Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit, “Something Orwellian” about a system which can “generate and aggravate human misery” says CPAG Report.

with 61 comments

Image result for universal credit

System Slammed as Orwellian.

This report documents the systemic failure of universal credit to meet these basic standards. People in need are left to guess at and grope for things which should be clear and tangible. The consequences are not limited to over or under-payment. They feed into the stress and worry that so many people managing on low incomes experience, which in turn can affect family life for children growing up in these environments. There is something Orwellian about a system which is intended to alleviate hardship yet is administered in ways which generate and
aggravate human misery.

The Rt Hon Sir Stephen Sedley, former Lord Justice of Appeal

Computer says ‘no!’ – stage one: information provision

Universal credit is ‘Orwellian’, says former high court judge


Sir Stephen Sedley says digital benefits system is also failing to meet legal obligations.

A former high court judge has described universal credit as “Orwellian” because of its tendency to create and exacerbate misery for claimants even while it professes to be rescuing them from hardship.

Sir Stephen Sedley’s comments about the troubled digital benefits system accompanied a report that revealed hundreds of claimants risked falling into debt because the system had miscalculated their monthly benefit payments.

Claimants who were underpaid, or overpaid, sums amounting in some cases to hundreds of pounds a month were routinely unable to work out the correct payment, or how they could challenge the decision, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) report said.

The charity criticised the “opaque” way in which individuals’ monthly benefits payments were calculated, and said the lack of information provided to claimants who wished to challenge the calculation was in some cases unlawful.

This is what the  CPAG says, (

Computer says ‘no!’ – how good is information provision in universal credit?

It’s a fundamental principle in a democracy that governmental bodies must have reasons for their decisions… that they should be able to explain what those reasons are… [and any] decision should be open to review or appeal.” So begins our latest report, Computer says ‘No!’ These words are from former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Stephen Sedley, who offers the benefit of his many years of legal experience to something that often gets overlooked as too technical, but which can affect the day-to-day lives of many people: what information claimants are given about decisions relating to their universal credit support, and what information they have about challenging any of those decisions.

Our new report exposes how people claiming universal credit are kept in the dark about what they are getting – the online statements do not explain in full how universal credit amounts are calculated. This means that people cannot easily check if they are getting what they should be getting, and find it harder to predict how their payment will change if their circumstances do. This matters not just because we know the government does get things wrong when calculating benefits, but also because there is a vital principle at stake. In our social security system, decisions are made all the time about what support people are entitled to (for example when they are awarded help with rent, deemed fit for work, or given a sanction). If people cannot clearly see what those decisions are, they cannot challenge them when errors are made.

To take just one example, let’s look at the case of a working mother who we’ll call Sarah.  Sarah, who works two part-time jobs to support herself and her daughter, claimed universal credit when she couldn’t make ends meet. She was surprised to get much less support than she was expecting. She could see on her universal credit online account that she was getting the standard allowance and support for housing costs, as well as details of her earnings and how these affected her universal credit. Sarah couldn’t see anything wrong, but a welfare rights adviser spotted that there was no child element included for her daughter and the work allowance – which she was entitled to as a working parent – had also been missed. As a result Sarah and her daughter were about £400 worse off each month than they should have been.

This is perhaps the most significant section for our contributors.

The online system makes it difficult for claimants to identify decisions as they are often hidden within a range of processes and communications. It’s only when a claimant can see how and when a decision has been made that they’re able to tell whether this decision was correct. And it’s only when a claimant knows how they can challenge an incorrect decision that they can go about getting it fixed. If the decision-making is murky you can’t begin to challenge it. If you don’t know how to challenge it then the chances of getting it fixed are slim to none. Our report sets out practical ways in which the DWP could improve the information it provides to people receiving universal credit, to make sure all decisions and appeal rights are clearly explained. As more and more people move on to universal credit and as we see the effect wrong decisions can have on people’s lives, we urge the DWP to act to fix these problems urgently.

Sedley ends his introduction with this,

Whether this is happening by accident or by design is an argument for another time and place. Child Poverty Action Group, with its long and honourable record of standing up for the poorest members of our society, has made a powerful and well-documented case for demystifying the process by which government is computing the benefit support on which hundreds of thousands of our poorest citizens now have to depend, and for ensuring that errors can be identified and corrected. If the rule of law is to mean anything, it must at least mean this.

From CPAG thread:

Full report available here.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 2, 2019 at 11:42 am

61 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I think the whole purpose of Universal Credit is to discourage people from claiming benefits; hence the five week wait before you get your first payment. While you’re waiting (perhaps starving might be a better word) for your money, the government are hoping you’ll take the first low paid job you can find, just out of sheer desperation. Or am I being too simplistic.

