Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit lets “abusers control family finances.”

with 46 comments

Image result for universal credit abusers

2015 Report warned of risk of Abuser Control under Universal Credit.

Just when you thought that the stupidity of Universal Credit could not get any worse.

Now I – and I bet more than a few people here do as well – know women who had got so such a hard time from their partners that they fled to a women’s refuge.

To say that the new Universal Credit would have made their already hard lives harder bring rage to my throat.

Universal Credit hands power to abusers, MPs say.

BBC.

Welfare payments are turning the clock back to the 1950s and allowing abusers to control family finances, MPs say.

Under Universal Credit, payments are made to one person per household, often leaving abuse victims and their children dependent, a report by the Work and Pensions Committee said.

One abuse survivor said she feared the new system could leave her and her children with “nothing for weeks”.

The government said abuse support teams are on hand in every Jobcentre.

The Universal Credit system, which has been rolling out across the UK since 2015, aims to simplify the benefits and tax credits system with a single monthly payment.

Claimants typically provide details of one bank account for payments. The committee heard that they can request split payments, but Jobcentres are advised to only offer them in “very exceptional circumstances”.

The Huffington Post highlights this:

One domestic abuse survivor with children told the Commons Work and Pensions select committee: “He’ll wake up one morning with £1500 in his account and piss off with it, leaving us with nothing for weeks.”

Heidi Allen MP (Tory), Committee Member, said:

“One of the key improvements of Universal Credit over legacy benefit systems is the way it seeks to proactively support individuals. So it can’t be right that payments are made by default as a single block to a household. In the 21st Century women deserve to be treated as independent citizens, with their own aspirations, responsibilities and challenges. Good Government develops solutions that are dynamic and responsive to the individual as well as offering value for the tax payer, so I urge the DWP to show what I know to be true – that it can deliver both.”

We could have done without the claim that Universal Credit” has any “improvements”, and the (split infinitive)  “to proactively support individuals”.

The Huffington Post quotes this response,

Women’s Aid’s Katie Ghose said: “Universal Credit was not designed with survivors’ safety in mind. We have long been warning that Universal Credit risks making the domestic abuse worse for survivors and putting an additional barrier in the way of them escaping the abuse.

“It is clear from this report that there are major concerns about the safety of Universal Credit in cases where there is domestic abuse.”

This is what Women’s Aid had already found in 2015

Women’s Aid and the TUC wanted to find out more about women’s experiences of financial abuse and the potential implications for Universal Credit.

We conducted focus groups and an online survey with women survivors of domestic violence to find out more about their experiences and the impact that financial abuse had on their lives. We are grateful for the support of the TUC on this research project.

Key findings

  • Financial abuse includes control over money, exploitation of the survivor’s assets and sabotage of survivor’s efforts to work, study or interact with others.
  • Some survivors had no money or were given an allowance by the abusers
  • Many had little or no access to money even in a joint account
  • 67% of survivors in paid work at the time of the abuse agreed that their partner had monitored their work activities
  • Higher–income or ‘professional’ women can also experience financial abuse but may not be believed if people think domestic abuse is only linked to poverty
  • Disabled women are particularly at risk of abuse from partners, other family members or carers because of their impairments and additional benefit entitlement that they may have
  • Impacts of financial abuse included going without (71% of survey respondents went without essentials, 41% had to use the children’s birthday money or savings to buy essentials); 61% were in debt and 37% had a bad credit rating; 77% said their mental health had been affected
  • In interviews and focus groups, emotional or financial abuse came before other types of abuse (survey responses were less conclusive); but this does suggest that if we could identify and support survivors encountering these types of abuse earlier we might be able to prevent abuse escalating
  • Financial abuse is a barrier to leaving the abuser – some women had no money of their own. 52% of women survey respondents still living with their abuser said they could not afford to leave
  • Financial abuse continues after separation, often concerning difficulties getting child maintenance arrangements in place; legal disputes including court summonses; and disentangling joint assets
  • Of survey respondents, 36% had asked no-one for help with the financial abuse. 35% had told family and 26% told friends. 25% had asked a domestic violence service
  • Some abusers take women’s wages or benefits or get their benefits put in the abuser’s name. Abusers got benefits meant for the family, children or survivor – including Child Benefit. There were particular problems for non-UK nationals claiming benefit
  • The Government has said that, in cases of financial abuse, they can consider splitting Universal Credit between partners. But almost 85% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that split payments would make the abuse worse when their partner found out.

In May this year the FT published this:

Universal credit increasing risk of domestic abuse, critics claim

Payments for couples are paid into a single bank account following UK benefit reform

When “Anne” and her family were enrolled in the UK’s new universal credit benefits system, she and her children went hungry.

Instead of helping the family with their expenses, the new lump sum was paid into the bank account of her abusive husband, who “allocated” a tiny amount to her each month.

With the help of friends, Anne (who has asked that her real name not be used) escaped her husband and has applied for her own universal credit. But the process has been torturous, with a staff member at her local jobcentre confessing that she was “unsure of what exactly to do but they’d learn together”.

