business is concerned you don’t exist)…

        Fuggabuotit

        January 20, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      • superted

        January 21, 2017 at 12:08 am

    • In reference to your second post Ken, think Vagabonds and Beggars Act 1495 and workhouses. Back then till the 20th century, being poor was seen as quasi criminal so they were often sent to the workhouses. Now interestingly or should i say IRONICALLY enough this all changed with the abolition of the English poor laws and the introduction of the pensions act.

      I HOPE THIS IS RINGING SOME VERY LOUD BELLS HERE CONSIDERING THE CURRENT CLIMATES

      doug

      January 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

  7. The Department for Work and Pensions has revealed a domestic violence victim’s identity to her abuser, an MP has claimed.

    Hannah Bardell, MP for Livingston, says one of her constituents approached her for help after the government released her identity to her abusive former partner while they were in the process of calculating her benefits.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/department-for-work-and-pensions-revealed-domestic-violence-victims-identity-to-abuser-a7535321.html

    news seeker

    January 20, 2017 at 5:21 am

  8. From one place to another and it goes on.

    Council policy of moving homeless out of the area spreads nationwide

    London councils have been moving homeless families out of the capital for some time and now it appears the policy is spreading across the country.

    The London policy was a result of cuts to housing benefit, soaring house prices and a lack of social housing. It means local authorities in the capital have been moving homeless people to places like Luton or Milton Keynes and even further afield to cities like Birmingham and Nottingham.

    http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2017/01/18/council-policy-of-moving-homeless-out-of-the-area-spreads-na

    news seeker

    January 20, 2017 at 5:26 am

    • With mostly all councils struggling to cover the costs of public services, its was always going to happen.

      If you remember the waste dumping issue back in the day, the country never actually reduced it in fact shipped it to places like India landfills and claimed a false reduction. Remember this BBC article ?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24517391

      NOW imagine government couldn’t move them out of London and now include this data

      http://www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk/key-facts/

      See the trend and how this government spread the effects which echo the great depression itself so it looked like we weren’t struggling to look after all citizens after the crash in 2008. How more people/families in work are a higher poverty figure to unemployed ones, a point i made when i said the welfare reform and on an older occasion, the changing of how certain stats were to be carried out HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE UNEMPLOYED who were used as scapegoats, A MERE DISTRACTION TO ADVERT PUBLIC GAZE.

      doug

      January 20, 2017 at 6:56 pm

  9. Poor people could learn about nutrition by eating from wartime rations, a Tory MP suggested today.

    Philip Hollobone told the Commons low income households should take lessons from the 1940s on how to eat nutritious food on a tight budget.

    Mr Hollobone, MP for Kettering, asked ministers if lessons could be learned from the wartime generation on “how best to feed our people”.

    He said: “Food insecurity is a terrible thing and it’s exacerbated by low-income households spending too much on food that isn’t good for them.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-mp-suggests-poor-families-9651428?1

    news seeker

    January 20, 2017 at 5:32 am

    • He’ll be talking about issuing food stamps or something similar next, i.e., give the poor ration coupons which can only be used in certain shops to purchase approved quantities of foodstuff, rather than cash which can be used to purchase anything. Besides rationing during the war was only done to distribute what food there was fairly and efficiently, not to make people lose weight or become healthier. And rationing was pretty much applied across the board. So personally I’d be up for that provided fat boozy MPs in the House of Commons, doing multiple jobs on the side, also had to follow the same restricted diet as the poorest in society.

      Broken Toy

      January 20, 2017 at 9:43 am

      • Broken Tray

        We have seen the info about blockchain a while ago on here, a card which will record everything we use the card for, of course we know what will follow.

        news seeker

        January 20, 2017 at 10:27 am

      • News seeker, remind you of an American current practice by any chance.

        The block-chain idea is the same as one of the premises for the RTI tax system and its interlink with UC. It acts as a passport or better put an ID card along with a money tracker and profiler.

        These new collaborative I.T systems and laws are more nefarious than helpful but as usual nearly all the public didn’t notice with their nothing to hide, nothing to loose ball. Its amazing how in I.T terms the definition fits like a glove. How ironic that very word is the actual building of a state preparing for global governance and how neo-liberal an ideology that is.

        doug

        January 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      • Loads of ads for ‘blockchain developers’ springing up on universal jobmatch, doug 🙂

        Universal Shitematch

        January 20, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      • block-CHAIN, geddit? The clue is in the name. No more cash, just some block-chain ‘credits’ with all expenditure itemised and monitored. What a future to ‘look forward’ to, may as well put us in a blockCHAIN!