    And don’t expect any serious help or support from Labour; this one hot potato they will not touch because they don’t have any answers, either. Just like they were virtually invisible during the Brexit campaigning.

    jj joop

    May 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    • It is why have to keep chasing your payment up, “don’t worry, Madam, it will be in your account at the end of the week *chuckle* *chuckle*. 😀 :D: ” Meanwhile, the kids are starving and you have the landlord and bailiffs banging on your door; social services and the police round threatening to take your kids away. And yet nobody gives a damn. We are being driven round the bend and tipped over the edge. We are being picked off one by one. Universal Credit is part of something else, a bigger plan, only time will tell. And as JJ
      Loop says don’t expect any help, especially from Labour.

      Universal Credit Sufferer

      May 2, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    • It is catastrophic now but was originally planned to be even worse. Besides the ridiculously long waiting period, absurd amount of conditionality and harsh sanctions regime, second harshest in the world I have read, when designing UC the Centre for Social Justice (which Iain Duncan Smith founded) and the Conservatives themselves toyed with the idea of copying the system some American states (like Michigan) implemented where social security gets “time-limited” and entitlements reduced progressively the longer you are without work until you are reduced to beggary: in many American states you lose all right to support after receiving five years worth of benefits cumulatively and get nothing from that point on for the rest of your life.

      When risk assessments were carried out and the level of damage understood this shite got dropped.

      The Labour party on the other hand thought about “regionalising” benefits (one of Liam Byrne’s brainwaves) so instead of every claimant getting the same level of entitlement throughout the UK, people in poorer areas would get reduced benefits compared to those in more affluent areas to make sure that the people in poorer areas would get screwed just as much as other in areas more expensive to live in.

      When risk assessments were carried out and the level of damage understood this shite also got dropped.

      For the longest time demonising and bashing benefit claimants could be used not only to save money but to score points with voters too. The poor became pilloried as an “underclass” which not only could but deserved be treated much more unsympathetically and unkindly then normal “hard working families”. Who’s to say that if a publicity whore and incompetent twat like Boris Johnson were ever to become PM, that such nastiness might not get resurrected in order to justify making more cuts to welfare and spend less on the needy?


      May 2, 2019 at 5:50 pm

  2. Universal Credit had these elements of deliberate hardship and difficulty designed into it from the start.
    Otherwise as Duncan Smith considered, why would people take on poorly-paid insecure employment ?
    It does what it says on the tin – force people off benefits and into the world of zero-hour employment.
    And as for Comrade Corbyn, his interest in scrapping UC is zero.

    Jeff Smith

    May 2, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    • The late Iain Duncan Smith (if he was still around) recognised that what was ‘wrong’ with the old system was that it gave no incentive to take poorly paid, insecure zero-hour contract jobs. IDS (deceased) would argue that UC gives that incentive.

      Spin Doctor

      May 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    • Very True Jeff. This was all put in from the start. I don’t understand these people who look at Universal Credit and pretend it’s all a mistake. The Tories grabbed a chance to change the whole benefits system. And Labour under Miliband sat back and let them do it. Now it’s too late.

      Darren Green

      May 3, 2019 at 11:15 am

  3. I agree with people beginning with contesting the statement, “Whether this is happening by accident or by design is an argument for another time and place. ”

    This is an important report by a worthy organisation. who has to say something like that.

    But there are too many bits made by design, from the wait, the ‘information provision’ the report talks about, he 35 hour Job search (including Job search for those in work but not doing enough hours), to the Wait, to the Log Book for Coachy, – you could add a lot to the list, to make it pretty clear that claimants were meant to suffer.

    Andrew Coates

    May 2, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    • I don’t think these people are that smart. I think that they are just hopelessly incompetent since the five week wait for help was sold originally as preparing people out of work for salaried work, paid monthly, because that was the way most people get paid. (True. About 80% of working people are paid monthly. Trouble is the UC designers were too dumb to realise that most UC claimants would be coming from the 20% of people who weren’t. ) The designers also decided that most people claiming UC would just have stopped working would have a month’s worth of pay from their employer in their pockets and so wouldn’t find the five week wait for payment much of a bother. The whole Universal Credit mess is down to unqualified, incompetent and stupid people trying to do something totally beyond their capacity and abilities as should have been obvious since the mess began with Iain Duncan Smith and Lord David Freud as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Minister for Welfare Reform, respectively.

      Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Smith

      May 4, 2019 at 10:15 am

  4. If you want to find out what you will or won’t be eating check out the BBC’s fake food propaganda calculator – out goes beef and lamb 😀 in goes nuts, beans, peas and tofu 😀

    Scroll down



    May 3, 2019 at 1:59 am

  5. Universal Debt Credit. Genocide & political suicide. Too poor to have a funeral.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 3, 2019 at 9:40 am

  6. DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services, research finds

    DNS – 2nd May 2019

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its private sector contractors have been failing for years to alert local authorities to concerns about benefit claimants whose safety was at risk, “shocking” new research has shown.