This what the present report’s summary says:

Universal Credit and domestic abuse 

Since 2010, the Government has begun to make great strides in tackling domestic abuse. This includes welcome recognition of the damage wrought by perpetrators of coercive control, including financial abuse—where a survivor is deprived of their financial independence. Accountability for domestic abuse lies squarely with the perpetrator. But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP/The Department) has a duty to ensure that it is providing the right support for survivors of abuse.

Universal Credit aims to bring the benefit system into the 21st century by mirroring the modern world of work. Claimants—whether single or couples—receive a single, monthly household payment in arrears. From this, they are expected to provide for the whole household and manage rent, bills and living expenses.

Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches are the frontline of social security. They are expected to build a personal relationship with Universal Credit claimants and to tailor support to meet their needs. That means that they need to be equipped with the right skills, knowledge and advice to support survivors of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is hugely complex, and the training Work Coaches currently receive leaves them ill-equipped to perform this vital function. The Department should, with specialist organisations, design and introduce a new training module for all Work Coaches. It should also introduce domestic abuse specialists in every Jobcentre, building upon and enhancing its existing disability employment and self-employment specialist model. Their role would be to act as a single point of contact in Jobcentres to foster links with domestic abuse services, and as a source of advice for individual Work Coaches.

Like all claimants, survivors of abuse need to keep in regular contact with their Work Coach. But if an abusive partner can access those communications, they may be at risk of further harm. The Department should add a private individual communication log to claimants’ joint online Universal Credit accounts by default and provide private rooms in all Jobcentres. This will help survivors to communicate safely and securely with their Work Coach, supporting disclosure of abuse and ensuring they receive support that they are due.

DWP should further consider co-location with domestic abuse services to enhance co-operation, and how Universal Support funding might be used to enhance links with these services. Universal Support could also incorporate more in-depth advice on bank accounts and financial management. This would help equip survivors with the support, confidence and resources they need in order to leave, and promote equitable money management amongst couples more widely.

As well as support in Jobcentres, the Department must also make sure that its systems are providing the most effective support possible for survivors of abuse. For a minority of claimants, single household payments can be misused by abusive partners to further abuse survivors. Under Universal Credit, claimants living with domestic abuse can face seeing their entire monthly income—including money meant for their children—go into their abusive partner’s account. There is no guarantee that any of the money they need to live or care for their children will reach them. That risks them remaining dependent on their abusive partner and making it harder for them to leave, should the opportunity present itself.

Universal Credit currently only allows claims to be split between partners in exceptional circumstances. DWP itself recognises the risk that requesting such an arrangement poses to survivors. The perpetrator will realise the survivor has requested the split when their own payments fall, potentially putting them in great danger. In light of this risk, many survivors simply will not request a split.

Survivors, and the organisations who represent them, told us there is a strong case for splitting Universal Credit couple payments more routinely, or even by default. This alone cannot prevent financial abuse. Some abusers will find a way to control their partner’s finances, whatever systems the DWP puts in place. Nevertheless, the Department must give serious consideration to any changes which might offer some protection, albeit limited, to survivors of abuse.

The process of splitting payments is complicated. Payments could be split in several different ways—from a simple 50:50 split to more complex calculations. Even amongst those who advocated splitting payments by default, we found no clear consensus on which approach would be best for claimants. Neither is it clear what would be within the capacity of Universal Credit’s IT and administrative systems, which have been mired in difficulty as the roll out progresses.

The Scottish Parliament, however, is convinced: it has passed legislation which requires the Scottish Government to introduce split payments by default. This offers a chance to explore the practicalities, understanding whether, and how, split payments by default could work for claimants and for the Department. The UK Government must seize this opportunity by supporting the Scottish Government’s experiments. DWP should view the introduction of split payments in Scotland as an opportunity to learn about the part that splitting payments more routinely could play in supporting survivors of abuse.

The Department should engage positively and quickly with the Scottish Government to support and negotiate the roll out of split payments, and to scope and agree different forms to trial. To enable a clearer understanding of the challenges, costs and feasibility of splitting by default, the Department should commit in response to our report to provide quarterly updates to Parliament on its progress with the Scottish Government. The Department must also learn from the Scottish experience. It should agree with the Scottish Government to co-commission and publish a full, independent evaluation of the split payment trials in Scotland, including detailed costings. When the final evaluation report is published, the Department should givecareful consideration to whether, on the basis of the evidence, there is a case for splitting payments by default in the rest of the UK.

More immediately, the Department should ensure that Universal Credit serves, as best possible, all parties it is intended for throughout the UK. Where claimants have dependent children, the entire Universal Credit payment should be made to the main carer by default. Where alternative split payment arrangements are permitted, the higher proportion of the split payment should remain with the main carer, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Department must also act urgently to collect the data it needs to ensure that it is supporting abuse survivors effectively. DWP claims that it has no reason to be concerned about the effects of UC on survivors, but it collects no data to enable it to know for sure. We heard compelling evidence that there is a serious risk of Universal Credit increasing the powers of abusers. The Department must prioritise gathering and publishing data on disclosures of abuse and split payment requests—including the number of requests, reasons for request and the number of split payments being made. This will help make sure vulnerable claimants are receiving the right support in the safest possible way.

