Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Crunch Time for Failing Universal Credit Scheme.

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Please Verify £3 Billion Extra Funding.

Theresa May has been told that she must inject nearly £3 billion into controversial benefit reforms as the policy reaches its most delicate stage in parliament.

MPs will be asked this autumn to approve the extension of universal credit payments to 2.1 million less well-off families who at present claim income-linked benefits. These include about one million families in which parents work in low-paid jobs. This group of people who are “just about managing” have previously been identified by the prime minister as her political priority.

The Times.

Government faces crunch decisions this Autumn as Universal Credit enters its ‘most difficult phase’.

The Resolution Foundation says,

The government must get the final phase of Universal Credit (UC) right this Autumn if it’s to reboot the reputation of its flagship welfare reform programme and support millions of low income families, according to a new report published today by the Resolution Foundation.

The benefits of moving focuses on the final, and in many ways most difficult, phase of UC, which involves moving 2.1 million families currently claiming benefits (such as tax credits and Employment Support Allowance) onto the new system. This includes around a million ‘just about managing’ families who are in work.

The details of the crucial final phase are due to be decided upon in parliament this Autumn and rolled out from July 2019 onwards. This ‘managed migration’ is the most difficult phase yet for UC because it involves people that have not chosen to apply for the new benefit.

The report notes that the principle of Universal Credit has consistently enjoyed cross-party support on the basis of two key advantages – improved financial incentives and higher-take up for the simplified benefit.

However, the first advantage has been undermined by cuts in Summer Budget 2015 that reduced the generosity of the scheme. The small print of UC’s design also means that the financial incentives for single parents and second earners to enter and progress in work are weak.

The Foundation says that upholding the second key advantage of UC – encouraging higher take-up – should therefore be a top priority for government as it seeks parliamentary approval for the legal rules that will govern the upcoming managed migration this Autumn. It argues that the potential gains from higher take-up are significant, with the OBR estimating that 700,000 families could gain around £2.9bn in total.

The benefits of moving says that a smooth final phase of the rollout, which prevents cash losses and encourages more families to claim their full benefit entitlement, could help to reboot the reputation of UC. However, it warns that further design flaws – which need to be resolved this Autumn – risk further undermining the roll-out and could put people off claiming UC altogether.

The Foundation’s recommendations to make a success of the most difficult phase of UC include:

  • Speeding up UC payments. The government should show that 90 per cent of new claims to UC are paid on time and in full before it rolls out the managed migration process. In February 2018, 83 per cent of claims were paid in full and on time, with little improvement since June 2017.
  • Reducing financial risks. The government should ensure that the state, rather than individuals, bears any financial risk that may arise from teething problems in the managed migration phase. No existing claim should be closed until a new UC claim is in place, so that people don’t lose support altogether.
  • Boosting financial incentives. The government should introduce an earnings disregard for those being forced to move onto UC to prevent claimants with volatile earnings (such as self-employed workers or those on zero-hours contracts), or who have a short-term boost in pay, from losing out financially from the transition. More broadly, the government should improve incentives by increasing single parent work allowances and introducing one for second earners.

David Finch, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“Universal Credit enjoyed almost universal support when it was first announced. But its reputation has been undermined in recent years by significant cuts and payment delays that have left too many claimants in difficult financial straits.

“But despite these problems, the rollout of Universal Credit is still going ahead and is in fact about to enter its most difficult phase as two million families already claiming benefits start to be moved onto the new system – including one million just about managing families.

“Get this final phase of the rollout right and it could help to reboot Universal Credit’s reputation, but get things wrong and UC’s reputation risks taking another battering, and worryingly some families could be put off claiming UC altogether.”


Calls for further delays to fix flaws before million working families move on to benefit

Failure to manage the critical next phase of universal credit, during which about a million low-income working families will be moved on to the benefit, could sink the controversial welfare programme altogether, experts have warned.

