Five things the coalition won’t tell you about Universal Credit

The professed aim of the introduction of Universal Credit is to boost the personal responsibility of claimants, smooth the passage to work and prepare out-of-work claimants for their next job. There are a number of problems with Universal Credit, however - problems which haven't been given anywhere near the amount of coverage by the press that they warrant.

The Universal Credit scheme officially goes live today with a ‘Pathfinder’ version in the north of England – Ashton-under-Lyne – and the scheme is expected to be rolled out nationwide from October 2013.

Universal credit will merge several benefits and tax credits into one monthly payout.

The professed aim of the Universal Credit is to boost the personal responsibility of claimants, make work pay more than benefits and prepare out-of-work claimants for their next job.

There are a number of problems with Universal Credit, however – problems which haven’t been given anywhere near the amount of coverage by the press that they warrant.

  1. The benefit changes will “reinforce the traditional male breadwinner model”, in the words of the Women’s Budget Group. The new universal credit will mean that whereas previously certain benefits like tax credits were paid directly to mothers, the universal credit will be claimed and owned by couples jointly and usually paid in full to one partner. Incentives for second earners (usually women) will also be weakened according to independent evaluations; and even more worryingly, the government believes ‘that any such risk of decreased work incentives for women in couples is justified.’

  2. Households that earn £247 or less a week will see a fall in real income in 2015 because of the changes to benefits, and lone parents will be worse off, whatever their circumstances, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing.

  3. Research suggests that a monthly payment will make it harder for claimants to budget. A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) survey asked benefit and tax credit recipients the following question: “If payments of benefits and tax credits are made monthly, would you find it easier or harder to budget, or would it make no difference at all?” Four in ten said it would be harder to budget after the changes and just one in ten said it would be easier. Four in ten said it would make no difference. The fear most commonly cited by claimants was that they would run out of money before the end of the month.

  4. The proposal that social tenants should have to manage their rental payments, as opposed to the money going direct to their social landlord, is overwhelmingly opposed by most social tenants. 86 per cent of social tenants believe “strongly” that it is better for housing benefit to be paid directly to the landlord. A third of claimants are not confident they will be able to keep up rental payments if they have to manage benefits paid to them for their rent.

  5. The reforms are bad for those who are in work and looking to work more, especially those who previously received Working Tax Credits. According to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), “Low earners who do have a working partner will tend to see their marginal effective tax rate (the fraction of a small rise in earnings lost to income tax, national insurance, withdrawn benefits or tax credits) increase, because Universal Credit will have a higher withdrawal rate than tax credits do.” (p4) The marginal tax rate for this group will be 76.2 per cent, up from 73 per cent as it is now.” As well as reducing incentives for second earners (see point one), so-called “strivers” will effectively be penalised for working harder.

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39 Responses to “Five things the coalition won’t tell you about Universal Credit”

  1. Russ Mcgarry

    Something I came across recently

    For the attention of: –

    David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Edward Miliband and all Members of Parliament,

    We Have Had Enough.

    This letter is a warning – from the people. It is not a request that requires
    an answer, but it does require a response – by way of action on your part that
    demonstrates that you understand its substance and the seriousness of our
    intent.

    The collective political establishment has betrayed the British people by
    transferring our national sovereignty to a foreign power without our consent.
    This is in defiance of our constitution and an act of treason.

    You do not need to know how many people we represent today, only how many we
    might represent tomorrow and you should know that our numbers grow daily. This letter
    thus serves as your window of opportunity to make amends and give remedy for
    the crimes committed against us. We will show compassion for those who recant
    and we will be ruthless with those who do not concede to the wishes of the
    people.

    Ignoring this letter is not an option… if you think it is, then this serves
    only to demonstrate that your intellect is subservient to your arrogance. You
    may feel that you can ignore it because you are too powerful, but to do so is
    to underestimate the seething resentment that the people feel for the political
    establishment in general.

    I, the undersigned, did not write this letter, but it expresses what I think
    about the way that we are being misgoverned. You have acted in contempt of the
    principles of democracy and shown total disregard for our right to govern
    ourselves. It does not matter who penned the words of this letter, what matters
    is what it says.

    For the past several decades the British people have been treated with
    extraordinary and total contempt by the collective political establishment. It
    has not mattered which political party has been in office or ‘power’ as you
    insist on calling it, nothing ever changes. We are continually subjected to the
    same global agenda. We have been used and abused like pawns in your game of
    supremacy in which a dynastic ruling class see themselves as ordained to rule
    as masters – with impunity, whilst we the people, as virtual slaves, are
    supposedly destined to obey – without question. You have persistently and
    consistently undermined our democracy by agreeing to treaties with foreign
    political elites who have no business in our affairs.

    You have rewarded yourself with the trappings of office – high salaries,
    luxuries denied most of us, privileges, pensions, prestige and benefits that we
    can only dream of… whilst burdening us with ever-higher taxes, derisory
    pensions and declining standards of public services. It is we who pay the price
    for your malfeasance.

    The story of Britain over the past several decades that will be told in the
    history books of tomorrow is the story of betrayal, greed, corruption,
    nepotism, treason and modern day fascism – the latter of which manifests itself
    in the global agenda being imposed upon us against our will.

    The European Union – a step process towards global governance is now fully
    exposed. Built on lies and deceit is being hoisted by its own petard – the
    edifice is crumbling but still the political elite like demented fools,
    continue to feed on their own delusions. The docile masses, mesmerised by
    trivia, propaganda, complacency and ignorance have still somehow managed to
    grasp some basic elements of the truth, alerted almost certainly by the blatant
    and arrogant refusal of the political elite to tell the truth even when it
    stands proud in the rubble of political deceit and betrayal.

    The political class are discredited at every level. They rant about the
    benefits of our subjugation to a foreign enterprise, peace, prosperity and
    democracy where in reality chaos, dictatorship and corruption reign supreme.
    European economies are on the brink of collapse because of the corrupt banking
    cartels, there is visible resistance on the streets and people call for lawful
    rebellion. But less known, there is clandestine resistance behind closed doors.
    Whilst the majority advocate a peaceful uprising, the extremes will always be
    in the mix and when passion and anger are fused and those aggrieved can find no
    remedy… violent resistance is as understandable as the passion for life itself.

    The police and militia that you currently rely on to defend yourselves against
    the people’s retribution… are made up of our own, they are not your people –
    and when they learn about your betrayal and your intent…. AND THEY WILL – they
    will turn against you. Their awakening, which you cannot stop, is your Achilles
    heel. Your greatest fear must be that we will impose upon you the regimes and
    repression that you had planned for us.

    People are meeting in groups across the country, talking across oceans… they
    are disparate, disorganised and without an effective plan to repel the global
    agenda… as yet. BUT a leadership is emerging… organisers are co-ordinating and
    small groups are linking to form larger groups. The dichotomies of left v
    right, Christian v Muslim, , black v white, Catholic v Protestant, which have
    been used to great effect to divide and conquer in the past, will find no
    favour in this war. The call to arms that will unite us will be ‘the people v
    the global elite’ – the cry will cascade street to street and find easy passage
    and universal support – for our common purpose has greater value and strength
    than yours.

    We have a constitution – which you ignore. We have been denied our democratic
    rights, regardless, we have clearly expressed our wishes, in one opinion poll
    after another, that we do not want to be governed by a foreign unelected
    officialdom, but still you disregard us. We are promised a referendum on our
    future, but then you recant. You speak in support of our views when in
    opposition, but act to the contrary when we elect you.

    You consult with corporate executives, international bankers, non-government
    organisations, international charities, academia, foreign dignitaries,
    political elites, think tanks and lobbyist – collectively a tiny minority, who
    do not represent us. These groups all emanate from the same social strata, with
    their own agendas to satisfy and all funded by the same cartel. You take note
    of their every whim, but you care not a jot for what we think or what we want.
    Your children are given jobs, with big salaries fresh from university and then
    rapidly climb the corporate ladder as reward by the same corporate bodies who
    you have favoured with your decisions. Our children must make their own way in
    an increasingly desperate world. Your corporatism suppresses our freedoms with
    deliberate and malicious intent.

    You accommodate tyrants, dictators, arms dealers and all manner of dubious
    characters, with whom you are happy to keep company. You turn a blind eye when
    the smell of money wafts your nostrils… it suppresses the stink of corruption
    and evil. Your moral compasses are defunct… your values deplorable and motives
    despicable. Our soldiers die to service your corporate agenda – their blood is
    on your hands.

    You are educated at the same elite schools and members of the same elite clubs
    and you allow these influences to override the consideration which should be
    paramount in service of the people. You have adopted the “I’ll scratch your
    back if you scratch mine” philosophy… because you have learnt from your
    predecessors that corruption and deception do indeed pay. The European Union is
    awash with it and you have determined to get your snout in the same trough. You
    take comfort from the fact that you control those who have the authority to
    indict you for your criminality… because they too have fallen prey to the
    corruption. You have sold off our national resources to your friends, divided
    communities, deprived villages and towns, undermined, destroyed and bulldozed.
    You have laid waste where once prosperity was enjoyed. But you have not
    suffered… you have remained aloof, disengaged, uninvolved – removed from the
    debris and the misery that you have wreaked upon the rest of us.

    We have seen our three billion annual fishing industry handed over to foreign
    control for nil reward. Our farms no longer feed us, crippled by regulations
    made to favour foreign farmers. Our ship-building has been dismantled and our
    merchant fleet whittled to nothing. Our armed forces are under strength and we
    see foreign troops being trained on our own soil on the pretence that they may
    be needed to protect us… when the reality is they are being trained to subdue
    us… to protect you from our vengeance. Our children are victims of social
    engineering in the schools and declining standards of education. They are being
    sexualised by explicit exposures before they have the emotional maturity to be
    able to cope. You are destroying their minds and their childhoods.

    You have engineered a police state with legislation that empowers you at our expense
    and you have been blatant in your contempt for our democratic and constitution
    rights and our common law, which have been known to us for centuries. You deny
    us our rights and our freedoms and contemptuously imply that you can provide us
    with a new Bill of Rights. Would we seriously trust a thief with our wallets?
    You have corrupted our courts by appointing judges who are contemptuous of our
    common law and you have bowed to the pressure of foreign elites who have
    inflicted their inferior system of justice upon us… without our consent. You
    have not defended our interests… you have conspired merely to enhance your own.

    You have dissected our nation and sold off our infrastructure. We buy our own
    water from foreign corporations who grow rich on the back of our suffering.
    Pensioners die of cold because they are unable to afford their heating bills
    visited upon them by foreign corporate greed. You are then rewarded by them
    with lucrative directorships when you slip quietly from office with your
    bulging pensions. You remain oblivious, unconcerned… disconnected. We will no
    longer be ignored as you go about you globalist agenda. We will resist your
    controlling and petty rules and regulations… we will resist your fines and
    penalty charges and challenge your corrupt and biased judges, we will defy the
    over-zealous police, and your oppressive and unlawful taxes.

    It is our intention to govern ourselves… we do not seek your permission – this
    is our right. You have had your opportunity and you have failed. We will take
    control of our own lives in stages, as and when it suits us. Our numbers will
    grow as we show by example that prosperity is the natural consequence of honest
    and fair governance. We will expose you for the parasites you are.

    This country has a constitution – which you ignore. We have Magna Carta, the
    declaration and the Bill of Rights… we have trial by jury, habeas corpus, the
    coronation oath. We have our customs, traditions and common law. We have the
    right of petition, free speech, and free movement and above all… we have the
    right to govern ourselves. These are our inalienable rights – they are not
    privileges granted to us by you or your ilk. They cannot be taken away or
    extinguished at the whim of political diktat or through corrupt judicial process
    and certainly not at the behest of foreign undemocratic institutions. You have
    no authority to dictate… your duty is to serve.

    We do not recognise regions imposed upon us by Europeans to affect their
    control over us – to divide and to conquer us. We are a sovereign nation… a
    proud people. We have watched our country slowly destroyed… by you – we now see
    clearly what you have done… your purpose and you betrayal. We will honour our
    inheritance – the freedoms fought for and secured for us, and we will ensure
    that we will pass this on to the next generation, to our children and theirs.

    You have been sent this letter by a constituent. On sending a copy to you, they
    have also registered your name with the co-ordinators. This will remain with us
    as evidence for your trial… for treason, should it be necessary. It’s your
    choice

    We are many – you are few… and our leaders are emerging

  2. Craig Bauer Melson

    sorry, but if you can’t afford rent, move! It’s what others who work have to do… cant be choosy if you’re living off gov.

  3. SadButMadLad

    1. So in effect the whole feminism campaign has been a failure and you acknowledge that without a fight. A bit defeatist. I think differently. I think feminism has won. What’s to stop the women in a relationship taking all the money rather than the man. Nothing because feminism has won the argument that for the man to always take the money is not valid. It should go to the person in the relationship who is better at handling money. The couple can decide themselves.

    2. A small number in specific circumstances will lose out. But there are transitional reliefs available to help families through the change. Labour seem to have this idea that if even one person loses out due to a change, then that change is a bad idea. What about all the people who do benefit from the change?

    3.So a minority (4/10) thought it would be more difficult to manage their finances if paid monthly rather than weekly. After a few months of such mismanagement they will quickly learn to manage their finances. And they will be just like many other people who do work full time and also find that the money runs out at the end of the month.

    4. Well here I agree. Rents should go direct to the landlord. But tell that you to your progressive friends who thought it good idea for rent to go to the tenant first and changed the system during Labours term of office to do this. Will Labour admit that they made a mistake and now acknowledge that giving rent direct to the capitalist landlord actually is a good thing for the tenant too.

    5. So the marginal tax rate increases. That is not the same as the overall tax rate. It is worth emphasising that this is the difference between one band and another and is a small difference. A change of 3% of something that is small already is something very small. So all in all, not a huge change. A difference of a few pence in real terms.

  4. Jozef Zaffino

    In response to 2 I can’t think of anyone who actually benefits from this system aside from the rich who are getting tax cuts due to the benefits cuts.

  5. barsacq

    Nothing to do with affordability, dingbat. Read again.

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