Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Labour Needs Policies to Replace Universal Credit to Rebuild the Welfare State.

with 65 comments

Image result for mark Serwotka speech

“We need to see a Corbyn government commit to overturn decades of attacks on and ridicule of benefits claimants and return to the founding principles of a properly-resourced welfare state”  PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.

A number of our commentators have been, rightly, dissatisfied with the lack of a strong Labour voice, above all, Labour Party Policy, on welfare issues.

These range from silence on the benefit freeze (which needs to be ended), to an alternative to the Universal Credit car-crash.

There remains talk about a pause to implementing Universal Credit (a 2017 petition – a bit late now).

The acting Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, Margaret Greenwood, seems to have said little since just before the long summer holidays, apart from continuing to criticise government policies (“Delays in payments of Universal Credit are sending victims back to abusive partners – Margaret Greenwood.” August the 1st).

Basic Income aside what are Labour policies, from funding to changing the whole miserable punitive structure of the benefit system?

What are Labour’s plans to fix Universal Credit?

No straightforward ideas seem available.

Although there is this:  John McDonnell attacks Tory disability cuts and vows to address suicides linked to welfare reforms.  Kitty S Jones

This suggested Contemporary Motion for the coming Labour Conference  (from the Clarion site) suggests some starting points:

SUPPORTING THOSE IN NEED: REBUILD THE WELFARE STATE

We note
• the 8 August ONS figures showing that improvement in life expectancy has virtually stopped.
• the 6 August Child Poverty Action Group report on how Universal Credit’s flaws are leading to low-income families arbitrarily losing as much as £258 a month!
• the July Resolution Foundation figures showing the poorest third’s incomes fell last year, even before inflation.

The situation is shameful. We must reverse the drive, accelerating since 2010, to make welfare less and less about supporting those in need and more and more stingy, punitive and coercive.

Neither Universal Credit nor the existing framework (JSA, ESA, etc) are good. We must redesign benefits in close consultation with recipients, workers and their organisations.

This must be part of a wider anti-poverty program, with a goal that by the end of our first term foodbanks disappear.

We commit to
1. Ending the benefit freeze; uprating with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
2. Reversing all cuts/reductions; increasing benefits to afford a comfortable, not minimum, income.
3. Entitlement conditions that are straightforward, inclusive and available to all, including migrants (scrap ‘No recourse to public funds’).
4. Paying benefits for all children and dependents.
5. Abolishing all sanctions.
6. Scrapping Work Capability and similar assessments.
7. Relevant health issues being addressed using medical professionals with appropriate knowledge of individuals’ conditions and impairments.
8. Delivery by paid public servants via networks accessible to everyone, including provision of face-to-face support for all who need it. Reversing DWP cuts and privatisation.

Whether this gets onto the agenda or not there are people calling for some serious policies.

‘Labour must return to the founding principles of the welfare state’, says union boss

Welfare Weekly reports (12th of September),

Labour must commit to over-turning years of cuts to social security benefits and end the stigmatisation of benefit claimants seen under Tony Blair and the current Tory Government, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said at a TUC Congress fringe meeting on Tuesday.

Mark told the meeting held in Manchester that the current benefits system in “broken” and “causing much difficulty for people claiming benefits”, whilst adding the Tory Government is seeking to cause divisions between “people in work, those who work in DWP and those in receipt of benefits”.

He added that a future Corbyn-led Labour Government must “return to the founding principles of the welfare state that it is for all people and provide dignity for all people at all stages of their lives”.

Mark also said the rollout of Universal Credit needs to he halted because the new system is in chaos and there aren’t enough DWP staff to deliver it.

“We need to stop a system that is causing so much difficulty for people claiming benefits,” he said. “The benefits system is broken, under-resourced, inadequate and understaffed.”

He added: “The starting point of the debate on welfare needs to be the founding principles of the welfare state that it is for all people and provide dignity for all people at all stages of their lives.

Mark continued: “We had a system that wasn’t perfect but gave people money when they needed it. Almost exclusively people claim benefits because of a crisis out of their control.£

Mark said that ‘New Labour’ took stigmatisation of welfare claimants to new levels and there was a lot of work to do to put that right. He said we need to see some radical welfare polices from a future Labour government that gives everyone a welfare system that we can all be proud of.

£34bn has been cut from the welfare budget since 2012, with a further £12bn of cuts planned before 2022.

“More money is needed as we have some of the lowest rates of benefits in Western Europe,” said Mark.

