Author Topic: A 'simple guide' to UC  (Read 177 times)

Sunny Clouds

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A 'simple guide' to UC
« on: October 16, 2017, 12:42:34 AM »
Someone on another site asked whether there was a simple guide to UC.  This was asked in response to my naively asking why there's no national outcry over UC.  (Compare with the poll tax riots.)

It was so obvious that I cursed myself for not seeing it.  Make the changes complex enough and people can't make sense of what's going on so there's no single point they can grasp.

This followed on from a different discussion on the same board ('Peet's Mustardland') about UC where someone got quite angry over how angry various of us were and spoke of her disabled sister and how she'd been looked after.  The poster was really getting under my skin and then I thought of something.  She said she knew nothing about UC, and got annoyed with posters being angry about it.  Leaving aside whether it's true or not that she knows nothing about it, let me simply use her as a typical person in the street.  How could she get her head round a discussion that rapidly drifted from jobseeking to being too disabled to work to being in work etc?  It would be frustrating, almost as if we were changing topic just to annoy or to avoid addressing points made.

She mentioned fraud as a reason to need to introduce it, without there being any sense whatsoever that she had any notion whatsoever of what changes might have been introduced that could possibly have anything to do with fraud.

My point that removal of the ESA disability premiums isn't just nasty, it's the more so for all the other cuts was what had provoked mention of her sister, who'd apparently had all the help she'd needed, and who'd only splashed out on things like a nice wheelchair for preference.  I'm guessing that in the world around us, there are people who've known people who've had all that help and simply don't get it  in terms of people losing it.  It makes no sense whatsoever unless you're actually prepared to believe a government would do that to people, would actually let people suffer and even die.  Why would that make sense in the UK? 

One of the things I think of is how symbolic Margaret Thatcher was as seriously rightwing.  You know, friend of dictators, destroyer of industry or whatever else us leftwingers associate her with.  But she was far more generous with benefits than our current government.  If you look at the levels of things like the dole that were payable when she was in power and adjust them for inflation, they're far higher than current benefits.

But tell people that and they'll go "Eh?"

So that's how UC's happening.  Make it so complex and so extreme that people can't get their heads round it.  Make the cuts so big people must believe that they must have been excessive before.  Cover so many different issues that people get confused and annoyed when you try to explain.

 >steam<


JLR2

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 08:37:12 AM »
''But she was far more generous with benefits than our current government.''

Thatcher would have done more to cut welfare spending were it not that a, there were near 3 million on state unemployment benefits and b, she just could not see a way to do welfare reform that would not result in poll tax like riots. It took Blair's new labour to oil the wheels of change as they introduced their changes with things like the WCA.

The secrete of keeping a lid on public anger regarding welfare reforms is, to the Tories and no doubt even a Corbyn government, is to attack disability benefits. These benefits are seen as more profitable for attacking as they are typically higher payments to disabled individuals therefore fewer need to be hit to recoup more money and governments reliance on folk believing it'll not happen to me.  By example of this I would refer to the local guy in the village where I live, I have mentioned this man in past postings.

The man I'm talking of worked all his life in a good paying job at a distillery, he was never slow to pay his round in my local but by heck did he let you and everyone else know if you were slow in getting your own round in. He also had a palpable attitude towards those in the pub on benefits, sort of nice enough to a benefit claimant's face but quick to join in any mauling of the same person's character when they were out of the same room. Like many who are reasonable comfortable, they'd whinge about the level of income tax they were paying but otherwise they had a fairly contented life.

For this local guy things changed following his suffering a serious stroke, then he learnt what lay behind the term 'welfare state'  for him it was a whole new experience and not a nice one at that. He was to some degree lucky in that he had a partner, had he not his world would have completely fallen apart, as it was between them they discovered the world faced by many thousands of disabled welfare benefit claimants and the nightmare they were facing day in day out. He told me he just couldn't believe the rigmarole he was having to go through and how he thought things were going to be straight forward as there he was having suffered his stroke, having paid all the required taxes and national insurance contributions expected of him everything would just happen as one day follows the next, well not in the DWP it doesn't is the lesson he has learnt. His partner has had to fight over near every dot and comma of the benefit system to obtain for her man the entitlements he is due putting her through a nightmare too as she tries to do all she can for him.