    Years of previous research have shown how government social security reforms have often caused serious harm to disabled people claiming benefits, or even led to their deaths.

    But only 25 of 80 council social services departments across England, Scotland and Wales said they had received a single safeguarding alert from DWP over the last three years, freedom of information (FoI) responses have shown.

    The record of DWP’s three private sector outsourcing companies was even worse, with Maximus – which carries out work capability assessments (WCAs) on behalf of the department – failing to make a single safeguarding referral to any of the 80 social services departments.

    Atos and Capita – which both assess claimants for person independence payment (PIP) – made just two referrals each over three years.

    Read More:

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    May 3, 2019 at 9:44 am

    • The DWP policy is call the police as a DWP medical suicide risk. The more suicides on the DWP’s book the more money they make. So the DWP contractors run the DWP !!!

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 3, 2019 at 9:46 am

  7. Reblogged this on Tory Britain!.


    May 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm

  8. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/dwp-13000-disabled-people-could-14991338

    DWP: 13,000 disabled people could get more Universal Credit in High Court victory


    May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    • Indeed and to underline its importance:

      Andrew Coates

      May 3, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    • A DWP spokesperson said: “We have received the court’s judgment and will be considering our response.”

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 3, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      • Amber Useless Rudd over to you !!

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 3, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      • Amber Rudd MP‏Verified account @AmberRuddHR

        Follow Follow @AmberRuddHR

        💃 ICYMI the @DWP has been named in the #TimesTop50 Employers for Women.

        👩 DWP is an empowering place, full of caring and inspiring women.

        🙋‍♀️ Every woman should be able to thrive, wherever she chooses to work.

        DWP Press Office

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 3, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      • As long as the woman is not disabled & not with the DWP.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 3, 2019 at 3:34 pm

  9. Universal credit regulations ruled unlawful by high court

    It could be argued that those regulations are are unclear and poorly drafted leaving people ripe for exploitation and illegal activity,leaving one law at odds with another and open to a legal challenge.

    Terms would leave thousands with severe disabilities

    A disability is a disability and theres mild,moderate,severe, and profound in many cases.Those with mild disabilities are still covered under the law.There has been attempts’ to play down the former with underhanded intentions.



    May 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    • Universal Credit cures all disability.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      May 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      • Then we can all be Disability Confident PLC.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        May 3, 2019 at 5:02 pm

  10. On the subject of disability my employer our local council has lost it. As well as my 2 cleaning jobs I’m now the new Learning Officer for my trade union. Yesterday filing documents a disabled employee with several illnesses had been summoned to a sickness hearing ( draconian) and told she can’t have any more time off sick for the next YEAR!!


    May 3, 2019 at 9:17 pm

  11. Duncan Newmarch (BBC Announcer – as if you didn’t already know 😀 ) – Shameless Self-Promotion

    Duncan Newmarch – Stuck in the 80s – in Stereo!

    30 years ago, Duncan Newmarch was electrocuted by his cassette radio. Now, he stuck in the 80s.

    Best heard with headphones

    Created and produced by DN. Copyright 1980-1989. Not for broadcast

    Duncan Newmarch (BBC Announcer)

    May 4, 2019 at 8:19 am

  12. This is concerning, particularly for people who rely on cash machines to access their benefits:

    Andrew Coates

    May 4, 2019 at 9:24 am

    • The cash machine round here charges £1.99 per withdrawal with a MAXIMUM withdrawal of £20!, So it is almost £8 just to withdraw you benefit money 😦


      May 4, 2019 at 9:52 am

    • Probably claimants will end up with some sort of a swipe card, like a debit card, with their entitlements on it to enable them to buy things in shops. Handily this will enable the DWP to see what they are spending their money on and where they spend it. Welcome to the brave new surveillance society.

      Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Smith

      May 4, 2019 at 10:05 am

      • A few years ago I can remember that cash account card’s wern’t compatable with those machine’s similarly petrol pump transaction’s arn’t possible.People on benefits are disadvantaged.Contactless is another area some banks do issue them to cash account holders but some don’t.The problem with those if they are lost people can make purchases without any checks,their not for everyone but they are used for public transport increasingly,saving card deposits of pre ticket purchases to obtain one.

        I use one in the local Co Op not very often these day’s.