PCS DWP Group assistant secretary Steve Swainton said: “Universal Credit has been understaffed and underfunded at every stage. Our members are doing everything they can do to mitigate the worst of the system but we need a radical redesign.”

Colin Hampton, co-ordinator of the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWC), told the meeting: “If we can spend money on bombing people we can spend money on putting people into work.

“The benefits issue is fundamental to the trade union movement. What happens to people on benefits affects what happens to people in the workplace and wider society.”

“We need to restore dignity and respect to people in and out of work”, he added.

The PCS site carries further details, including this:

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 12, 2018 at 10:46 am

65 Responses

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  1. Benefit claimants don’t give a shit about each other. They all fight their own corner and will only ever band together if there is enough of them in the same boat to “fight” a common cause. So, how on earth do we expect anyone else let alone Corbyn to give a shit. Of course they don’t give a shit. They will only ever pretend to give a shit. Just like benefit claimants.

    Banana Fritter

    September 12, 2018 at 11:12 am

    • Well, obviously you’re mistaken or blogs like this wouldn’t exist.

      Neil Milbourne

      September 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    • I think you’re wrong to say claimants don’t care about others, it’s just that people have been forced into survival mode by this evil Tory regime,and are kept fully occupied in dealing withtheir own shit that never stops coming their way. Having said that, I am a JSA Claimant but I have on occaision given a bit of change to a beggar or a roll-up to someone outside the Jobcentre, and I volunteer at a foodbank, so we’renot all as self engrossed as you imagine.

      trev

      September 12, 2018 at 4:49 pm

  2. The Government is now “offering” the over 65s a “super-strength” “flu-jab” because apparently not enough of them are dying from the flu. My Mum and Dad both died within a year of having a flu jab. Neither had a poor medical history. Always thought the flu jab was connected to their untimely departure. Funny that.

    Celia Vaughan

    September 12, 2018 at 11:18 am

  3. Corbyn devoted the whole of PMQs to Universal Credit today! May never answered a single question and resorted to a few comment from claimants (mentioning first names only) who apparently praised Universal Credit. A very poor showing from a very evasive and aggressive prime minister trying to sweep dirt under the carpet and failing. Give it some, Jezza!

    Neil Milbourne

    September 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    • Indeed, good, great, but what are his alternative policies?

      “Theresa May has defended the expansion of the government’s flagship welfare reform as Jeremy Corbyn said it was increasing poverty and homelessness.

      The PM said the government was listening to concerns about universal credit and said it was getting more people into work.

      During Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corbyn urged her to “wake up to reality” and pause the rollout.

      And he called it “absurd” that calls to the helpline cost up to 55p a minute.

      What is universal credit – and what’s the problem?
      Universal credit, which merges six working-age benefits into a single payment, is being introduced in 50 job centres across the UK every month.

      It is paid in arrears, and there have been complaints about the six-week wait for payments, with almost a quarter of claimants waiting for longer because of delays in the system.

      In the leaders’ first clash since Parliament returned from party conference season, Mr Corbyn said the reform was “driving up poverty, debt and homelessness”, with people facing eviction due to a shortage of cash.

      It was “irresponsible to press on regardless”, he said, also urging the PM to “show some humanity” and make the helpline – which costs between 3p and 55p a minute from a mobile phone – free of charge.

      The Department for Work and Pensions said the hotline was charged at standard local rates so was free for many people as part of their phone contracts. It added that people could request a free call back from the department.

      Mrs May said the government was building a welfare system that provided a safety net for those who need it and which also helps people to get into the workplace and earn more.

      Responding to questions about payment delays, she said more people were receiving advances which are available to those in need, adding that the government would continue to monitor the roll-out.

      The previous system put in place by the Labour government of 1997 to 2010 was “far too complicated” and left many people better off on benefits, she added.

      Conservative MP Heidi Allen also quizzed the PM on universal credit, saying the six-week delay “just doesn’t work”.

      Mrs May agreed to have a meeting with Ms Allen.”

      Andrew Coates

      September 12, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      • More:

        Andrew Coates

        September 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      • The first thing to do would be to stop rolling out Universal Credit, pause everything, go over everything with a fine tooth comb and reconsider everything. Somebody must stop Universal Credit from inflicting more and more misery on more and more people, spreading amongst the needy like a pandemic or a plague. Pull the plug on Universal for the love of God!

        Neil Milbourne

        September 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      • Good Evening Andrew

        I mentioned in a previous post that I might need to call on your media contact.

        That time has now come as DWP has replied and its time to turn up the heat.

        I now have clear proof of lying by DWP in a soop of a letter I got today.