The Government aspires, through Universal Credit, to create a new, modern welfare system. It has also demonstrated a clear commitment to being more supportive of survivors of domestic abuse. Ensuring Universal Credit reaches all members of a family it is intended for, and seizing the opportunity to learn valuable lessons on whether and how split payments could help survivors of abuse, will make vital contributions to achieving these objectives.

Recommendations of the Committee:

Ensure the benefit system does not facilitate abuse

Accountability for domestic abuse obviously lies squarely with the perpetrator, but the Committee says DWP has a moral duty to ensure the benefit system does not in any way facilitate abuse. The Committee heard evidence that, for a minority of claimants, single household payments of Universal Credit can make it easier for perpetrators to abuse and control their victims.

At one stroke, single payments allow perpetrators to take charge of potentially the entire household budget, leaving survivors and their children dependent on the abusive partner for all of their basic needs. As one survivor with children colourfully put it: “He’ll wake up one morning with £1500 in his account and piss off with it, leaving us with nothing for weeks.”

Ensure payments are received fairly

Universal Credit is intended to mirror the world of work, but neither male nor female employees are obliged to have their wages paid into the bank account of their partner. Instead, the principle of Universal Credit is that it is a single payment made to a household for the benefit of everyone in that household. DWP must do more to ensure that payments are received fairly by everyone in a claimant household.

The Committee says that the Department must give serious consideration to any policies that might offer some protection to survivors of abuse and deliver fairer payments to households. This includes splitting Universal Credit payment by default. The Scottish Government is already making arrangements to introduce split payments by default, but its ability to do this depends on DWP adapting Universal Credit’s systems to accommodate them.

The Committee recommends the Government engages quickly and positively with the Scottish Government, seizing the opportunity to pilot different ways of splitting payments and to reach an evidence-based conclusion on whether there is a case for splitting payments by default in the rest of the UK.

Pending the outcome of split payment pilots in Scotland, the Committee says that where claimants have dependent children, the entire UC payment should be made to the main carer, by default. Where alternative split payment requests are permitted, the higher proportion of the split payment should remain with the main carer other than in exceptional circumstances.

Improved safeguards and services

The Committee also recommends improved safeguards and services for abuse survivors in Jobcentre Plus. For survivors of domestic abuse, the consequences of unsecure communications can be devastating.

Like all claimants, survivors of abuse need to keep in regular contact with their Jobcentre Plus Work Coach and update them on their circumstances.

But holes in the system mean doing so can put them at risk of further harm. DWP must ensure it has every safeguard in place to protect vulnerable claimants, starting with a private room in every Job Centre, “without delay”, the Committee says, and privacy changes to the online journal.

Appoint a domestic abuse specialist

The Committee says every Jobcentre plus should be required to appoint a domestic abuse specialist. For many survivors of domestic abuse, Universal Credit will be the lifeline out of abuse, the income that enables them to provide for themselves and their new household.

JCP must work closely with expert services and the survivor to establish the claim and get the right support in place. Flaws in the current system obstruct lines of communication and prevent this from happening. An expert point of contact in Jobcentres to foster external links would ensure claimants get the support they vitally need.

Getting the right support and systems in place for Universal Credit claimants will not end domestic abuse. But it could play a small, vital role in minimising harm and implementing the Prime Minister’s wishes within the social security system.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 1, 2018 at 3:27 pm

46 Responses

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  1. Universal Credit is a Rapist’s Charter.

    Rape Survivor

    August 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm

  2. This was flagged up right from the get-go. How the hell could anybody, in this day and age when all workers are paid individually, think that it would be a good idea to entrust the incomes of every family member of a household to one member of that household to dole out as they pleased? And as for all this crap about separate payment streams being available, well, what bullied woman or children living under the same roof as their bully ask their Work Coach to pay them separately because their husband/lover was keeping all the money and spending it on themselves? If they did that and went home they’d probably get a good beating for their trouble.

    So much of Universal Credit is blatantly and obviously insane the question I keep asking myself is: How could such cancerous and dangerous nonsense go through the House of Commons and the Lords and end up being made the law of the land? How could something so glaringly awful not have been stopped earlier on? And let’s not forget that all of the parties, including the Labour party under Ed Miliband, were warmly disposed and supportive towards Universal Credit in the beginning.

    Seriously: How the heck could so many politicians have been so oblivious to the conspicuous dangers and enormous flaws inherent in the design of Universal Credit before it started to be implemented? Are they really so slapdash, stupid and naive to have believed that anything piloted by a failure like Iain Duncan Smith and welfare dabbler and dilettante David Freud was going to be anything but a disaster for all concerned?

    Unbelievable really.

    Jim

    August 1, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    • The single payment to the ‘head of the household’ has been the cornerstone of universal credit since it’s inception; this is not some ‘devil-in-the-detail’ clause buried away in the legislation that has only just been unearthed.