        May 4, 2019 at 8:31 pm

  13. There is a religious quality to Universal Credit. It reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress, ( John Bunyan 1678).
    Where Christian journeys from the City of Destruction to The Celestial City.
    Only in this case it is Claimant, who travels from Unemployment to the magic City of Employment. There are many trials and dangers along the way. Claimant is weighed down by a great burden, the knowledge of his sin and guilt ( unemployment ).
    Luckily Claimant meets Evangelist ( Citizen’s Advice ) who directs him to the Wicket Gate ( Jobcentre).
    His journey is a difficult one, and Claimant is sanctioned , and sinks into the Slough of Despond ( Destitution). He is rescued by Help ( Hardship Benefit) and continues on his way, meeting a number of deceitful characters ( Training Providers), who promise him salvation.
    But finally after many trials and tribulations ( Jobcentre Meetings), after passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death ( Work & Health Programme ), Claimant reaches the Celestial City ( gets a job), and finds salvation.

    Jeff Smith

    May 4, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    • I have an illustrated edition of the book (a bit like this one) and can see it well!

      Andrew Coates

      May 5, 2019 at 10:49 am

      • Indeed you do, Mr Coates. And we would appreciate it if you would please return this long overdue book at your earliest convenience.

        Kind Regards

        Chief Librarian

        Ipswich Libraries

        Ipswich Libraries

        May 5, 2019 at 11:28 am

  14. Dying man has been told by the DWP he’s fit for work – and they’ve HALVED his benefits

    Darryl Nicholson could be dead within two years but has been left with just £15 per week for food after having his benefits cut.

    While on ESA, Darryl received £474 per month directly into his bank account.

    But after being put on to Universal Credit his money has been halved, receiving just £236 per month.

    After paying £48 for his phone bill, £60 per month for electric and £10.37 for gas, Darryl is left with around £15 per week for food.



    May 4, 2019 at 8:47 pm

  15. Caring sharing Amber on her merry way:

    Andrew Coates

    May 5, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    • Eh? Universal Credit puts people on the streets not helps them of them. When Amber Rudd met the Devil did she make the request “Evil be thou my good” and the Devil having heard her took her at your word. How can the woman possibly pretend that UC is benign rather than cancerous and does good rather than harm to the needy. Just look around you. Homelessness up: food bank usage up: food, relative and absolute poverty up: hundreds of rough sleepers dying on the streets every year. This is some crazy shit people. Some real crazy evil shit and no mistake.

      Julian Carswell

      May 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

  16. I grew up eating turkey dinosaurs and tinned spaghetti. Have my kids paid a genetic price?

    — Charlotte Church

    Some families hand down money to the next generation; others bequeath fat. Guess which mine did

    My nana once said: “You can never be too rich or too thin.” I don’t think she’ll mind me saying that she’s never been too much of either. Nevertheless, her sage words have become something of a family motto, so we decided to have them written in Latin beneath our heraldic crest (a pair of hair-straighteners mantling a brimming ashtray, leopard-skin shield). Unfortunately none of us can read Latin, so the translation turns out to be something like: “The rich man is either too thin or too much, nor are you able to, so there isn’t.”

    The reason my family ain’t so au fait with classical Latin is that, like more than 45% of the country, we are all werkin’ clahss. Classified somewhere charming between grades C2 and E, the social stratum my lot comes from has meant that, for many reasons, being thin (in a healthy way at least) is highly improbable.

    The first and most obvious of these reasons for predestined podge is situational. Obesity and opulence once went hand in hand, anything but emaciated being the hardest state to achieve. Increasingly, “fat” has become synonymous with “poor”. Food that’s bad for you is cheap and requires little time, effort or energy to prepare. Anyone who grew up working class in the 90s will recognise my diet as a kid: it mainly resembled a budget cartoon – turkey dinosaurs, smiley potato faces, tinned spaghetti shapes and ambiguous cold meat products shaped like a teddy bear’s face.

    The culture around eating was loud and messy and territorial, as it tends to be when everyone’s working hard and crammed in together. The food my nana served, and that we would all dive on, was almost always something (pork chops, corned beef hash, fish fingers) and chips (that she would chip herself, mind), and on Sundays, we would have vegetables (all colour stolen by the cooking water, with extra salt for flavour). The best was her Irish stew: thick as custard and so salty it corroded the top of your mouth. It was a post-war diet riddled with misunderstandings about nutrition, based on false information published decades earlier, and compounded by a half-century’s bad habits. Food was fuel, not something to be savoured; and if it was just fuel, then why not have the most easily savoured fuel going?

    For a long time, I had assumed it was a genetic thing, too, that I was the recipient of a sorry strand of DNA that said: “Will struggle with weight.” While I’ll keep telling myself that, the fact that my recent predecessors had a nutritionally narrow diet has almost certainly had a physical effect upon me, and indeed my children, through the mysterious phenomenon of epigenetics.