The Resolution Foundation says ministers should consider further delays to the rollout of the benefit so that design flaws can be fixed and further safeguards put in place to protect claimants from risks of financial hardship.

There is concern that universal credit could prove politically explosive for ministers when the large cohort of “just-about-managing” working families in receipt of tax credits are subjected to its well-documented problems with payment delays.

More than 2 million households – including about a million working families, as well as 750,000 disabled and ill claimants unable to work – will be transferred to universal credit under so-called “managed migration” over three years from next July.


‘Debt, tears and suicidal thoughts’: This is the reality of universal credit in Cardiff

Carer Vivien Soloman, 60, from Tremorfa, has been told she cannot receive anything as her partner’s pension counts towards the maximum household income they’re entitled to under Universal Credit.

Despite being signed off work after breaking her wrist in April last year and suffering from stress, she is now without any income.In six years time, when she turns 66, she will be entitled to receive her own state pension yet under Universal Credit she is not entitled to any benefits.

Vivien recently received a letter from her housing association telling her she is nearly £1,000 in arrears and faces being forced out of her home after 24 years.She and her partner have seen their council tax bills jumped up by over double – rocketing to over £90 a month when she used to pay £24 a month.

That’s on top of a maxed out overdraft of £2,000, with bank charges of £35 a month, paying her sister £30 a month for credit card debt and still paying for her father’s funeral after he died in April.With no savings, she can’t afford to pay it back, and it’s making her have suicidal thoughts.Vivien, whose partner is a retired painter and decorator, feels trapped.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

38 Responses

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  1. Come on Jeremy Corbyn, Universal Credit cannot be “paused & fixed”, it must be scrapped. Restore a functioning Social Security system or replace it with an *unconditional* Basic Income, but either way SCRAP UNIVERSAL CREDIT!


    September 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    • Corbyn won’t do anything, he belongs to a system of the two party state in which both parties are controlled by the same force, and whilst they may squabble over certain issues to give the impression of opposing one another, they actually follow the same ideology, which is why the inhabitants of democracies soon discover that whoever they vote for NOTHING EVER CHANGES.


      September 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      • I understand your criticism of democracy, afterall it was Plato who described Democracy as an imperfect system , and I am fully aware of the way in which the Left/Right paradigm of modern two-party democracy is essentially the Hegelian Dialectic in operation; Thesis Vs. Antithesis produces Synthesis, but I see Corbyn & McDonnel as potentially being the fly in the ointment in that respect, hopefully.


        September 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

  2. £5 a month the same as Coates 👺


    September 8, 2018 at 1:42 pm

  3. It’s tempting to think that Universal Credit may be on the verge of collapse but we have to remember who we’re dealing with here. The Tories have quite deliberately destroyed our Social Security system and have already created chaos without a care in the world, they don’t care how much further chaos they cause by implementing a system that is designed to be unworkable & unusable. Many of the neoliberal Rightwing Labour ‘Centrists’ might not care either, but Corbyn should.


    September 9, 2018 at 11:25 am

  4. Universal Credit is here to stay but could be improved massively by cutting the waiting period before payment from five week to two (or less), paying each claimant their entitlements individually (rather than to one person per house hold), making payments on a weekly/fortnightly basis if needed/requested, abandon in-work conditionality on people working part-time, making sanctions rational, proportionate and fair (rather than doling out long fixed term penalties for trivial mistakes and transgressions), pay rent money direct to landlords if needed/requested, either abolish local authorities from making benefit claimants pay a significant portion of council tax altogether or include extra money in Universal Credit entitlements to meet such payments fully, allow people to manage their claims online and/or in person with a member of staff locally at a Jobcentre or similar, and for the love of God unfreeze already inadequate in-work benefit levels and uprate them in line with inflation to restore a floor that nobody can fall lower than whatever their circumstances.

    Does Jeremy Corbyn even know what Universal Credit is?

    I can’t remember the last time I heard him talking about it.