      The Devil's Tune

      August 1, 2018 at 4:44 pm

  3. Universal Credit needs to be scrapped ASAP, it cannot be “fixed”, SCRAP IT !

    trev

    August 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

  4. DWP confirms it will be refunding Workfare conscripts £2 million pounds* of illegal benefit sanctions to “3789-4305 individuals“, which should be more like £13 million if they refunded the 231,000 conscripts punished.

    [ Benefit Sanctions Must Be Stopped Without Exceptions in UK & Benefit Sanctions: Pre-election policies of @UKlabour and @LibDems ]

    Some background: #Workfare: illegal benefit sanctions a breach of human rights, a “terrifying threat to civil liberty” and @UKLabour’s support for this “brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people”

    DWP minister Alok Sharma announces a Remedial Order[1] to amend the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, which the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) will scrutinise. This concerns 231,000 claimants and the Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson Poundland workfare litigation and forced-labour conscripts being illegally punished with an average of £550 of benefit sanctions. The Supreme Court found sanctioned benefit claimants did not get the right to a fair hearing to challenge sanctions and therefore the DWP breached of Article 6 (Fair Trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    This highlights a dark day in Labour Party history when it had supported Tory and Libdem retrospective legislation to deny claimants the right to be repaid illegally sanctioned benefits.

    “The Government has effectively declared that it is above the law. “The precedent is a terrifying threat to civil liberty,” says classical liberal think-tank Civitas. “The entire concept of ‘Rule of Law’ is undermined as soon as the government starts to cover its back like this.”
    Owen Jones: ‘Workfare: Why did so many Labour MPs accept this brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people?’ – Independent – Wednesday 20 March 2013

    The JCHR scrutiny and a Remedial Order will probably only mean a “small” number of claimants that “had” lodged a “live appeal” against workfare sanctions should get a refund, despite the retrospective law seeking to deny such. Rather than the 231,000 affected by the illegal sanctions.

    “The proposed draft Remedial Order ensures the right to a fair hearing for a small group of job seekers who had a live appeal against a sanction decision made under the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 (“the ESE Regulations”) when the 2013 Act came into force. It enables the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to change this sanction decision and refund the amount withheld, without those affected individuals having to continue with their appeal.”
    Jobseeker’s (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013: Written statement – HCWS807 – 28 June 2018

    Join Boycott Workfare‘s campaign against forced-unpaid-labour and sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.

    Footnote:

    [1] “A remedial order is a form of delegated legislation which seeks to correct a miscalculation or imbalance between UK law and the European Convention on Human Rights.” https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/remedial-orders/

    *“Our current estimate is that the overall amount that may fall to be paid by
    refunding relevant sanction amounts is in the region of £1.69-1.87 million, again this
    is an initial estimate and subject to change” (emphasis added)

    https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/thousands-of-workfare-conscripts-to-be-refunded-2-million-pounds-for-illegal-benefit-sanctions-boycottworkfare/

    Mr Frank Zola

    August 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    • Absolutely disgraceful! The DWP going soft under McVey. This is what happens when you put a woman in charge of Government departments.

      Flib

      August 1, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      • Indeed! Iain Duncan Smith must be rolling in his grave 😀

        Dr Death

        August 1, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    • and thats the reason you dont enter in to contracts with providers 😉

      superted

      August 1, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    • The then Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Liam Byrne, conspired with Iain Duncan Smith and whipped Labour MPs to allow the retrospective legislation needed to enable this travesty to happen. Liam Byrne is still Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill and still a duplicitous and a mighty tw@t.

      Where is Labour as far as Universal Credit goes? As far as I know they are still for it, although with Labour it’s difficult to know since they seem to have no firm policies about anything – not even Brexit! Personally I don’t trust any politicians, certainly not tub-thumping Jeremy Corbyn, and reckon all of them would sell their granny into slavery if it won them power.

      Sengoku Syunsuke

      August 2, 2018 at 6:18 am


  5. Universal discredit

    Universal Credit always endangered women – arrogant ministers didn’t listen

    Just because you believe hard enough in an ideology doesn’t mean it’ll work.

    Remember when they first came up with Universal Credit? You have to stretch your mind back – to when dinosaurs roamed Whitehall and Iain Duncan Smith was inexplicably regarded as a voice of authority. OK, so not so different from now.

    The former work and pensions secretary and current Brexiteer airwaves-botherer first announced his plan to overhaul the welfare system during 2010’s Conservative Party conference.

    In that speech, which twice claimed Labour’s welfare system punished parents for living together, there was a hint at his grand plan – saving money on benefits, yes, but protecting the family unit as a social mission.

    “Strong, stable families” are a “pathway out of poverty”, he told the conference hall – compounding his plan in a second speech at the Arlington Centre in Camden the following month:

    “We recognise there is no better shield from child poverty than strong and stable families,” he said, referring to “people who suffer high levels of family breakdown”.

    In the Universal Credit consultation document of July 2010, 21st Century Welfare, “strengthening the family” was one of seven guidelines outlined by the government to guide the reform – repeated in the follow-up white paper establishing the policy that November.

    Somehow, this emphasis on family stability translated into paying Universal Credit – which rolls a household’s benefits into one, monthly payment – into one bank account for the entire household by default.