    It goes something like this: if you take a bunch of healthy Smurfs (say) and fed them a diet of high-in-fat Smurfberry pie for their whole lives, their Smurf babies (assuming they procreate sexually) will be much more likely to be SmurFat. As Prof Bill Sullivan at Indiana University put it: “If you consider DNA to be a book of life, the book handed down to the child is not necessarily a pristine copy – some passages may be highlighted, a page or two may be missing, or notes may be scribbled in the margins.”

    That’s not to say that someone with unhealthy parents can’t live a healthy lifestyle, but it makes it harder. It also means that if you plan on having children at some point in the future, best to try and change your bad habits now. We can rewrite our methylation profile (the “witness marks” of our DNA’s epigenetics) through interventions such as exercise, diet and even weight-loss surgery (not that I would ever advocate surrendering to the scalpel’s blade, unless, of course, medically necessary).

    The fact is, however, that the developed world needs to go on a diet. Not an apple-juice colon cleanse or “keto”: for us to sustain our planet so it can sustain us, we need to stop eating meat, processed foods, foods with totally unnecessary packaging and foods flown in from the other side of the world. Next time you go to the supermarket, take note of the variety of countries your groceries come from – then swallow that carbon footprint because, honey, it’s yours.

    The arguments for dietary revolution have got a lot of oxygen in recent months, but regardless of the best intentions of columnists and activists on the subject, the going-vegan-for-the-planet virtue is one that only really belongs to the middle classes and the under-30s. In order for changes in diet to make a real difference, those who hold cultural or economic capital need to get a grip on why the message isn’t translating, why the language that progressives find so emotive is proving to be nothing but antagonistic to those on a tight budget with a load of hungry mouths to feed.

    Like everything else in the human world, it all ultimately comes down to economics. If the poorest in society weren’t so impoverished they would have more time, money and head space to engage with the issues that are going to affect them the most. With our national distraction having retreated behind closed doors in Whitehall, perhaps it’s time we started discussing again higher taxes for higher earners, making sure corporations pay tax, even universal income, because only with truly egalitarian fiscal programmes can we invite everyone into the conversation and change our habits of consumption for good.


    The Guardian

    May 6, 2019 at 10:56 am

    • Yep, you can feed your family for washers. You can load a trolley full of donuts, hot-cross buns, celebration cakes (got one down from £12.00 to 60p – bloody tasty they are too 🙂 ) for a few loose coppers, The only drawback is that you and your family will end up as fat as house ends. We are all morbidly obese and diabetic but at least we enjoy our food 🙂

      The Fatty Family

      May 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    • Talking about the ‘reduced’, ‘yellow labels’ at the end of the day 😉 A lot of it is suitable for home-freezing. We even freeze donuts.

      The Fatty Family

      May 6, 2019 at 12:39 pm

  17. I do wish Amber Rudd would stop acting like the Good Fairy Of The DWP.
    Bringing her magic wand of wonderfulness to Jobcentres everywhere.
    Face facts Amber. Universal Credit is a hard, strict system, designed to force
    people off benefits, and into low-paid work.
    No amount of twinkling smiles and fairy dust is going to change this.
    All the difficulties in Universal Credit, were designed into it from the very start.
    Because Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of Universal Credit, thought that
    the original benefit system was far too soft on claimants.

    ‘ Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to
    yourself there is no place like home.’

    Glinda the Good Witch Of The North, ( The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L.Frank Baum)

    Jeff Smith

    May 6, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    • designed to force people off benefits, and into low-paid work.

      All the difficulties in Universal Credit, were designed into it from the very start.
      Because Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of Universal Credit, thought that
      the original benefit system was far too soft on claimants.

      (2)A claimant commitment is to be prepared by the Secretary of State and may be reviewed and updated as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

      (3)A claimant commitment is to be in such form as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

      4)A claimant commitment is to include—

      (a)a record of the requirements that the claimant must comply with under this Part (or such of them as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to include)


      It all gives the impression that Universal Credit is above the law as Secretary of State see’s fit.


      May 6, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    • Right on Jeff. She can ponce about all she likes. People can see for themselves what its like.

      Dave T.

      May 7, 2019 at 11:03 am

  18. It all gives the impression that Universal Credit is above the law as Secretary of State see’s fit.

    the Secretary of State is not god it is not above the law no matter what bs comes out of its hole 😉


    May 6, 2019 at 10:10 pm

  19. The dumbest idea in universal credit is the idea of “in-work progression” where unemployed people move into part-time work… increase their hours by getting other jobs or a job with more hours… get promoted and end up running the company. A bit like the First Lord’s song in HMS Pinafore where a young man started work polishing the handle of a big front door, climbed the greasy pole from his humble origins and ended up the ruler of the Queen’s Navy.