    Neil Milbourne

    September 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    • They need to scrap the ludicrous 35 hours jobsearch rule too. I was told by JCP adviser (dole clerk by another name) that on UC I will be expected to do 5 hrs jobsearch 7 days a week nonstop, how the hell can anyone do that? I don’t have broadband at home, just limited internet on a faulty knackered old phone, the Jobcentres & libraries arent open 7 days and library internet access is restricted to one hour. As for Corbyn he needs to wake up about UC and speak out about it.


      September 9, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      • Suppose you said to them, “Look. I have no idea how to spend 35 hours a week looking for work. I need some guidance. If you can give me a schedule listing things that I can do every week, week after week, I will try to follow your advice. As an employee of the Jobcentre if you don’t know how to fill all those hours with work search activities how the heck am I expected to. Tell me what to do and if I can I’ll do it.”

        I wonder what they would say or do.

        I am also under this obligation and find it impossible to fulfil and so just lie about it; there’s nothing they can do about it because unless you are being watched every minute of every day it’s impossible for them to know what you’re up to. You can tell them that you spent five or six hours walking around the town/city, industrial estate or whatever “investigating” whether any work was advertised casually and unless you’re being followed they can’t so anything but take your word for it. This 35-hour work search thing is meaningless anyway since some people work slowly and some work fast; one person’s hard work is another person’s idling. It’s all complete and utter balls because unless you are under scrutiny the requirement is unpolicable.

        They might as well threaten to sanction you for leaving the toilet seat up.

        Neil Milbourne

        September 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      • DSC_0063


        September 9, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      • the 35hr job search is an expectation there is no legislation to enforce it with a sanction doubt other than actively seeking employment.

        the dwp has lost at a upper tribunal over the 35hr job search as buy law if you take 2 steps per week to find work then thats enough.

        and it is nothing new as had 35hr job search on my cc over ten years ago as all it is used for is to make you give up and sign off benefits.

        so as long as you apply for jobs and can prove this the time taken does not matter and there are plenty of foi requests to back this up.


        September 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      • I lie my head off to them, only do 1 hour job search a day, & usually apply for 4 to 6 jobs it only takes a few minutes on indeed.


        September 9, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      • Exactly. I will be forced to lie in order to obtain my Benefits, or get Sanctioned. Everyone I have asked who is on UC have said they just make it up. Just shows what utter bollocks it all is.


        September 9, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      • https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ill_spend_35_hours_each_week_loo#comment-81749

        31. Thus regulation 95 does not mean that a failure to engage in work search for 35
        hours a week necessarily leads to a finding that the claimant has failed to comply
        with the work search requirement. Rather, the question is whether the claimant has
        spent time amounting to “the expected number of hours per week minus any relevant


        September 9, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      • That’s interesting then Superted, and good to know. I was under the impression that 35 hours jobsearch was enshrined in the UC rules, but if It’s not then they can go whistle for it ‘cos If it ain’t legal I’m not doing it.


        September 9, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      • put it this way if you did 35hr job search and applied for no jobs then you will get sanctioned because you are not applying for jobs.

        as long as you can prove you are applying for jobs then there is nothing they can do cos if it goes to tribunal the dwp will loose.

        all it is is a pressure tactic to get you to sign off the same as it was 10 years ago when they last tried it and failed.

        problem is with computers and job sites i can apply for 10-20 jobs a day in just a few mins as i get 60-100 emails a day with the job sites im reg with so if i did 35hrs then id have to apply for every job in the country pmsl.


        September 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      • https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/401393/response/972852/attach/html/3/1701.pdf.html


        Our regulations allow that where a claimant has done all that could reasonably be
        expected of them – for example they have applied for all suitable jobs and undertaken all the
        activities set out in their work search and work preparation plan – this may be considered
        sufficient even where the time taken was less than the hours expected


        September 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      • Archangel – That’s exactly what I do. There’s no way anyone can realistically do a 35 hour job search. After all, you see the same jobs on nearly all the websites. I just smile at my coach and tell him what he wants to hear.

        Samuel Smee

        September 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      • @ superted

        On that model sheet of work search it lists spending time on twitter and facebook as a part of the search. I seem to remember some UC claimants being told not to spend time looking at such sites while doing their work search. I think I might start claiming that I do 8.75 hours of work search Monday to Friday and have a long weekend from Friday to the following Monday! Pity I didn’t think of this during the summer!

        The 35-hour a week job search is fantastical shite and I don’t believe that anybody could keep this up for long assuming that it is doable at all. My Work Coach only glances at the jobs I apply for and ignores the rest of the guff I have written down so, really, what’s the point of this nonsensical crap anyway?

        Neil Milbourne

        September 9, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      • its there because if the think you are stupid and get you to do stuff like this then they have control in there mind yet the law says different as this is your own personnel data and you can provide this any way you like.

        give an inch and the dwp will take a mile at a time.

        all that is is a template in no way do you have to do what it says like go on facebook, what does that mean like i could be on it 247 so thats the 35hr a week done then lol.

        you have to actively seek work and apply for jobs this is all there interested in not how many times you walked round town ect ect it is irrelevant to meeting ur claimant commitment.

        they told me that i was required buy law to sign a contract with a 3rd party so they could gain funding for there course yet at tribunal the law says different and lost in 9 mins.

        so cover ur ass with proof of the jobs you have applied for and dont believe nothing that they tell you at a jcp as there agents that work for a corporation the dwp and there only interested in getting as many ppl they can to give up and sign off.


        September 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    • I agree but sanctions should be scrapped altogether and as for Corbyn, forget him, like Archangel has quite rightly said he’s controlled by the same force so nothing will change and neither will he change anything!


      September 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      • You may well be right, but Corbyn is our only hope nonetheless. The only other option would be to Riot and I can’t see sufficient numbers engaging in widespread protest or an ‘Arab Spring’ type of uprising so it wouldn’t achieve anything. Even the Occupy movement fizzled out very quickly a few years ago. But support for the Left continues to grow, Labour membership & Momentum increasing all the time, so just vote for Corbyn as we have no alternative.


        September 9, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      • Many of us are also actively lobbying to get decent policies on the social security system, universal credit, sanctions, the ludicrous 35 job search, local housing allowance, council tax, the benefit freeze, and all the rest.

        Andrew Coates

        September 9, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      • I will be voting Labour but really, with a very tired government in trouble everywhere, if Labour was going to win it wouldn’t be level pegging in the polls with the Tories but consistently ten or more points ahead. I don’t think that any opposition barely keeping level in the polls with one of the worst governments ever, now, when things are so awful, looks likely to win a majority or enough MPs to form a minority government – and who with? The twelve remaining Liberal Democrats plus one Green? – but at least I hope Labour do well enough to deny the Conservatives a working majority in the House of Commons.

        Corbyn is like Marmite: people either love him or hate him.

        A very large number of people love him but not enough to make him prime minister if things stay as they are.

        Neil Milbourne

        September 10, 2018 at 6:34 am

  5. Corbin is a decent man but the MPs who didn’t want him as leader are still trying to bring him down. If they united behind him labour would thrive but it looks like they are trying to find a way of replacing him with a soft Tory as labour leader. With a Chukka, Hilary Benn or Angela Eagle or similar minded person as leader labour would be unelectable.Sadly Corbyn needs them to unite behind him or the Tories will remain with or without Mrs May as the biggest party in Westminster.


    September 10, 2018 at 9:13 am

    • I think that Corbyn is failing to make his mark on more counts than that. I don’t think that a few vocal New Labourite leftovers like Chuka Umunna, Hilary Benn, Angela Eagle, Chris Leslie et al having a gripe makes much difference to Labour’s fortunes as a party to be honest. If every single person in Labour were devotees of and fully behind Corbyn it would amaze me if Labour’s standing in the polls was altered. The problem is that Corbyn is not garnering enough support from non-political unaffiliated people to get over the winning line in a general election. Of course if the Tories tear themselves to pieces over Brexit, or Brexit goes horribly wrong, or some other disaster occurs which the Conservatives are held responsible for the situation might change and give Labour a shot but other than that another Conservative minority government looks like the most likely outcome as far as I can see.

      Neil Milbourne

      September 10, 2018 at 12:24 pm

  6. Corbyn is just another puppet,even if he was allowed a stint in Number 10 he would have to follow the agenda of the force that controls not only politics but the media,education,pharma,banking….the list goes on!


    September 10, 2018 at 11:25 am

    • But the only way to get rid of the Tories is to vote Labour, unless you’ve got any better ideas?


      September 10, 2018 at 5:46 pm

  7. ot anyone been on a group signing session recently as been told to go to one of there empty training rooms next time i attend but then have to sign on on the first floor after.

    sounds like it is national careers service crap but i have no letter or jsd to attend so if thats the case ill turn up ask to leave sign on and go home lol.

    cos im not signing there contracts in or outside the jcp 😉


    September 10, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    • I have attended two Group Sessions at the Jobcentre, one was supposed to be to give you advice on how to fill in an application form, the other was to ask if you have any health problems so they can refer you on to the Work & Health Programme. Both were a waste of time, but didn’t last long or involve much. I think it’s better to attend if told to, but just sit there and keep quiet. It’s nothing to really worry about, just the Jobcentre trying to keep themselves busy for the sake of it whilst attempting to validate their jobs and appear useful.


      September 10, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    • Yes Superted also know as the signing slot.It has happened before when signers’ are given a quick fire session how to be perfect applicants who stand out form the crowd,s**t miracles when everyone else failed to to stand up in the workplace and sell yourself.


      September 10, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      • grate well ill do 2 lines of cosmic dust b4 i go and give them 60 seconds and im gone 😉


        September 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm

  8. And Note this!

    Andrew Coates

    September 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm

  9. I see a lot of posters on here knocking Labour for not being critical of UC, surely the fact that David Cameron used the nudge effect with his strivers and skivers,hard working people rhetoric etc, as well as all the poverty porn on tv means that any ideas about an increase in welfare spending should rightly be whispered rather than shouted about.
    Labour would i’m sure (and i mean a left wing labour not a mildly blue new labour) tackle UC and restore some social justice, just please be mindful that they will not win an election if there,s even a sniff of being the party of welfare.


    September 11, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    • Yeah I suppose you’re right, the Tories & the mainstream media did such a good ‘divide & rule’ hatchet job on the poor that Benefits is still a toxic subject. The war against poverty was cynically turned into a war against the poor by Millionaires such as Cameron & Osborne with the assistance of populist gutter press/tv, along with Lord Fraud & his idiotic sidekick IDS of course. And a gullible & Reactionary public fell for it hook, line & sinker.


      September 11, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    • It’s just that it gets so frustrating putting up with all this crap, Austerity seems to be going on forever, Benefits are not enough to live on, claiming Benefits is a nightmare, there’s no decent jobs and wages are too low, yet Labour don’t seem to be doing much Opposing, just in-fighting. Meanwhile, we continue to suffer at the hands of our maniac Tory oppressors.


      September 12, 2018 at 11:45 am

  10. Why don’t DWP during the cross over of old to new benefits system just accept the person being in current receipt of said old benefit as proof of who they are as its not like they aren’t asking for proof every time you sign on.
    This would reduce a very common problem with regards UC.


    September 11, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    • i have to take id as cant use the pad they have been bypassing it till now but not allowed to do it any more so its back to pen and paper pmsl.

      seems im going in reverse lol 😉


      September 11, 2018 at 6:15 pm

  11. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.


    September 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm

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