    Each household nominates one account to receive the monthly payments.

    Now we can see how that brainwave worked out. A report by the work and pensions select committee has found that this set-up risks a family’s income going entirely into an abusive partner’s bank account – making partners and children more dependent on their abuser and unable to leave.

    Calling for an overhaul of this payment system, the committee chair Frank Field had strong words for the government.

    “This is not the 1950s,” he said. “Not only does Universal Credit’s single household payment bear no relation to the world of work, it is out of step with modern life and turns back the clock on decades of hard-won equality for women.”

    Campaigners were pointing this out long before the change came in. Women would be vulnerable to abusive or coercive partners, they warned. Without access to money in their own accounts, they would be at risk of being controlled financially and trapped in an abusive household.

    Back in 2015, years before Universal Credit started being introduced nationally, I visited Easterhouse – the Glasgow estate where Duncan Smith himself had his weepy “epiphany” about inequality in 2002. There, Universal Credit endangering women was already a concern.

    “If it’s [the money] all lumped into one bank account, and only the partner or husband has access – that’s a bad, sorry road,” I was told by Jimmy Wilson, then the head of local grassroots charity FARE (Family Action Rogerfield & Easterhouse), which had originally shown Duncan Smith around on his visit.

    But no one listened to these concerns and the ensuing warnings of domestic abuse survivors as the policy unfolded.

    At the moment, the only action available is to call the department. If a couple breaks up or a partner leaves the household, they have to inform the Department for Work and Pensions and start a separate claim – which could leave them without payment for weeks.

    If someone is being denied access to their money by a partner, they are advised to call the Universal Credit helpline (which has a notorious volume of repeated and failed calls).

    “Alternative payment arrangements are considered on a case-by-case basis and assessed on their individual merits,” reads the Department website, which nevertheless insists that “wherever possible, these alternative payment arrangements will be temporary”.

    After years of warnings, culminating in an inquiry by MPs deeming it dangerous, how is it still government policy that this is the preferred set-up, and should be maintained “wherever possible”?

    A simple answer. Arrogance. Arrogantly believing that ideological zeal – that evangelical obsession with keeping families together preached by Iain Duncan Smith all those years ago – would make this policy work, and anyone pointing out flaws was simply a non-believer.

    Just another example of how ministers insist on “policy-based evidence”, as some in Whitehall bitterly put it, to ignore huge, dangerous problems in their ideological missions.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/08/universal-credit-always-endangered-women-arrogant-ministers-didn-t-listen

    New Statesman

    August 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm

  6. When are we going to see mass protests over this universal cobblers? We’ve already had the Trump protests, the #metoo movement, the keep-failed-asylum-seekers in the UK…

    Rose

    August 2, 2018 at 6:01 am

    • The reason things like that haven’t happened yet is because the government is rolling it out very slowly and sneakily and the people affected stand alone scattered throughout the country and disorganised. At the moment only about 10% of those destined to get Universal Credit are on it; we haven’t reached a critical mass of affected claimants yet. It will be interesting to see what happens when the other 90% get moved from the old system to the new and realise how absolutely awful the UC system actually is.

      Sengoku Syunsuke

      August 2, 2018 at 6:10 am

    • It is only the politically correct bollocks that is allowed to protest.

      T Robinson

      August 2, 2018 at 7:02 am

  7. If Universal Credit actually “mirrored the world of work” every person would receive it separately just the same as wages and nobody would be sanctioned and lose their income for one, three or thirty-six months for making a trivial mistake. Universal Credit is evil to the core, just like the people that invented it, and cannot be saved. I really cannot imagine the suffering that will result when millions, literally millions, of citizens in receipt of “legacy benefits” are clumsily “migrated” from the old cranky system, which worked, to the new one which has caused so much anguish, misery and death.

    Sengoku Syunsuke

    August 2, 2018 at 6:05 am

  8. “Tory ministers launch secret study to see if their own cruel austerity policies have caused food bank surge”

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tories-launch-secret-study-see-13019775

    Sengoku Syunsuke

    August 2, 2018 at 8:53 am

  9. If it does not work, why keep pushing it.

    Well simply put the government wants to be able to watch all the money move and im not just talking public revenue. A plan very often not talked about is one where traditional paper and metal currency is removed from circulation along with the addition of a separate currency you know as bitcoin, a totally traceable method of money. If the government and banks are allowed to pull this off, never again will you be able to hoard money as an asset without them getting to ride it to, never get to give it to people they don’t want you giving it to.
    These days its all RTI, with strict punishable legal rules like no employer is allowed to pay an employee prior to submitting to the tax office first whether weekly monthly or one off payment.
    Now some would think this is progressive but the truth is people don’t change meaning many will go back to the days of trading goods prior to and sole reason for the existence of money in the first place, so we are actually going to end up going back in time,rather than forward.

    doug

    August 2, 2018 at 10:10 am

    • This is the truth behind benefit fraud.

      http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/housing-benefit-fraud-and-tax-evasion-rife-in-orthodox-jewish-sect-high-court-hears-1-5634940

      https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/16-arrested-police-target-46m-14979709

      While the easily led public sheep fall the dancing on table top disabled person the truth is it is the working class legal and illegal who have been ripping off the tax payer and not the unemployed as pedaled by the likes of IDS back in the day. The number one benefit defrauded is housing benefit.

      It surprises me these stories got out as DWP has for such a long time managed to keep them quiet and even knew of this level of fraud while pedaling the lies on numbers they did about the unemployed.

      Just proving again that 9 times out of 10, its a person working who commits benefit fraud.

      doug

      August 2, 2018 at 10:27 am

      • According to the comments the same multi-million pounds fraud has been pulled in some place called Inverclyde. Of course nothing came of it – bye, bye taxpayer’s cash! No prosecutions, no jail time, nothing, nada, zilch. Politically correct ‘cultural sensitivities’, anyone? The so-called JUST-ICE system in the UK is a joke!

        TR

        August 2, 2018 at 10:37 am

    • $hitcoin and the rest of the so-called ‘cryptocurrencies’ need to die a death… and soon…

      Max & Stacey Keiser

      August 2, 2018 at 10:32 am

    • Hard currency probably won’t be disappearing for a long time if ever. After all in the UK the new £5.00 and £10.00 polymer notes were only launched last year and the new polymer £20 note not due to enter circulation until 2020! They will circulate for at least ten or twenty years and who knows where the world will be then?

      Flapdoodle

      August 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm

  10. It is utter stupid EU bollocks such as this as to why we are now heading for Brexit.

    “Sorry for the intrusion. Please be aware we use cookies and similar technologies to help our site work, to understand how it is used, and to personalise content and advertising. It helps us continue to provide access to our content for free. By clicking “Accept” you agree to allow cookies to be placed.

    You can learn more and change your consent and preferences via “Show Options” below and via our privacy notice.”

    Utter horseshit! Like anyone gives a shit!

    EU R Bananas (straight bananas)

    August 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

    • This stupid crap interferes with web pages loading. You can’t get passed the notice. Screws up Mozilla browsers i.e. Firefox. What bonehead (EU) bureaucrats think up this shit? What are they on? Or are they just nuts?

      Fuck You EU - c 'ya!

      August 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

    • Cookies can be used to track what you do online and so it’s not a bad thing to be able to refuse them if you want. If you accept them, which you have to in order to allow browsers to persist data in order to make sites work, you can clear them when you close your browser or manually from time to time to avoid being tracked.

      It also makes refusing to use tracker sites, like Universal Jobmatch, which use cookies to track users, which as far as I am concerned is a darn good thing.

      Flapdoodle

      August 2, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    • If you worry about cookies just install an add-on like Privacy Badger, in your browser, and use it to disable tracking cookies, automatically, with a user option to enable/disable cookies manually for individual sites which need it.

      https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

      Saugen Sie meinen Schwanz

      August 2, 2018 at 12:54 pm

  11. The Bank of England has gone and done it. Halle-fucking-lujah! Praise the Lord. Now we won’t have to listen to Carney banging on about interest rates will rise “soon”.

    “The Bank of England has raised the interest rate for only the second time in a decade.

    The rate has risen by 0.25% to 0.75% – the highest level since March 2009.

    The move will increase the interest costs of more than three-and-a-half million residential mortgages that have variable or tracker rates.

    But it will be welcomed by savers, who could see a lift in their interest rates over the coming months.

    However, after the last rate rise in November, half of savings accounts did not move at all.”

    Why are they doing this now?

    Because we are sick of Carney’s pronouncements that an interest rate rise is “imminent”.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45043776

    Jager

    August 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

    • Only means an extra £20.00 per month on a £150,000 mortgage.

      Flapdoodle

      August 2, 2018 at 12:48 pm

  12. Council fines roofer £300 for having empty crisp packets and sandwich wrappers in his van – because he doesn’t have a licence to carry rubbish
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6018779/Roofer-fined-300-having-crisp-packets-sandwich-wrappers-work-van.html

    superted

    August 2, 2018 at 3:03 pm

  13. Andrew Coates

    August 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm

  14. Food banks are charitable endeavours. What would have happened if there were no food banks? When the coalition and later the Tories on their own were pursuing slash and burn in respect to social security the help given to those suffering food poverty by food bank charities was essentially accidental; the government were not factoring in or counting on food banks to help the starving when they cut, capped, froze and “reformed” like there was no tomorrow – which can only lead to the conclusion that the government was relaxed, almost happy, about millions of the poorest and most vulnerable British citizens going hungry in 21st century Britain while simultaneously cutting income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax for the benefit the wealthy.

    Saugen Sie meinen Schwanz

    August 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    • Well suce ma pipe but this brave lady has just launched the enquiry you ask for,

      Andrew Coates

      August 2, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      • Of course it has made people suffer that’s what it was bloody designed for duuuhh.

        Violet

        August 2, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      • But it’s a “secret” inquiry. Apparently some people will have to sign “disclosure agreements” to prevent them from leaking the results of the inquiry to the public. Which sounds kind of suspicious to me. Like, as if, the bad bits might be withheld and the few good bits paraded in the medium as proof the Universal Credit was the greatest thing since sliced bread! And how could a government as arrogant, dishonest and incompetent as the one we have now ever have the courage to admit that Universal Credit was causing food poverty, misery, wrecking lives and even triggering premature death in the worst cases? Can anybody in their wildest dreams imagine the ambitious liar Esther McVey owning and holding her hands up to that one? I can’t.

        Saugen Sie meinen Schwanz

        August 2, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    • “Food banks are charitable endeavours.” No they are not! The Trussell Trust is a FRANCHISE – and an expensive one at that.

      Brutusinai

      August 4, 2018 at 11:42 am

  15. UK comms revenues reach all-time low of £54.7bn, as internet kills the TV star

    Plus: Ofcom report reveals demise of the phone-call

    Communications revenues in the UK reached their lowest point in 2017, falling 2.1 per cent to £54.7bn, while people are ditching calls and texts for over-the-top messaging, according to Ofcom.

    In its annual state of the communications market report, the comms regulator said that the decline was due to contracting TV revenues, as well as total telecoms and post revenues.

    Telecoms revenues fell by 1 per cent to £35.6bn, in 2017, which Ofcom put down to changes in phone use that has seen reductions in phone calls and text messages.

    Outgoing calls per person fell by 18 per cent and 2 per cent for fixed and mobile, respectively, while total monthly SMS and MMS messages per person fell by 16 per cent to 98 texts.

    At the same time, the increased use of over-the-top services means there has been an increase in data use.

    Mobile data use rose from 1.3GB in June 2016 to 1.9GB in June 2017, while for fixed lines, usage rose from an average of 132GB in June 2016 to 190GB in June 2017.

    Although take-up of fixed broadband has now plateaued at 80 per cent, there has been an increased spend on fixed voice and internet services, which Ofcom said was due to an increase in more expensive superfast services.

    Superfast broadband connections in the UK rose from 10.8 million to 12.8 million, while 2017 was the first year where the number of ADSL fixed broadband connections surpassed by fibre connections, which Ofcom described as a watershed moment.

    Ofcom noted that the UK is seventh in the European Union on the availability of next-generation access cable and fibre infrastructure – but “still lags behind other countries” in terms of full-fibre availability.

    The report also makes clear that better smartphone tech means that people are increasingly using their phones to go online – 62 per cent of the time people spent on the internet was from mobile devices, and just 25 per cent of time is on a desktop or laptop.

    And this has also changed the way people buy mobile services, with a shift from pre-pay to pay-monthly services, and the more recent increase in SIM-only sales – partly driven by increasing minimum contract terms.

    This has brought with it greater dependency on such devices, and Ofcom has used this as the main PR point of this year’s report, by comparing the current situation with a decade ago – a year after the iPhone came on the market.

    Today, some 78 per cent of people own a smartphone, compared with 17 per cent in 2008, the report said; in contrast desktop PC ownership plummeted from 69 per cent to 28 per cent.

    People now check their phones on average every 12 minutes and about two-fifths of people look at their phone within five minutes of waking up or going to sleep.

    And, while Facebook and Google unsurprisingly reached 90 per cent of UK internet users each month in 2018, the BBC has the third largest reach, beating off Microsoft and Amazon sites for the first time.

    For search, although most people use Google – some 87 per cent – a dogged 4 per cent are still going to Ask. About a fifth turn to Yahoo!, 44 per cent to Bing and 1 per cent DuckDuckGo.

    The report also found that just 17 per cent of people said they felt stressed when they wanted to access the internet but couldn’t – suggesting the majority of the UK populace has better anger management than many of El Reg’s bitter hacks.

    Meanwhile, the shift in attitudes and better internet access has changed TV viewing habits.

    Although broadcasters continue to account for most viewing, household spend on TV fell by an average of 4 per cent a month between 2016 and 2017, while subscription services like Netflix saw revenues rise to £895m. Some 39 per cent of people now have an on-demand sub.

    Radio appears more resilient, with nine out of 10 adults saying they listen to the radio for an average of almost 21 hours a week and 75 per cent of all audio listening being live radio.

    But this might change as podcasts increase in popularity – for those who listen to podcasts, the amount of time spent listening to live radio drops to 48 per cent.

    For the postal services, the continued shift towards online communications once again dented addressed letter revenues, which fell by 6 per cent to £4.1bn.

    This was offset, though, by a 5 per cent boost in parcel revenues, to £9.3bn, with 12 per cent more parcels sent in 2017 than the previous year. Ofcom said this was due to an increase in online shopping.

    Spending on direct marketing fell by 2 per cent in real terms, to £1.8bn, in 2017, which is in contrast to a 10 per cent decline in the previous year – and as anyone with a letterbox can attest, restaurants and takeaways are the main offenders. ®

    http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/02/uk_comms_revenues_reach_all_time_low_of_547bn/

    The Register

    August 2, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    • “For search, although most people use Google – some 87 per cent – a dogged 4 per cent are still going to Ask. About a fifth turn to Yahoo!, 44 per cent to Bing and 1 per cent DuckDuckGo.”