        Would be grateful for the details if possible, any questions etc just email me.

        Calling on MPs office tomorrow to see if can get on board as well.

        gazza

        gazza

        September 12, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    • Claimant Commitment Copies on DWP Systems

      Just so you know DWP States that there are actually two copies of this on their systems – 1st is up on Signature Capture System (SCS) and the other on the Document Retention System (DRS). Due to faults on SCS it does drop off after a 3 month period.

      Just in case yours drop off the system after 3 months, or in my case 1 month or whatever length DWP lies about…

      gazza

      September 12, 2018 at 11:13 pm

  4. What’s with this “cashless society” nonsense. Many disabled and elderly people, myself included, use carers to do weekly shopping for them. I use cash for this. I don’t see a good alternative.
    I’m not going to just hand over my debit or credit card to a carer, especially as I may never have met them before. On their part they’re not going to want to pay for my shopping with their card and hope I will pay them back. ATMs are required.

    Gertrude

    September 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    • And what could you pay your carer back with, Gertrude? Cash? But there is not cash. Another thing is we wont be able to give our grand-kids pocket money or money for the ice cream van.

      Lizzie R

      September 12, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    • And no more money in birthday cards or from the “tooth fairy”.

      Lizzie R

      September 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    • It effectively means Gertrude will have to do her own shopping (or starve) as there won’t be any means to exchange “value” between her and her carer.

      Lehman

      September 12, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    • The government is spending billions to introduce polymer notes that last 2.5 times longer than the old notes, e.g., the new £20 note coming in 2020 should last for nearly 20 years. Cash is going to be around forever or as near to dammit as makes no difference and most shops these days offer a cashback service enabling you to get hard currency when making a purchase. Nearly all the bigger supermarkets have ATM in them or near them too.

      Neil Milbourne

      September 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm

  5. Reblogged this on BertieS.

    AnnoyedIrishMan

    September 12, 2018 at 4:21 pm

  6. The Tories aren’t creating a safety net, they’ve shredded the bloody safety net! Hence all the deaths, arrears, destitution, homelessness, and foodbanks. They lie through their teeth!

    trev

    September 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm

  7. Good to see Corbyn getting stuck in on Universal Credit – but far too late.

    Danny Thomas

    September 12, 2018 at 7:53 pm

  8. Mark Serwotka is a hypocrite. He’s been criticising welfare reform for years, and yet most of it would have been dead in the water without the co-operation, connivance and collaboration of PCS members in the joke centres. Had they simply refused to raise sanction doubts or refer people to workfare there’s naff all the government could have done about it.

    Dan

    September 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

  9. ‘entitlement conditions that are straightforward, inclusive and available to all’

    look at china

    whoknew

    September 13, 2018 at 11:32 am

  10. Archbishop claims Amazon pure evil but Murdoch rag attacks him.

    Violet

    September 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    • He needs to start excommunicating the Tory MPs one by one, until Theresa May halts the UC roll-out.

      Harold Gately

      September 14, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      • The Church of England is part of the Establishment, at the heart of which is the Protestant Work Ethic, the fundamental principle behind Benefits Conditionality, Sanctions, Jobsearch, the existence of Jobcentres, and the reason State Pension age has been increased, all because TPTB follow an esoteric doctrine based upon the Western Occult Mystery School Teachings of Rosicrucianism & Freemasonry, i.e. that Ascension can be achieved through Work in the Light of Knowledge, essentially Luciferian promulgated by the ‘Sons of Cain’, as opposed to the *belief* in Salvation through Blind Faith favoured by the ‘Sons of Seth’ in Rome. Hence the CoE will not be excommunicating any Tory MPs, though I did ask the Pope to excommunicate IDS, but I never received any response or reply.

        trev

        September 14, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      • Yes, one a day every Wednesday, just before Prime Minister’s Question Time.

        Fred Worsley

        September 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm

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

    A6er

    September 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm

  12. I have an appointment next week at job centre to go on full digital service universal car crash, I’m dreading it, are any of you people on it & if so what’s it like & how does it work, any feedback would be most appreciated.

    Violet

    September 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    • You have to reclaim Universal Credit digitally, online. So basically you have to create a Universal Credit account with a user name, password, and and answers to a couple of security question (one of which is asked when you try to log on). You will be asked how you want your notifications to be sent to you, email or phone, and will have to confirm you email address (by clicking a link of an email the DWP sends you) or using a code sent to you phone as a text message. After that you have to go through the usual routine about rent, savings etc. That bit of it is quite simple really. You then have to telephone a call centre to make an appointment to go back to the Jobcentre to produce evidence to corroborate your identity, although if you’re lucky you might do all of this with one visit. If all goes well you will then get a message sent to you telling you that you’ve been transferred and are fully on the full digital service.

      I did this recently and am wondering whether I will get my entitlements when they’re due.

      I’m expecting something to go wrong and don’t trust the DWP, Jobcentre or Full Digital Service and inch.

      We shall see what we will see.

      Neil Milbourne

      September 13, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      • Yep, that’s true. Don’t record you work search in the journal for all to see forever. You don’t have to and cannot be made to under the current, mostly EU, data privacy legislation. Even if you like your Work Coach once stored in a DWP database anybody anywhere with the right permissions will be able to scrutinise it. It doesn’t make sense to help the DWP compromise you and stitch you up.

        Neil Milbourne

        September 14, 2018 at 10:41 am

    • @Violet

      You do not, I repeat, you do not have to use the UC journal, which will be part of your digital account, to provide evidence of your work search.

      https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/using_the_journal#comment-81230

      jj joop

      September 14, 2018 at 9:34 am

      • jj, many thanks I will remember your good advice & not use their crap journal 😉

        Violet

        September 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm

  13. Thanks Neil sounds like a right polava.

    Violet

    September 13, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    • It is a bit but what got me is having to take in documents to prove my identity again! I’ve been visiting the Jobcentre and claiming Universal Credit for months, had already proven my identity before, and then had to do it again when switching from the live system to the digital system. That’s proper nuts. But then most things are a bit mental when it comes to UC.

      Neil Milbourne

      September 14, 2018 at 7:07 am

      • I expect it’s because if you can’t provide ID then you will be refused benefits and why can’t the twats just transfer you from the live to the digital system seeing that they have got all of your details!

        Foxglove

        September 14, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      • @Foxgove

        Now that would be too easy and too practical, yeah.

        jj joop

        September 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      • i forgot my id b4 and had to go home and get it b4 i could sign on its only my bank card as thats all i have or what they asked for but what a fkn waste of time i know every ones name on the 1st and 2nd floor.

        and its not like i could get a fake bank card is it pmsl.

        and it is done imo just to cost me money as its £10 there and back 2 times over 1 half hrs.

        i just took a pic of it on my phone and show them that now but any other agent is not intrested so i got 1 fan 😉

        superted

        September 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      • @superted

        You need ID documents before you can sign on! Since when? I thought you were still on JSA like me. They never insist I bring ID when I sign. The G4s goon on the door always asks if I have my book (My Work Plan) but I always say no and they let me in but my name is on a clipboard she has.

        jj joop

        September 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

  14. At my Jobcentre the G4SS goons don’t ask you anything, you just walk straight in, and I’ve never been given any work plan booklet (am on JSA). The Dole Clerk sometimes asks you to confirm postcode or phone number when you go to sign on, but not always. It’s odd how things seem to vary from one Jobcentre to another when it should be standardized, not open to regional interpretation. I think some staff are going beyond their remit, or maybe Managers are to blame.

    trev

    September 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    • im still on jsa but as i cant use the pad i have to bring id b4 they can bypass it or sign on with paper old style but there trying to get me to do the same as on uc imo.

      problem is i know the law and first thing that was brought up was the 35hr job search and shot that right out of the sky and said just sanction me for it then as i have applied for at least 50 jobs a week.

      did not want to go there and just left it at that but if i see anyone else it is as normall.

      i guess there still pissed i took down one of there own and they now think twice b4 they push that sanction button as can cost them there job.

      superted

      September 15, 2018 at 11:52 am

      • If you forget ID to sign on you can ask to answer your security question instead much the same as you do when you contact by phone

        Mr Chimp

        September 15, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      • you can ask to answer your security question instead

        not got one of those and i dont even give them a phone number anymore as buy law i dont have to.

        its only the 1 person i see now and then thats wants to see id no one else even asks for it and never have untill now.

        if that is all they got left in there box to make it difficult then they can carry on as i wont forget again 😉

        superted

        September 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    • Stress anxiety and depression can cause memory loss. One Work Coach I have known for over 10 years still asks me to verify my identity yet was only speaking to them the day before….it is a sad state of affairs that Work Coaches are not getting the help and support they need. 🙂

      Mr Chimp

      September 15, 2018 at 12:26 pm

  15. They do not have my telephone number on record and I still pass the security questions. name of bank date of birth how much was your last payment when do you normally sign on.

    Mr Chimp

    September 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    • they want id or i have to go home and get it b4 they will let me sign on seems every coach makes it up as they go along yet not one has read the rules and regs lol.

      superted

      September 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm

  16. Why can’t you use the pad Superted? I normally sign using the electronic pad but over last couple of months they ask people tosi

    trev

    September 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

  17. Then you need to put in a complaint and ask for financial redress for maladministration.They should have “offered” you the alternative (security question) method.

    Mr Chimp

    September 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

  18. Why can’t you use the pad Superted? I normally sign using the electronic pad but over last couple of months they ask people tosign on paper every other signing, and thenlook through a folder of job vacancies printed on paper, they are calling this bullshit “job shop” and told me it’s to save time as they’re short staffed due to summer holidays. Last time I signed it was back to normal, asked about my jobsearch & generally frowned upon in the usual hostile manner, then signed on pad. This coming week it’ll be the so-called “job shop” again, a quickfire signing on paper with no questions asked.

    trev

    September 15, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    • We had period of a few months at my local JCP when it was getting rather busy due to staff leaving that no digital or wet signature was required they just actioned the payment on the JSAPS so technically there is no need for a signature at all.

      Mr Chimp

      September 15, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      • Technically there’s no need for Jobcentres at all, could be all done online, or payments just sent automatically once a Claim has been made and accepted, no need for all this hassle and codswallop. It seems to me that the whole Jobcentre regime is falling apart at the seams and descending into a shambolic farce. If you’re listening Mr. Corbyn, please shut down all the Jobcentres and end this costly madness when your time comes.

        trev

        September 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      • The end is nigh for the Jobcentre. And they know it. That is why they are ‘diversifying’. Trying to dig their tentacles in other pies. For instance spreading into local communities and taking over job clubs with ‘outreach’ codswallop.

        Octupus

        September 16, 2018 at 7:51 am

      • The plan is to close down all the Jobcentres down and set up small regional hubs for initial claim set-ups and the presentation of documents etc. The roaches will all be out on their fat arses; the real estate and land will all be sold off for luxury flat developments.

        Unemployment benefits will be for the most part all on-line paid in the same manner as a pension but will on-line ‘conditionality’ crap and automated ‘decision makers’ thrown in.

        Tea Leaf

        September 16, 2018 at 8:00 am

    • i have nerve damage to my right arm so can never get to 80% i used to just touch it and then they bypassed it but now told cant do that anymore so back to pen and paper.

      i apply for every job i can get to for that week so not much else is said bar checking that sign on and go.

      i have a group session next time i go so another waste of time lol.

      superted

      September 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      • Group Information Sessions can be a excellent way to spread the message about the bullshit they spout to your fellow cohorts,however if they are not your cup of Tea I have a cure for those lol

        Mr Chimp

        September 15, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      • i think the last time i went on something like this was pre 2010 and they just said you can leave when you want to n i was gone.

        when it comes 2 3rd partys nothing is mandatory 😉

        superted

        September 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

  19. i think the last time i went on something like this was pre 2010 and they just said you can leave when you want to n i was gone.

    when it comes 2 3rd partys nothing is mandatory 😉

    superted

    September 15, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    • Yep they are getting into the habit of combining them nowadays with signing on at 3rd party providers last chance of scraping the EU funding barrel me thinks.

      Mr Chimp

      September 15, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      • they tried to sanction me for not signing a 3rd partys contract for esf funding, it backfired big time as took it to tribunal and the dwp lost in 9 mins 😉

        superted

        September 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm

  20. If Work Coaches were open honest and informed it would have not have got that far. They need to put more money towards training staff so they have at least some vague idea of benefit law to prevent abuse and maladministration.

    If everyone started hitting them for up to the £100 consolatory payment on each occasion they do make a mistake on top of the back pay if any then they would quickly change the way they operate.

    Mr Chimp

    September 15, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    • the adviser and floor manager has not been seen since so i call that a result 😉

      superted

      September 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      • Well that is a tad extreme but understandable, just hope you did not leave any forensics’s behind or do you mean just in your local office ? would hate to have happened up a confession lool

        Mr Chimp

        September 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      • they thought i was a stupid sheep and could do what they liked with me so i bit um on the ass.

        just goes to show that they will do what they like if you dont stand up for ur self.

        😉

        superted

        September 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm

  21. Yep agree change the dynamics “nudge” back, they are after all supposed to be our servants and be civil but they act like masters and rather uncivil at the best of times so anything to break mindset is all good.

    Mr Chimp

    September 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    • They should bear in mind that we keep them in a job!

      trev

      September 15, 2018 at 3:19 pm


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