It is because of the majority of folk out there who like the local man I've been talking about (before his stroke) out there in the able bodied world who have no personal experience of what the welfare system is doing to claimants and are fed a constant feed of welfare scroungers and skivers stories seeing it as nothing of meaning to them beyond their having to pay more tax because of these benefit claimants. It is only when these folk experience the effect of disability themselves or within their closest family do they open their eyes to see what is happening.

Mutterings over :-)


Monic1511

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 08:43:05 PM »
A Simple guide to UC would be this

We are going to pay all income based benefits in one lump sum monthly payment - Income related benefits are Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers, Income Based Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits.    In an effort to streamline all the benefits we will also abolish all the premiums paid in Income Support.  This will mean that instead of 54 benefits there is now 1 Universal Credit.   In order to mimic the working world this will be paid monthly direct to your bank account.     
Simple EH?

Paying Housing benefit this way gets rid of the local authority staff who ran the HB dept and lets the Government give council tax rebates as a  lump sum depending on the poverty levels in your area.  so that's a cost cutting there.

Monthly payments - that halves the fees for electronic transfers right away.
Monthly payments in arrears - the government keeps the cash for 2 weeks longer in its own accounts therefore more interest
There are 12 months in a year BUT there are 26 fortnights (or 13 4 weekly payments) so the same money gets spread out a little further
the monthly allowance is 317.82  (317.82 * 12 = 3813.84 / 53 = 71.95 or 73.34 if you / by 52)   is that another sleekit pay cut.

Housing allowances are restricted to the local housing allowance set by the government and there is no extra money for supported accommodation or homeless accommodation - so if your rent in a supported flat is 120/week and the local housing allowance is 85/week then you need to make up the shortfall of 45 from your 71.95.

Direct deductions - ok lets be good stewards of the governments money and if someone is in debt we will recover it at 10% and the maximum we can take if 40%.    No thats not excessive but it means recovery goes from 3.70 a week to a minimum of 31.78 a month (7.95/week)   Oh but we take 10% of the total payment so we include your rent in that and take 10% of that as well so reductions are typically 63/month.   That's a good repayment rate and will recoup the governments money quicker.
Mortgage interest payments become a loan rather than part of your entitlement as well.


That's the simple version that I can recall without looking at the books so pass that to your fellow poster and ask her if she still thinks its a great idea, after all if they recover 40% of her sisters benefit that would be 127.12 deducted leaving her 190.70 a month - I mean that's doable isn't it if all you do is stay at home and don't contribute  >runforthehills< >isurrender> >headbang< >dontpanic< >steam<
Monic

JLR2

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 08:42:52 AM »
''Mortgage interest payments become a loan rather than part of your entitlement as well.''

Monic, I think this is being done by the government either next year or 2019.

So far as UC goes, the government(s)  Labour or Tory) really couldn't give a fig about welfare benefit claimants and were these governments to be honest they'd just as soon cut all benefit payments by 20% irrespective of the claimant's circumstances and having done so they'd tell claimants to get on with things. OK so they'd need to boost Police numbers and maybe increase the live ammunition allocation to the troops but if they could they would.


Sunny Clouds

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2017, 12:10:41 PM »
 >crying<

JLR2

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 01:02:17 PM »
>crying<

Sorry, this is a link to the government page telling about this change; https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest

Sunny Clouds

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Re: A 'simple guide' to UC
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2017, 03:46:20 PM »
My tears aren't just about that (I don't personally have mortgage interest to pay), but about the whole of it, one thing after another.

Sorry, I can't resist a wholly unoriginal rant you've heard from me a thousand times.  Ok, so you know my politics are left of centre, I don't like neoliberalism and I think that 'austerity' is both dishonest and cruel.

However, what continues to make me angry, angry, angry about it is a strong sense that actually it doesn't make those implementing it politically the most money or power.  Seriously.  It destroys countries, so unless they're planning to kill themselves or emigrate when they get older, they're in with a good chance of suffering themselves unless, like Margaret Thatcher, they get dementia and suffer for other reasons.

Come to think of it, she spent the last years of her life in a hotel suite.  By all accounts, she didn't have much in the way of family visits and I wonder how geared up to good quality care the staff there actually were.  I bet she was lonely in many ways.  I honestly don't know, but what's to bet the front-line staff there were as underpaid and exploited as front-line staff in care homes and nursing homes that others end up in, who then find it difficult to do their jobs because they're too stressed or worried or depressed to focus on their work, can't take time off when unwell or injured so can't work well then, are too tired because of dreadful shifts etc. 

Look at all those parliamentarians invested in private health companies.  Look how many of them haven't done well financially out of the health companies they thought would do well as the NHS is being dismantled, but actually haven't because they underestimated how much less cost-effective and therefore less profitable things like primary care or mental health services or whatever are if you disconnect them from other services?  People who destroy things to gain aren't nice, but people who incompetently destroy things to their own disadvantage turn my stomach.

And that includes those running the welfare state.  If what you want is to invest in exploitative companies that pay employees next to nothing and can do it because those employees can turn to the treasury, whose funds come mainly from creating fresh money (which you can do when you have your own currency) and from taxing ordinary people, you don't get nice big dividends if your staff can't afford to work at all.  Oops, your profit goes for a burton if your zero hours or gig economy staff don't get enough work one week then don't come back because when the work slows, their benefits are messed up, so they give up.

I want to scream at some of these politicians "If you're going to exploit people, at least do it so it actually works or leave well alone!"

Not for nothing have various big employers in the past put various staff-care schemes in place.  They actually worked.

This is all the equivalent of something that was done in one place I worked.  I was a union rep.  We had an old-fashioned pay scale. Overlapping grades, each one with increments for adequate performance with the possibility of three more if you were outstanding or your job responsibilities increased individually.  The employers said they were getting rid of that.  After all, why should people keep getting extra?  Well, maybe because it's the top of the scale that's the rate for the job, not the bottom, and you get paid less whilst getting experience.

Anway, they decided to go for individually negotiated pay, and then also added in bonuses.  In vain did I try to explain that they're counter-productive.   By the time I left, they'd destroyed the department I was in and the whole organisation was split up  as well.

However, here's the bonus thing.  Say you give the top 10% bonuses.  In theory, everyone works jolly hard to get one.  Nope.  Most people reckon they won't get one, and the longer the system's in place, and the more often it's the same people that get them, the more people don't bother to try.  If you get a little bonus for doing your job well, it can motivate you a lot more than gambling on a big bonus.

So back to the benefits changes, I wonder how many more people just give up thanks to the changes?  And yes, to some extent in theory they can just let people die, but surely there'll be a tipping point where they're risking revolution or something?  And if the politicians doing this haven't got ready to emigrate, they're at serious risk.

There'll be the odd one that's just naive, thinks it couldn't happen to them here what's happened in so many other countries where people have been exploited.  Maybe it will, maybe it won't.

Hurting so many people for no gain.

The irony is that when I look at some of the nastiest leaders of the past, I can at least see that some of them had logic etc.  Ok, I'll do the Godwin thing.  When Hitler started bumping off us mad 'uns in the asylums, it made perfect sense politically, in that he'd then got hospitals to 'hide' the war-wounded in.  People would notice patients less if there were already patients in the hospital, albeit a different sort.  That doesn't make it right, but it makes it logical.

Likewise, take what Hitler did to the Jews.  Disgusting.  But if you see it from his point of view, and remember that he was off his trolley on a cocktail of drugs including crystal meth, the key figures in some of the big financial institutions who'd wrecked Germany financially happened to be Jewish, some of the more visible migrants to Germany were Jewish, some of the  best known figures in the Russian revolution (the Russians being probably the biggest external threat he perceived for a long time) were Jewish.  So play safe and kill off the Jews.  Morally wrong.  Disgusting.  Cruel.  Something that had to be stopped.  But logical.

By contrast, a lot of what's being done here which is resulting in fewer deaths, but still suffering is rather less logical to say the least because it's probably not actually going to end up making more willing, profitable skivvies for profit-making companies, it's just going to grind people down.

How to fight back?  I don't know.  Information, and morale boosting, I guess.