        Universal Shitematch

        January 20, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      • Snooper’ Charter (Blockchain Amendment) – HMRC/DWP will be one of the organisations with access to your ‘blockchain’ transactions, the fact that these same fuckers already have access to your internet activity will pale into insignificance.

        Universal Shitematch

        January 20, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      • It has already been predicted. Just look at India and their sledgehammer attempt to snuff out cash. Do you know that you now have to have a ‘tax number’ in India to open a bank account, and for that the authorities take your fingerprints and a retinal scan!. Sometime in the future there will be no paper money; we will ALL be on blockchain ‘credits, every transaction controlled and monitored. Something to think about the next time you use your ‘contactless card’, doug 😀

        Universal Shitematch

        January 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      • The DWP works continuously with industry partners to identify and test new innovations that could save taxpayer money, safeguard information and better protect payments to customers.

        DWP has thus worked with GovCoin to facilitate a small privately funded Proof of Concept (PoC) including around 25 participants to explore the application of the new technology in promoting financial education, benefit, inclusion, security and control for the benefit of claimants themselves.

        The small scale proof of concept study involving blockchain technology is expected to last 3-6 months with the results available in the last quarter of 2016. It uses a private permissioned distributed ledger to allow participants to store their transactions, including payments from DWP. Those transactions can then be viewed securely on a mobile application so that they can, if they wish, monitor and allocate their spending into categories, check their available balance and plan future spending.

        The data from the proof-of-concept study is anonymised and aggregated before it reaches DWP, which will be evaluated qualitatively. The study is looking at the following specific areas: Adoption. Will this group of consumers use mobile based payments? What do they gain from the experience? Does their behaviour change?

        https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/356306/response/877345/attach/html/2/3238%20Reply.pdf.html

        news seeker

        January 21, 2017 at 5:02 am

      • In the US yes, and I think in Australia Doug.

        news seeker

        January 21, 2017 at 5:11 am

      • Yep. And these blockCHAIN ‘credits’, well the benefit ones at anyway, will be ‘credited’ at the beginning of the week and ‘expire’ at the end of the week so that you cannot ‘save’ them. This is the future!

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 7:49 am

      • Yep. And these blockCHAIN ‘credits’, well the benefit ones anyway, will be ‘credited’ at the beginning of the week and ‘expire’ at the end of the week so that you cannot ‘save’ them. This is the future!

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 7:50 am

      • “private permissioned distributed ledger” i.e. a “closed” system, your blockCHAIN “credits” are trapped in the DWP universe!

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 7:56 am

      • From Bitcoin forum in 2010:

        “I just realised something today that sent a chill down my spine. Why would the government attack the existing bitcoin when it can fork bitcoin, create its own block chain and force everyone to use its own client that it controls?

        They have a monopoly on force so could mandate that everyone uses the nifty new govcoin software. I can imagine the block chain dwarfing the existing block chain quite easily if the state created its own govcoin monopoly. They could then practically track every transaction in the network and force people to have a government registered govcoin address.”

        “what for? Gov already have money totally controlled by them, so what is the need to make new ones?” 😀 😀

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 8:03 am

      • Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 8:06 am

      • “They can take away everything but as long we have notepad and a compiler we can be free.” Yeah sure, buddy! Fuckid Stunts!

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 8:07 am

      • “The OP was about forcing people to use a different fork [GovCoin]. It’s not going to happen…” 😀 😀

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 8:10 am

      • “…force people to use its own client which would be quite hard. At most kill the businesses that sell products for bitcoins. Then we still have TOR. [:D 😀 😀 😀 ] Its a really tit for tat fight cat and mouse between who will be able to control or undermine who.” What planet are these folk on? “Then we still have TOR” 😀 😀 😀 😀 Yeah, TOR will save your sorry ass from GovCoin 😀 😀

        Electric Sheep

        January 21, 2017 at 8:17 am

      • @ Electric Sheep

        I dreamt about you last night.

        Android

        January 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      • Don’t use contactless tech Universal Shitematch.