    In practice this is bollocks of course. Every job involves a commute either from home to work and back, or from some other place to work and then either back home or somewhere else. Commuting, however you do it, costs money and so unless your workplace(s) are all within easy walking distance cobbling 35 hours worth of work from umpteen scattered part-time jobs is impossible because if you’re on universal credit and affected by its taper you only get to keep 37% of every hour’s worth of pay that you get: once travelling expenses and council tax rises are accounted for this effectively means that you are most times not better off and possibly even worse off because you are doing the same commute to work and back for an hour or two as you would be doing for a normal day, eight hours, in a full time job.

    When the DWP piloted “in-work conditionality” the average increase in pay after twelve months with “work coach assistance” was, get this, an absolutely piffling £5.25 per week! Which blows the “work is the best way out of poverty” crap out of the water.

    Here’s a link to the DWP report that spills the beans:

    Click to access summary-universal-credit-in-work-progression-randomised-controlled-trial.pdf

    As far as curing poverty is concerned in-work conditionality is a load of wank.


    May 7, 2019 at 7:06 am

    • Thanks, this is really useful.

      I know people in that position, and they are in deep trouble all the time.

      It would be useful if we got together as much information as possible to do a really serious post all together.

      Andrew Coates

      May 7, 2019 at 9:42 am

    • This has always been the true reality of Universal Credit, and Amber Rudd can spin it all she likes.
      It’s about forcing people off benefits into low-skill, zero-hour and part-time work.
      Most of the people on UC will still be there ten years later. It’s not a case of some fantastic job is round the corner if only you can put up with some temporary suffering.

      Jeff Smith

      May 7, 2019 at 11:11 am

    • But to the DWP £1 or £2 a week is still ‘better off’. Which it is in a literal sense. But on that basis 1p a week is better off.

      Andrew Harvey

      May 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      • It is not qualified, it is not significantly better off, not even marginally better off so 1p a week does what it says on the tin. Just like the Jobcentre bogus ‘better off in work’ calculations that don’t even take into account travel expenses or in work expenses.

        Ron Seal

        May 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      • The way the DWP choose to look at things is not according to the individual but to populations. So if they get one million people on UC one hour of minimum wage work they say, “Well, that’s one million more hours of productivity added to the overall economy that wasn’t there before because of universal credit” and chalk it up as a great success even though each individual in that one million strong population is only 37% of one hour of the minimum wage £8.21 that is to say a mere £3.04 better off. From the DWP’s chosen point of view idle people are not adding value to the economy and are enjoying “some work” even though individually the people in that group are no better off in any way that matters.

        Universal credit was sold as a way to raise people out of poverty whereas as is it enforces poverty.

        The whole universal credit programme is shite pure and simple.


        May 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    • Every job involves a commute either from home to work and back,

      Thats true but some are asking if someone is in such a town or thirty minutes.Its whats being asked not what the DWP says.Whoever said that “thinks fit exe” was drawn up on the back of a fag packet does hold weight.

      The best advice is to find full time employment which is easier said then done and come off of benefits leaving the Jobcentre and moving on in life,a contented workforce is a productive one.simply stripping a Claiment Commitment makes no difference either.Universal Credit Foodbanks increasing hours anyone is going to be asking how long are they going to be around or off at the first chance,mention of a foot on the ladder reinforces that point,stressed people DWP/HMRC contact realtime/threats of penalties/red tape low claimant returns even possibly out of pocket as some have commented/trapped in a cycle of poverty are not what someone employing wants to hear or deal with,their not going to get the best of someone.If there are problems they are going to be looking elsewhere.Pulling that shutter up ad they might just be pulling it down.


      May 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      • Ken said: “Every job involves a commute either from home to work and back,”

        Our survey said: *burp*, *burp*, not true.

        For example many radio presenters (what used to be called DJs) voice-track their shows from home. They can appear “live” on many different network simultaneously. It can sound convincing to the untrained ear but there are many give-away to those ‘in the know’ 😉 Some presenters such as Mark Forrest present live from a home studio. Back in the day it was through ISDN lines but things have moved on. Many voice-over artists also work from home.


        Voice-over Woman

        May 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      • If you are interested in what voice-tracking looks in action here is a video of a US DJ voice-tracking his show.

        Part one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8ryr67X8DY

        Voice-over Woman

        May 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      • Voice-over Woman

        May 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

  20. Basic income of £48 a week in UK urged

    Every adult in the UK should receive a weekly basic income of £48, according to the recommendations in a new report.

    The move could be paid for by scrapping more than 1,000 tax reliefs, Professor Guy Standing’s report says.