      Huh? That means 156% of people use Google, Ask, Yahoo!, Bing and DuckDuckGo? WTF?

      Saugen Sie meinen Schwanz

      August 3, 2018 at 6:40 am

    • As I keep saying to Coachy I don’t own a smartphone and never will 😉

      Sent from my iPhone

      Radioactive

      August 3, 2018 at 7:18 am

    • A study, published Friday in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and funded by the European Research Council, suggests that high speed internet access is causing people to lose up to 25 minutes of sleep per night compared to those without high speed internet. From a report:
      It’s the first study to causally link broadband access to sleep deprivation. The so-called “digitalization of the bedroom,” defined by our inability to part with our phones/laptops/televisions before bed, has already been linked to various sleep disorders. […] As the researchers found, high speed internet access “promotes excessive electronic media use,” which has already been shown to have detrimental effects on sleep duration and quality. The effects of high speed internet access were particularly noticeable in younger age demographics.

      https://science.slashdot.org/story/18/08/03/1834203/high-speed-internet-is-causing-widespread-sleep-deprivation-study-finds

      Slashdot

      August 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

  16. John McDonnell might soon regret handing out copies of Cicero

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has given all his cabinet a copy of Cicero’s advice on how to win arguments. This is a very foolish move.

    ‘Rhetoric’ (same root as ‘orator’), or persuasive speaking, was the name of this activity. In the 4th century bc, Aristotle produced the definitive guide in his Art of Rhetoric, from which most of Cicero’s advice is drawn. His top tips included: work from the general (is this good in principle?) to the specific (is this example of it practical?). Examine any course of action under four headings: is it possible? Necessary? Advantageous? Honourable (i.e. just, moral, etc.)? Set up arguments from evidence, logic, likelihood, maxims (‘too many cooks’) and parallel examples (usually from the past). Most of all, present yourself as an honest person (êthos) and understand your audience so you know how to play on their emotions (pathos).

    For Plato this was the work of the devil. The reason was that the actual training in rhetoric taught a man how to argue both sides of any case with equal ease, without considering where right and wrong lay. It was, in other words, a means to an end, whether the end was noble or ignoble. That will suit a man like McDonnell perfectly, but what should worry him is that rhetoric encourages listeners to question what they hear.

    That seems to be the reason why discussions about rhetoric began to emerge in 5th century bc Athens, home of the world’s first and last democracy. The assembly of male citizens made all the decisions after listening to speeches from those willing to speak. The latter wished to persuade by any means, the former to know if the wool was being pulled over their eyes, and if so, how to remove it. The emergence of such discussions enlightened both sides.

    Guides to winning arguments are by their very nature guides to defeating them. They may empower speakers, but they also empower the listeners. This could be fatal to the McDonnell-Corbyn project, a blinding golden ‘fleece’ if ever there was one.

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/07/john-mcdonnell-might-soon-regret-handing-out-copies-of-cicero/

    The Spectator

    August 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    • If true then what’s the point? Can you imagine Diane Abbott reading Cicero? Pull the other one.

      Saugen Sie meinen Schwanz

      August 3, 2018 at 8:21 am

  17. What exactly is the Internet-of-Things?

    1. Its a Smart TV that exists for industry-wide consumer surveillance

    2. Its a vacuum cleaner with video cam for remote spying capability

    3. Its the very next Alexa / eavesdropping smart-speaker clusterfuck

    4. Its a car that will spy on you anywhere / everywhere you go / drive

    5. Its a kids toy that will burn your kids privacy badly or even horribly

    6. Its a home security device that will often leave the front door open

    7. Its a home security system that will track your family for hackers

    8. Its medical equipment / a hacked CT scanner that gives a lethal dose

    9. Its a kettle / home device hacked to start a fire while you’re asleep!

    0. Its a cyberwar device for ddosing and conducting WW3 attacks etc.

    ~~~~~

    IoT is basically

    ~~~~~

    1. A solution to a problem no one really cares about versus flying cars

    2. An empty marketing sales pitch in search of some real practical use

    3. Intelligence / Spying target-device that Govt has promised to exploit

    4. A device that ‘phones-home’ reliably, but fails when you need it to work

    5. A host of juicy data left wide-open on an Amazon S3 Cloud bucket

    6. A marketing device designed to bump GDP / Surveillance-Economy

    7. A ‘Scam’ perpetrated on unwitting low-hanging-fruit users / consumers

    8. A clusterfuck of unintended consequences that’ll burn vulnerable people

    9. Endless devices offering 24/7 Worldwide-Surveillance Orwellian-Hell

    0. – *Internet_of_Threats* – *Internet_of_Tat* – *Internet_of_Twats* –

    IoT

    August 3, 2018 at 7:10 am

  18. Andrew Coates

    August 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

    • Andrew Coates

      August 3, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    • Thouse young’uns ought to be paying the employers for giving them a chance to gain work experience and gain important social skills rather than expecting employers to pay useless boys and girls pin money. Ask not what an employer can do for you, ask what you can do for an employer.

      Uptighty Rightie

      August 3, 2018 at 6:37 pm


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