        That was proved to easy to crack. You would think considering tech sites and even media have covered and proved the topic that people wouldn’t use it but as usual the public didn’t pay attention. It really makes me laugh seeing people in shops use it as really considering proximity of use, theres no difference to just sticking the card in, that will be in their wallets next to their phones and smart watches. So for the sake of lifting a card out of a wallet or purse, people will risk security instead. How dumb is that.

        doug

        January 21, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      • Those contactless debit and credit cards.

        The latest figures from the UK Cards Association show that 325 million purchases were made using contactless debit and credit cards in November last year, accounting for one in four of all card payments.

        There are now 101.8 million contactless debit and credit cards in circulation in the UK and nine out of 10 contactless transactions are made using debit cards, directly connected to people’s current account

        et, while the cards are becoming increasingly popular, consumers still have questions about how safe they are. Research carried out on behalf of personal security company Vaultskin suggests that around 80 per cent of consumers are worried about the risk of identity theft – and there could be good reason for their concerns.

        Digital pickpockets

        http://www.independent.co.uk/money/are-contactless-cards-putting-your-cash-at-risk-a7533091.html

        news seeker

        January 21, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      • Yeah, doug. But would it not be more ‘secure’ for you to take cash out of an ATM and pay with that instead of your ‘smart’ watch, then you could leave your ‘smart’ watch at home 😉

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      • Besides giving you better control of your expenditure and reducing impulse spending* cash is far harder to trace and doesn’t leave a great big ‘digital footprint’. Something for you to think about, ‘doug’ 😉

        *40% of supermarket purchases are impulse buys 😉

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      • It is only CURRENT accounts that have the contact-less ‘feature’; basic accounts don’t.

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      • Contact-less cards are NOT safe. First they have to be ‘activated’, but that just means entering the PIN ONCE at a point-of-sale or ATM. And if you lose it, and before you cancel it, anyone who finds the card can chance their arm and try and make a purchase of up to £50, it may or not randomly ask for a PIN, but hey-ho, £50 of ‘free; money 🙂 . And a lot of people have more than one contactless card in their purse/wallet so even more ‘free’ money for some 😉

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      • And point-of-sales don’t contact the bank in ‘real-time’; they check the PIN on chip. So it may keep getting used until it randomly asked for a PIN and the card got blocked. Really insecure!

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      • Compared to a non-contactless, after anyone finding the card and entering the wrong PIN three times the physical card would be blocked (unlike at an ATM whereby the card would be “swallowed”). The only way to unblock the card would be by taking it into a back or using the ‘unblock’ facility at an ATM. As always, the card-holder will be responsible for all purchases up until the card is reported as lost/stolen and cancelled.

        Posted by Contactless Card

        January 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      • Electric sheep

        The reason government/s got involved with blockchain is because at the time when it started, completely cut out the middle man as so to speak. It cuts out banks and until governments introduced a forced law, cut them out of the picture too. All your seeing now is phase two which as you said is purely to cut out the already established institutes running their own blockchain operations. Once at that point i suspect they will attempt to ban all other block chains and return total financial power back to the banking institutes not to mention the bank of England. Government is without hiding going about the process of taking over the UK side of the net as are other countries all in the name of the so called global governance. Blockchain like encryption and security is a populist act which if you watched DAVOS recently will know threatens governments and the elite who openly admit they will fight it tooth and nail to the death as it will end them and their centuries long reign if they don’t.
        A long time ago Ayn Rand said people don’t need centralized governance and a scientific experiment actually proved this to be quite true.

        doug

        January 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      • I use my contactless card because I find it more convenient, it saves me having to fiddle around with my smartphone or activating my smart watch 🙂

        Andrew Coates

        January 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      • “Consumers are at risk of falling victim to fraudulent payments made on contactless credit and debit cards that have already been cancelled following a loss or theft.

        Guardian research has revealed that banks do not automatically check many contactless payments, allowing thieves to continue to use stolen cards even after they have been cancelled. This is because some payments – such as when contactless cards are used to pass through London’s tube network barriers – are waved through as offline transactions and only checked later.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/dec/19/contactless-payments-card-fraud-after-cancellation-bank-account

        Newshounds

        January 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      • Posted by Contactless Card

        Cash while it exists is the safest way currently whereby one takes out a large sum and so block any guess of purchase. Its not only current accounts, its accounts with debit agreed amounts.