    The Labour Party has welcomed the report, but insisted it was an independent report which it would study ahead of drawing up its next manifesto.

    Paying everyone a basic income has been suggested previously and is already being trialled in other countries.

    The latest report, entitled Basic Income as Common Dividends: Piloting a Transformative Policy, was written by Professor Standing, an authority on the concept of the basic income.

    He was asked to write it by the Progressive Economy Forum, a left-leaning group of economists.

    Advocates of a basic income say it reduces poverty and inequality by providing a guaranteed income.

    What is a basic income?

    Universal basic income, or UBI, means that everyone gets a set monthly income, regardless of means.

    The author of this latest report, Professor Guy Standing, told the BBC: “A basic income would be paid in cash, a moderate amount, a basic amount unconditionally to each individual man and woman equally, a smaller amount for a child and the good thing is it would be unconditional and it wouldn’t be means tested and it would be a right, an economic right.”

    How much would it be?

    Professor Standing said the amount would change over time as the funding for a basic income is built up.

    However, initially he said the weekly sum would be £48, which he said would be a “significant amount for many people”.

    “Now £48 is not a lot for most people but for a lot of people out there they have £20 left at the end of the week after they’ve paid their rent and their food, so this is a significant amount for many people.”

    A lower sum would be paid to children, under these proposals.

    How would it be paid for?

    A rough calculation shows that if about 60 million people were paid £48 a week, that would come to about £150bn a year.

    Professor Standing said there are 1,156 tax reliefs in the UK at the moment and if they were scrapped that would pay for a basic income.

    “What that means [is] it’s income foregone by the Treasury. Most of these tax reliefs didn’t have any economic rationale and they’re giveaways that are increasing inequality.

    “If we phased out those tax reliefs the total revenue foregone by the Treasury from tax reliefs is £420bn per year and that’s their own estimates, not mine,” he added.

    Has it been done elsewhere?

    Some countries have tested paying a basic income to citizens.

    In western Kenya, the government is paying every adult in one village $22 a month for 12 years to see if a regular payment can help lift them out of poverty.

    The Netherlands and Italy have also launched trials, while Scotland is considering piloting basic income schemes in four cities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell recently said that Labour would include a plan for universal basic income in its next general election manifesto.

    Finland basic income ‘did not help jobless’

    Ontario cuts basic income project short

    Basic income pilot considered in Glasgow

    However, a two-year trial in Finland, where a sample of 2,000 unemployed adults were given €560 a month, was not extended.

    And in Canada, Ontario’s newly elected centre-right government said it was scrapping a three-year basic income pilot project that hoped to discover whether it was better than existing welfare schemes.
    This is not the first time this has been suggested in the UK is it?

    No, there have been a couple of similar studies this year alone.

    In March the New Economics Foundation think tank published a report in which it proposed replacing the personal tax allowance with a Weekly National Allowance of £48. However, it did not call it a basic income.

    A week later the leftwing think tank Compass, suggested a universal basic income of £60 for each adult, £175 for those over 65 and £40 for children under the age of 18.

    What are the pros?

    Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is attending the launch of the independent study on Tuesday, welcomed the report.

    He said: “This report is an important contribution to the debate around inequality, austerity, poverty and how we establish a fair and just economic system.

    “There have been pilots of ‘basic income’ elsewhere and Guy Standing has looked at them and come forward with proposals.

    “Whatever mechanism we use, whether ‘basic income’ or another, we have to lead in developing a radical mechanism aimed at eradicating poverty, but also means testing.

    “We will be studying the contents and recommendations of this report carefully as we put together our reform policies for the next Labour government.”

    What are the cons?

    Opponents of a basic income are worried about how it would be paid for and what cuts would have to be made elsewhere.

    And the government has previously said a universal basic income would not work for those who need more support, such as disabled people and those with caring responsibilities.

    Basic income of £48 a week in UK urged


    May 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    • Maybe Universal Credit is a trojan horse for a UBI set at a much lower rate than current rates, kind of like how the Poll Tax was a trojan horse for the Council Tax.


      May 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      • @Athena

        You’ll never get the Tories to pay a Basic Income. They don’t believe in it from a moral point of view.
        To them it is just paying the working class not to work.

        ‘It’s not an easy life any more chum’, Iain Duncan Smith


        May 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      • How’s ‘Sarah’. Weren’t you two once an item on a Jobcentre fake campaign praising sanctions? “I didn’t hand in a CV so my money went down. It was the best thing that even happened to me because it gave me the push I needed to get back into work”.