        Swipe contactless detail is easy as is monitoring a person making a physical purchase for the pin. Also you swipe their mobile data which gives you the subjects name among other things. All this is exactly how its currently going down and is routinely reported on tech sites and in mainstream media. Tons of purchases made online are made with this very swiped data everyday.
        Now police put down cyber crime on crime statistics you are seeing exactly what i and others have said about your never safe online and that its a very bad idea to shop and bank online and also extremely bad to allow governments and businesses who hold personal and or sensitive data to have it contacted to the net and transmitted. Security online or electronically is a myth as its all possible to hack and has been.

        The shocker and just shows the contempt governments have for all their citizens, know this is true yet continue to push total online records and public systems permanently connected to the net. They don’t care if you get robbed online and even write in a clause that states they don’t have to inform the public of any major data breach. They did this as they know there would be mass public outcry to have all this data taken back offline. Mostly all politicians have investments in these technologies and will make stacks of money out of all of this while saving tons on public expenditure by getting rid of all human staff, buildings,utilities,etc.

        They’ve got the citizens bent over a table and are shafting them left right and center and they just don’t see it. Its all part of the globalization plan that must be stopped as once complete will no longer see you as a human but a tool for making money out of plain and simple.

        doug

        January 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm

  10. If you have little or no savings and have to apply for Universal Credit without one month of wages, sufficient to cover all living expenses, including rent, until you get your first payment in five to ten or more weeks, you will end up in debt and/or rent arrears because you will inevitably rack up debt and/or forced to borrow money privately, or by way of an advance from the DWP which has to be paid back, in order to survive. The design of Universal Credit drives the poorest, neediest and most desperate applicants into debt and rent arrears.

    What kind of social security is that?

    Where the people who need help the most are the ones who receive help the least?

    Broken Toy

    January 20, 2017 at 9:34 am

    • Universal credit has been deliberately introduced for the slow kill,as part of agenda21/30!

      foxglove

      January 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      • Depopulation!

        Marie

        January 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      • The only way you can stop people having kids is to restrict their access to income/benefits/housing. If people have enough income or know they will be given benefits/housing they will just keep breeding like rabbits. the ‘selfish gene’ and all that. We are programmed to reproduce – even Marx knew this when he said that the proles reproduction devalues the Value of their Labour, and left to their own devices the proles will reproduce exponentially. just take a look outside, there are teenage girls around here pushing quad buggies around with eight kids – so much for ‘depopulation’, eh, Marie 😉

        Briar Rabiit

        January 20, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      • Well, actually, you’re talking shit, Mr Rabbit. If you look backwards in time to a period when there was no welfare people had much bigger families despite their poverty as people living in the poorest countries of the world still do despite high child mortality and immense poverty. The evidence of history is that social security does NOT encourage people to have more children but fewer children. You sound as stupid as Iain Duncan Smith, a man so dense, dishonest and idiotic he would need to study hard for six months to pass a blood test.

        Broken Toy

        January 21, 2017 at 9:37 am

  11. Impact of job-stealing robots a growing concern at Davos

    Open markets and global trade have been blamed for job losses over the last decade, but global CEOs say the real culprits are increasingly machines.

    And while business leaders gathered at the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos relish the productivity gains technology can bring, they warned this week that the collateral damage to jobs needs to be addressed more seriously.

    From taxi drivers to healthcare professionals, technologies such as robotics, driverless cars, artificial intelligence and 3-D printing mean more and more types of jobs are at risk.

    Adidas (ADSGn.DE), for example, aims to use 3-D printing in the manufacture of some running shoes.

    “Jobs will be lost, jobs will evolve and this revolution is going to be ageless, it’s going to be classless and it’s going to affect everyone,” said Meg Whitman, chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE.N).

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-robots-idUSKBN1540H0

    news seeker

    January 20, 2017 at 10:51 am

    • OT: Automation and its possible impact

      From:

      http://lifehacker.com/the-jobs-most-likely-to-be-taken-over-by-robots-in-the-1755312803

      ME: A comment that I think is illuminating on Automation and its impact [it is American but can see no reason why it would not apply elsewhere]:

      BIMming It
      plato360
      1/27/16 2:42pm

      This question scares the piss out of me.

      Automation will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and generally be a boon to corporate profits. It will come at the expense of, at first, low wage jobs (tedious, repetitive tasks). That means we’re going to have higher unemployment levels, which leads to higher poverty and a lower standard of living for the lower class.

      It also reduces the buying power of the American consumer, because wealth is consolidated at a much quicker rate as corporations will have a much smaller payroll (Overhead will reduce, but the cost of maintenance, upgrades, etc. will keep it from falling off completely) and higher profits.

      This means the economy is going to need something to drive it. The middle class isn’t going to be able to do it alone (especially as/if automation and AI start pushing into middle-class jobs) as more middle class workers will have to support their unemployed relatives, leaving a lower household income.

      At that point, I have no idea how things will go. Full automation doesn’t really work in a capitalist free market, as you need demand, and if people aren’t working… they aren’t buying things. So, do we avoid automating to keep capitalism? Do we fully automate, and then tax companies at a higher rate and push that money back out to the non-working lower and middle classes? Do we go socialist and let the government run all the automated companies, and feed/cloth everyone buy give up the advancements associated with a free market? I have no fucking clue. All I know is that automation creates a whole host of problems in the long term, and we should be addressing them now before we’ve dug our hole too deep.

      Gazza

      January 20, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      • Do we REALLY need guards on the train to open and close the doors? Of course we don’t!

        Stressed-out Southern Rail Passenger

        January 20, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      • @passenger IF there were any trains actually running that is!

        Stressed-out Southern Rail Passenger

        January 20, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      • Stressed-out Southern Rail Passenger

        considering how many times computers/automation/data F&&ks up, are you saying that you are looking forward to it happening to you? If so Good luck to surviving – a Ryan Air aircraft took off like that, luckily it did not crash. The computer didn’t spot it, the pilot did as he thought it was odd. When you can teach a AI to respond to oddness then that will be a breakthru.

        So “Stressed-out Southern Rail Passenger”, let us know how it goes when it bugs up – if you survive that is.

        Oh, and the projection of percentage of jobs vulnerable to Automation is 47%. So its not just train guards. Do try to keep up old chap.

        Gazza

        January 21, 2017 at 11:36 am

      • What? A Ryan Scare aircraft took off with the doors open and nobody on board noticed. They close the doors at the gate, so the aircraft taxied onto the runway, hared along the runway until it reached 180mph, took off, and up into the air… with the doors open and nobody noticed.

        Peeps keep saying that Ryan Scare are dangerous to fly with, they don’t maintain their aircraft, they are up there with Russian Areoflot, African airlines in terms of lack-of-safety. But when you look at their planes, they are like brand-new, some still have the plastic wrapper on. And what Ryan Scare naysayers don’t say its that Ryan Scare having been flying for over thirty years, and bar a minor skid on a wet runway and a minor fire on a wing there have been not one injury and no fatalities. You are more likely, much more likely to get killed out on a bicycle than on a Ryan Scare flight.

        *Talking about ryan scares, be careful when looking out the window. Think there is supposed to be one mile vertical clearance between aircraft but when you suddenly see a great big black aircraft in what looks like almost within touching distance go whooshing past, and the sudden feel of acceleration it gives you it will give you a ryan scare. Same goes for landing in thick fog when you can’t see the runway and the first you see of land is when the aircraft pops through the fog within touching distance of the runaway. Or watching the wing flaps ‘sticking’ as the plane is coming in land… we are not called Ryan Scare for nothing 😉

        Cabin Crew

        January 21, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      • It was a passenger more like a dickhead, who opened the emergency exit to “get some air”. And train doors are ‘interlocked’ these days, not even a dickhead can open them after the train has taken off. It is not like days of British Rail and the lethal ‘swing doors’.

        Cabin Crew

        January 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      • Think of ‘central door locking’ in a car, that is how train doors are operated.

        Cabin Crew

        January 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      • If you understand electronics, your understand how these things work and why malfunctions occur alot.

        A power surge or decline, a power surge dew to a component failure, static discharge in air, even dust particles to name but a few of the tons of ways electronics malfunctions. Sensors don’t help much either and are often the first things to fail so fail safes isn’t a guarantee either.

        We have a saying and its a machine is no better than the person who built it and the products they used.
        As ive been stating a while now, we have historically the highest product failure rate ever and its cause is deskilled /inexperienced engineers and inferior components/parts that are cheaply and badly made.

        So couple bad builds with poor maintenance and bingo, yet more planes will fall out of the sky, more system crash and so and so on.

        doug

        January 21, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      • Yup! Flying over another plane in very close proximity mid-flight is a scary piece of shit.

        Frequent Flyer

        January 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm

  12. Andrew Coates

    January 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    • What’s with the new signage? New colour scheme set against a ‘bars on the window’ background.

      Inside Life

      January 20, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    • Seriously! It looks like the view from a prison cell!

      Inside Life

      January 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm

  13. NHS worker Alastair Campbell 41, who reduced his working hours so he could care for his young son received 1p of support in 10 weeks under the new Universal Credit system.

    But after six weeks of attending meetings and filling in forms he found all his money had been given to East Lothian Council to pay his backdated rent.

    “It seems under the new system they can put child tax credit money towards rent arrears instead of just housing benefits”

    http://www.eastlothiancourier.com/news/15034302.Benefits_switch_sees_dad_given_just_1p_to_survive/

    news seeker

    January 21, 2017 at 5:40 am

    • No offence but how can anyone not see this happening as its all in there crappy rules and one of the reasons they banded benefits together in the first place,come on now.

      I spoke only not so long ago here about how they can sanction your housing benefit if you don’t receive other benefits to the value of the benefit you would have received if eligible closet to your situation. Since the welfare act was a green paper gaia mentioned it does not stipulate housing benefit cannot be sanctioned as it does not stipulate how a persons benefits are controlled.

      doug

      January 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

  14. Theresa May, the Government told us that the whole purpose, intent behind the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ was to “fight TERRORISM”. Now, we find out that the JOBCENTRE can view our internet records! WTF! What is Allah’s name has the JOBCENTRE got to do with “fighting terrorism”?

    Bootcamp

    January 21, 2017 at 11:04 am

    • It’s got sweet FA about fighting terrorism, but everything to do with sanctions.

      Marie

      January 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    • Try telling that to my trolls bootcamp who hounded me on this very site stating its not true.

      doug

      January 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    • The DWP can look at internet activity in connection with investigations relating to fraud and deception but not to enforce claimant commitments by trying to prove that claimants are not actively seeking work for 35 hours per week. In fact that would be impossible to do easily since claimants don’t only access the internet from home via a router, or smart phones with individual telephone numbers, but use a basket of different kinds of equipment, owned and borrowed, in a large number of different and diverse places, to access a bewildering number of websites at all sorts of hours. A person could therefore have been assigned umpteen different IP addresses during the course of a day, used to access the internet, and it would be prohibitively difficult to cross-reference every IP used with every device in every location without very good reasons indeed.

      And can you imagine the fuss there would be if stories began appearing about people being sanctioned in Jobcentres based on snooping done by the security services for no reason, who then passed on information to the DWP concerning the internet activity hundreds of thousands, millions even, of non-criminal citizens going about their days?

      You’d have to be daft as a brush to believe twaddle like that.

      Don’t ruin your lives by going cray cray about the Snooper’s Charter.

      It’s not designed to catch out slackers.

      Reef Knot

      January 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      • To be entitled to benefits, one of the rules a person must agree to is to actively seek and apply for employment which is enshrined in the act and regulation.

        If a claimant declares worksearch evidence to be true but it is not, then the claimant has just committed willful fraud with the gain being benefits money.

        Now DWP has 20 million people on its books and as we know through public declaration have highlighted a need to solve fraud and error in real time and or retention. So under RIPA have applied to be able to do this on a mass scale so this can be achieved easily and at a reduced cost.
        While verifying each and every claimants entitled to benefits and continuance, this means they have data on every claimants internet activity which is started by the personal and or sensitive data a claimant supplies them such as a name with a fixed address, a phone number, an email address. At this point, other than public owned systems, government know nothing about a person banking history, working cash in hand (ie selling goods on ebay,etc), all necessary to begin and maintain a claim while reducing fraud and error. So DWP must now approach IP providers and match fixed address, a phone number, an email address for an IP number and history of IP connections.
        So while doing this they are already collecting a person efforts to find work whether they use it or not now or later.

        Now while this helps with personal ownership of devices and internet connections, it does not cover using a another person personally owned device/internet unless they too are claiming a benefit (ie tax credit,etc). Local councils own the libraries so DWP already have access and DWP contracted providers already share a claimant whose with them with DWP and both do not require a warrant under any act as the individual consented to it as part of an agreement to use said system.
        Now in the case of someone else personally owned device /internet IP, if a claimant is registered to a website like monster, totaljobs, UJM, email address, then this once unknown number becomes known.

        So whether or not DWP use it is neither here nor there as they still already have it while insuring a claimant is entitled to the benefit in real time and retention as a matter of course and how they want the system to run. Eventually benefits will be totally online so there must be a system in place to automatically verify a claimants work search evidence and the only way to do that is to check it against data that can only come from the internet.

        doug

        January 22, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    • The Snooper’s Charter allows certain authorities to look at audit trails of individual internet activity if they need to for very good reasons. It won’t be used to scrutinise every single person’s internet activity in real time without good reason. For example: Suppose some IP is seen to continually be used to access terrorist sites, then all the past year of activity associated with that IP will be looked at to see what else that person/people have been up to in order to nip potential terrorist activity in the bud. The information stored won’t be trolled through without good reason but will remain recorded for a year to enable the powers that be to look back in time to see what a person or people using IPs have been up to where and when necessary. Such information can be used to build up a case for prosecution or, equally, can be used to exonerate people falsely suspected of illegality.

      This is the thing: Close scrutiny of internet activity won’t happen unless triggered by some specific reason.

      The DWP is not going to scrutinise the internet activity of every single claimant in order to try to sanction people for not “actively seeking work” for enough hours or hard enough. The focus is always on those who have given good reason for being suspected of actually doing, or potentially doing, something harmful to other or criminal. The idea that every single person is going to end up being examined so forensically and microscopically to be compromised in respect to how much job search and what kind of job seeking they’ve got up to in the recent past is absolutely bloody ridiculous.

      Homeland Prophet

      January 21, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      • If your nosey neighbour reports you, or your work coach suspects you are ‘working on the side’ both of which will trigger a ‘fraud investigation’ your internet activity will be scrutinised. Peeps on here are trying to make out that you have to be threatening to blow up the houses of Parliament to have your internet history scrutinised.

        And why to the trolls on here keep bringing up this guff about “not having to worrying about the DWP scrutinising claimants internet activity to catch them out on actively seeking work, take off your tin-foil hat” – nobody, except the TROLLS, have ever mentioned this as a reason to beware of the Snooper’s Charter. Nothing except a pathetic attempt to put words into commentators mouth to try and make them look paranoid.

        Just to be clear: the Snooper’s Charter has got jack-shit to do with job-search – so the TROLLS can stop bringing it up. It is Fraud and Error and the Child Support Group at the DWP who will be scrutinising internet activity, so obviously they will be looking for things such as undeclared bank accounts, amazon/ebay trading accounts, anything that suggests claimants may be living a centimeter above the poverty line – extra/hidden cash, some ‘work on the side’. Which isn’t paranoia, since the DWP already do this through credit reference agencies, utility bills, DVLA, land registry, wills, etc.

        Guy Fawkes

        January 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      • @ Guy Fawkes

        Nothing you say has anything to do with logging internet activity of individuals and archiving it for twelve months. If a neighbour reports you for fraud a you may end up with a visit from your local council, or interview at the Jobcentre, where you get challenged and can admit or deny whatever it is that you’ve been accused of. The Snooper’s Charter won’t be invoked. And considering that you can receive Universal Credit as long as you don’t have more than £6,000 in the bank monitoring people on benefits to flag up when they cross some imaginary “poverty line” as being potentially guilty of something – working on the side, trading on the side, fencing stolen goods, selling drugs, won the lottery, whatever – is plainly a ridiculous thing to say. Obviously if somebody on benefits has a new £40,000 BMW registered in their name, or buys a house, or plot of land, or whatever it could very well raise questions as per how they could afford to do something like that while claiming Housing Benefit. That is the case and has been the case for years. That isn’t new. Same with inheritances and such like. But the idea that everybody’s internet activity is going to be recorded, scrutinised and analysed microscopically is 100% not true.

        Homeland Prophet

        January 22, 2017 at 10:11 am

      • Don’t know about the interwebs love, but round here it only takes a neighbour to see a flat-screen TV through your window for you to get a visit from the dole office snoops 😉 We’ve had to stuff ours in the bedroom and put a curtain over it to keep it from prying eyes!

        Betty

        January 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

      • Can you buy anything other than a flat screen TV with a Freeview tuner? Being without a TV license is illegal but anybody, on benefits or not, can own as many televisions as they want as long as they’ve not been stolen or purloined illegally. The number of benefit claimants being ripped off after being supplied by a big TV system by hire-purchase by Brighthouse and similar is nobody’s business. Owning a big TV doesn’t mean you’re in the money. You’re talking nonsense, Betty!

        Homeland Prophet

        January 22, 2017 at 11:52 am

  15. Personal data being shared on huge scale, claims Which?

    Undercover researchers from the consumer group contacted 14 companies that sell data.

    They managed to access personal information about half a million people over the age of 50, including details about their salary and pensions.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38694016

    news seeker

    January 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    • Try telling that to my trolls news seeker who hounded me on this very site stating its not true.

      doug

      January 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    • It’s not easy to get information like that. People volunteer it all the time and allow it to be shared. Ever been asked by a mail order company what your birthday is to enter you into a prize draw or whatever? Or what kind of work you do, how much you earn, what your maximum educational level is etc? And how many have not bothered to tick the box to prevent such data being shared between that company and colleague companies to alert you about “offers” that might interest you?

      If you use a search engine like Google/Bing while logged on to your Google/Live account and not turned off your web history these companies will soon know what websites you access, what search you make, what kind of entertainment you enjoy, what you politics probably is, what your name, age, phone number and address is and all sorts of other personal things about you which can be compiled and shared – BECAUSE YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM IMPLICIT PERMISSION TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS BY NOT EXPLICITLY OPTING OUT.

      Data doesn’t need to be stolen because people freely surrender it and allow others to exploit it all the time.

      Homeland Prophet

      January 21, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    • There are companies who make millions by selling on data for commercial purposes. When working for a particular company who used to sell things – or try to sell things – by direct marketing via a call centre the company regularly bought DVDs stuffed with names, addresses and phone numbers for particular kinds of people who were most likely to consider products and services and purchase them via phone calls. So if they wanted to target people with money unlockable from pensions they would buy a DVD stuffed with data about homeowners over fifty who lived in prosperous areas of the country to avoid cold calling younger people or people without assets or money.

      It isn’t rocket science just a bloody pain if you’re some poor devil bombarded by unwanted calls.

      Homeland Prophet

      January 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      • When working for a particular company who sold windows/kitchens – or tried to sell windows/doors – the person’s name, address and (landline) number used to show on our screen. Those who we called were flabbergasted how we got their details, some were even in tears and not just because the windows/kitchen they had previously bought had broken/fallen down, they would persist how they were ‘ex-directory’, have had never given their phone number to anyone, even inadvertently, but we STILL has their details. Even to this day it remains a mystery. Oh, yeah, and we did (personally) sell quite a few windows/doors. And if you told us to F*** off or whatever what we would do is click ‘recall’ on the screen which meant that the auto-dallier would keep dialing you like every five minutes, yeah, bad, bad!

        Rogue Caller

        January 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

  16. The ‘poverty premium’ pushing the Just About Managing to the edge – and over it

    Poverty isn’t cheap. A combination of effects, including being unable to take advantage of the cheapest ways and opportunities to pay for goods and services, means that low-income households pay an average of £490 more for essentials each year compared to households where money isn’t quite so tight.

    And that is just the average premium; for some households it is far, far higher. According to the study carried out by the University of Bristol, poorer households typically pay between £350 and £750 in “poverty premium” each year. Single-adult households were the hardest hit, followed by lone parents.

    Previously, UK households on the lowest incomes would have been partially shielded from climbing prices as their benefits and tax credits would also rise in line with CPI. However, since April 2016, benefits for working age people who are not disabled have been frozen and will remain frozen until 2020. That means the poorest households are experiencing a real-terms cut in benefits, even before other austerity measures kick in.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/money/the-poverty-premium-pushing-jams-to-the-edge-a7533136.html

    news seeker

    January 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

  17. More for those concerned about personal information, which really does seem to have become a problem issue:

    Andrew Coates

    January 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    • As ive said many many times over the last decade, personal and or sensitive data is the new currency as it produces revenue in a multitude of ways.

      doug

      January 23, 2017 at 10:55 am


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