        Tall Story

        May 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    • What’s the point of taxing people and then giving them £40 of the tax just paid back to them again? Might as well just give them a tax cut and save the bureaucracy. And how could you square the Universal Credit taper, which strips 63% of all earned income from entitlements, with a Universal Basic Income unless UBI was treated in the same way? It seems daft anyway to give everybody a miserable £40 a week no matter how rich or poor they are rather than focus as much money as possible on alleviating the suffering and misery of the poor and vulnerable in society. What is really needed are higher benefit rates to help the poor and struggling specifically not a paltry £40 p.w., for everybody which, let’s face it, wouldn’t pay for a half-bottle of decent plonk for an MP tucking into his/her lunch.

      What we actually need is a Universal Minimum Income Guarantee set at a sensible level sufficient to live on decently. Non-working and low-earning citizens would then have their incomes topped-up to said level where/when their income falls below that benchmark like negative income tax: When you can afford to you pay in you pay into the system and when you can’t the state pays you enough money to ensure you don’t fall into poverty.


      May 9, 2019 at 9:03 am

      • It seems that some think tank is one step ahead of you Jim, do away with the personal tax allowance.

        Not ‘real’ money 😉

        THE Scottish Government should scrap benefits and give every adult a basic income to eliminate poverty, a report has said.

        Paying an initial basic income of £2400 a year, which would eventually be raised to £4800, would eradicate destitution in Scotland, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has claimed.

        The charity has called for Holyrood to pilot a basic income scheme by axing sanction-led employment

        benefits and the personal tax allowance in favour of a regular, unconditional payment of £2400 per adult, or £1500 per child, per year.

        Its report found “child destitution would vanish almost immediately” if an initial basic income was introduced, and if it reached the full £4800 it could “completely eliminate destitution in Scotland”.

        Speaking at an RSA event, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would explore the idea of paying a basic income.

        Jamie Cooke, head of RSA Scotland, said: “Basic income is increasingly of global interest and Scotland is at the brink of doing something very different and bringing the first basic income pilots to the UK.

        “Our research shows how an initial basic income could be introduced in Scotland in a way that is progressive, affordable and would halve destitution, while paving the way for a full basic income in the future. But the idea must be tested – and our engagement with Scottish citizens found support for experimenting against today’s discredited Universal Credit system, which is why we suggest a robust stepping stone before a ‘full’ basic income is introduced.

        “The idea has supporters from the SNP, Scottish Labour and the Greens, as well as others. We need to see a cross-party agreement to introduce pilots in Scotland. Obviously having the support of the UK Government of the day will be key, and John McDonnell’s support this week makes this more likely. But, failing this, the Scottish Government should pursue all options to delivering this – including invoking Exception 10 of the Scotland Act 2016 and developing a civil-society led UBI.”

        Three scenarios were modelled in the report – the status quo; a £2400 per adult basic income; and the full basic income of £4800.

        The research found that the full basic income would be the most fiscally progressive but cost the most at 3.5% of Scotland’s GDP, while the partial basic income would be easier to fund due to the removal of the tax allowance, costing 1.2% of GDP.

        Anthony Painter, director of action and research at the RSA, added: “Under austerity, we have seen the state stepping back in terms of the cash support it offers people, while increasingly stepping in to police the behaviour of the people needing cash support.

        “Basic income has been tested and shown to have a positive impact on wellbeing and trust without reducing participation in the labour market overall.

        “Meanwhile Universal Credit – relying on sanctions to control individuals – has been shown to have damaging effects on health, well-being and trust, and creates greater economic insecurity.

        “This means we must consider a basic income to promote economic security and freedom, as an alternative to today’s unpopular, threadbare and hostile welfare state.”



        May 9, 2019 at 10:58 am

      • “THE Scottish Government should scrap benefits and give every adult a basic income to eliminate poverty, a report has said.

        Paying an initial basic income of £2400 a year, which would eventually be raised to £4800”

        “Eventually be raised to £4800”, yeah, sure, in the meanwhile your benefits will have been scrapped and you will either frozen or starved to death on £46 a week!


        May 9, 2019 at 11:02 am

  21. You are all forgetting that the Jobcentre plays a vital role in the Labour Market (rhymes with Cattle Market)
    . The Jobcentre acts as an anti-union tool, It exists to depress pay and lower conditions in the Labour Market. It is anti-poor and anti-working class throughout. The Jobcentre is no friend of the poor and working-class. The Jobcentre should be got rid off. Just pay claimants their entitlements – unconditionally!
    And no one should be receiving less than Pension Credit Minimum Guarantee which is really the minimum you need to live on (after housing costs), and tacitly recognised by the Government in setting the level currently set at £167.25 for a single person and £255.25. If the Government were to enact these simple measures it would eliminate poverty and destitution at a stroke!


    May 9, 2019 at 11:24 am

    • £255.25 a week for a couple.


      May 9, 2019 at 11:25 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: