Universal Credit. 20-30% don't pay the rent.

(140 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 26-Nov-12 13:58:01


Anyone pick up on this story? As part of the move to Universal Credit where claimants are given a sum of money each month and expected to manage it, a pilot study showed that about 20 - 30% of recipients failed to pay the rent on time. Given cash rather than the money going directly to the landlord, a surprising number defaulted on the rent. Extrapolated up a 20 -30% failure rate would be disastrous and plans are having to be drawn on how to support people in running household budgets and setting priorities.

I'm largely a supporter of UC as I think the current system is over-complex. I also realise that money-management doesn't come naturally to many. But if such a large percentage of people would struggle to manage a monthly benefit income this way, how would they make the transition to paid employment?

TheDreadedFoosa Mon 26-Nov-12 13:59:55

I dont understand this tbh.

It has been a long time since housing benefit was paid directly to the landlord.

MrsjREwing Mon 26-Nov-12 14:04:04

It will be very difficult if you claim uc to get a ll with those stats.

girlylala0807 Mon 26-Nov-12 14:06:45

I think thats the point to be honest. People are afraid to get jobs because they get paid monthly. If benefits also get paid monthly then it is supposed to be less stressful a transition. I am not shocked by those figures though. Its going to take some people a long time to get the hang of it.

Chopstheduck Mon 26-Nov-12 14:06:54

agree with foosa. It's only paid directly now if you request it espeically or the council decides to because of prior history of not paying on time.

It's already difficult to rent privately when claiming HB because of the associated higher risks of non payment. Frustrating for tenants like me, who depend on HB to help with rent.

SamSmalaidh Mon 26-Nov-12 14:10:18

What percentage of housing benefit claimants now don't pay rent? I don't really see the difference.

Pixel Mon 26-Nov-12 19:28:05

Have I read the article right, that they've only tested it on social housing tenants? Because if so I think that will skew the figures. People in social housing don't have to renew their leases every year so are at much less risk of getting chucked out if they don't keep up with the rent, so I think it's easier for some of them to ignore. Not so much that they can't budget but it's a different priority. We rent privately and although we need a top up from HB to be able to afford it we know that the rent has to be paid first and then worry about the other bills after that, otherwise we will soon be out on the street.

Pixel Mon 26-Nov-12 19:30:53

I'm not tarring everyone with the same brush before anyone gets upset btw, just I think that for some the mindset is that they believe they will always be rehoused.

Leithlurker Mon 26-Nov-12 20:01:03

Pixel: You are speaking in general, some in fact most social landlords are very proactive about housing arrears. Some city councils are the ones that start proceedings well ahead of any private landlords.

Whilst it might be useful to imagine that it will only be those that have the most chaotic of lifestyles that are likely to use the rent money for other things, I would suggest very many HB claimants will be low waged and will be the ones who will be most likely to use the rent money to cover emergencies or unexpected large expenses like car breakdown, or large fuel bills.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Nov-12 09:11:58

There's no easy answer on this one. If you pay the LL's directly then it's taking responsibility away from the individual and assuming there's nothing mentally wrong with them then that can never be a good thing. People should be left to make their own decisions as much as possible wherever possible. It's a fundamental freedom in our society.

But if you pay them directly and they piss it up the wall or use it for something else then that creates a costly mess for someone else to clear up.

UniversalCredit Tue 27-Nov-12 09:15:30

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CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Nov-12 09:18:19

I see the author of the article has since been advised to revise the default rate to 'the teens' rather than the higher figure. So that's something. But regarding the 'costly mess for someone else to clear up'... perhaps it's the assumption that someone else will clear up the mess that makes defaulting more rather than less likely?

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Nov-12 09:24:56

For once I agree with Niceguy smile

I am wondering if UC will take away some of the stigma of HB so more people could rent privately? or whether the reverse will happen where LL will be less keen on taking on tenants with UC.

Not everyone on UC will be in receipt of money to cover housing, just as some people now receive TC but no HB. How will LL be able to distinguish between these cases, will it mean that everyone on UC will be tarred with the same brush? as feckless innumerates unable to budget.

I thought one of the reasons for paying LL directly was to encourage LL to take on tenants on low incomes because the rent was guaranteed.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 27-Nov-12 09:28:37

Interesting but I do wonder how much this differs from present reality. Unfortunately the larger mess is the impact on other benefit recipients, who will not be accepted by many landlords, though that's already the case.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 27-Nov-12 09:31:16

Good point, how will landlords know. At the moment they know because HB is paid in arrears and many recipients can't pay a deposit. They are always up-front about it IME.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Nov-12 09:38:40

Yes Cogito, there is an expectation in some circles that the council will always for whatever reason sort their mess out. Even if the council won't/can't, it will still suck some resources as these people who have spent their money on something else will be complaining.

But my OH was telling me about a client of theirs (she works in the care industry) who has some mild learning disability. He was moving into his own place and received housing benefit. He instantly blew the lot on god knows what. His parents went nuts saying that he shouldn't be allowed to manage his own money, blaming his support worker yet his condition isn't bad enough to say he wasn't capable to manage his own affairs. Besides which his support worker cannot make that decision anyway. So what next? Boot him out? Give him more money!?!?! There's no easy answers.

Then again, I have a friend who has absolutely nothing wrong with her and she'd have no problems dipping into her rent and not pay it to fund a night around town. Our sympathy with the latter group of people would naturally be a lot lower. But if she got booted out, what happens to her kids?

I guess what I'm saying is the world is grey, not black & white.

niceguy2 Tue 27-Nov-12 09:44:27

I thought one of the reasons for paying LL directly was to encourage LL to take on tenants on low incomes because the rent was guaranteed.

Unfortunately not. Many LL's have found to their huge cost that council's can claw back HB which have been paid directly to the landlord if it later turns out the tenant was not entitled to it.

So now many LL's are stuck in a dilemma. Do you ask for it directly from the tenant and risk not getting paid? Or get it from the council and risk a large clawback later? That added on top of the fact many insurance companies won't let you rent to anyone on DSS, it doesnt make it easy to let to someone on benefits.

OddBoots Tue 27-Nov-12 09:48:05

Is the main change looked at in this the frequency of payment, the fact it is now monthly rather than 2 weekly?

Wallison Tue 27-Nov-12 09:52:29

MinitheMinx, it is already difficult to rent privately if you're in receipt of TC (without HB) because when the letting agents do their credit checks they also check how much you earn, and a lot of them don't count TC as income. Or maintenance, come to that.

Wallison Tue 27-Nov-12 09:54:33

Anyway, surely the main issue with UC is that many people are going to be worse off under it, regardless of the frequency of payments. It doesn't much matter a damn how often it is paid - if it is less than the benefits that people are getting at the moment then yes they will be more likely to fall into arrears, have problems with debt, be made homeless etc. That to my mind is a much bigger worry.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Nov-12 10:34:10

There's no suggestion that anyone received less money Wallison... that's not the point of the article. The main differences highlighted are that recipients got cash monthly rather than weekly and that it went direct to them rather than paid out to the housing association. It's not therefore a numbers problem, it's something different at play that has to do with setting priorities, personal responsibility and money management.

OddBoots Tue 27-Nov-12 10:39:04

Which leads to so many questions for which there will be no one answer. Questions about transition, about capability, about the function of state about education. Even simplifying a system can be complex.

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Nov-12 10:50:47

Thank you Wallison, I am a bit ignorant of all the finer points. I must do some reading!

Not only is it very worrying but the whole thing is fascinating because LL have always been in the main winners. Private property and rent is a way in which the rich and indeed in recent years the not so rich but speculative home owners have been able to consolidate wealth, save for old age, make money to reinvest or simply top up income. Now, with more and more people in receipt of benefits LL may have to take a hit, isn't the UC/HB element going to be capped? how will this impact upon rental values I wonder and how will it impact therefore on house prices?

Aside from that though, I do know several single mothers, much like niceguy describes who will not put rent at the top of their priorities, traditionally those in social housing, would be re-housed following eviction and these people are going to suffer for their oversight, it will be difficult to distinguish between wanton ignorance and vulnerability sad Homeless has increased hasn't it by 25% ???? I'm sure it can only get worse.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 27-Nov-12 12:32:59

"Aside from that though, I do know several single mothers, much like niceguy describes who will not put rent at the top of their priorities, "

Single mothers are they who have no idea of priorities and a bit thick with money? Very tabloid original hmm ....

MiniTheMinx Tue 27-Nov-12 13:04:33

I know, I know, why lie though. Who are these people that claim benefits and HB? the same people. Many are single mothers. If people lack basic budgeting skills is it their fault, if the lack rational thought and forward palnning? why is that?

Xenia Tue 27-Nov-12 13:05:55

I've never come across a landlord prepared to let to anyone on benefits at all including housing benefit so I doubt UC will have much of an impact. I accept there probably are such landlords around.

There is always this issue of whether you give people all the money and make them budget. I gave my children at university their allowance by standing order weekly so they never ran out of money. On the other hand other parents might say giving it once a term makes the child learn how to budget.

My only hope is UC eventually saves us all a lot of money. In the early stages it does not - IDS has had to get extra not less money for it so if it saves anything it will be in a very long time and the pathetically high new benefits cap of £500 a week when it comes in is not exactly low.

Wallison Tue 27-Nov-12 14:59:18

^I accept there probably are such landlords around.

There are plenty. A significant portion of the annual £22bn HB bill goes to private landlords.

Still, UC will definitely cost less because fewer people will qualify for it. The ones who won't are the ones on the lowest incomes, but who cares about them?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 14:20:42

If what is suggested in the article is right, and a large proportion of people that have to claim benefits for their housing costs do stop paying their rent, then even more private landlords will refuse to take them as tenants.

This might have the benefit of making many MNers stop complaining that so much tax money is paying of landlords mortgages, but where does it leave the tenants and the landlords?

In theory, it is a good idea to make people budget on a monthly basis to prepare them for working, but landlords shouldn't have to suffer the consequences of their rent not being paid.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 14:34:23

There is already a massive problem with the way that benefits are paid. A lone parent on income support, for example, will get his/her money in dribs and drabs throughout the month - HB, CTC, IS and maintenance if s/he gets it are all paid on different days and calculated in different ways. This, and not poor money management skills, makes it difficult to budget. Paying the UC portion of HB in the way described will just exacerbate this, if it is not calculated pcm. What I mean is that if it's every four weeks like TC, then the person receiving it won't get the full amount of rent in most months.

For example, say someone has a rent of £700pcm. 700 x 12 /52 x 4 = £646. That means that their rent is going to be short by £54 most months, although they will be able to catch up if they get a month with two payments in, but that could take over a year. Given that most people already do not get their full rent covered by HB and presumably won't under UC either as I have seen no headlines about the benefit being more generous than the current system, this is going to be a problem, as money is tight enough anyway, especially for people who are unemployed.

Granted that paying weekly also means there are months where the full rent is not covered, but there are more five-week months so the claimant can 'catch up' a bit more easily.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 14:45:19

Also, the problem with a four-weekly cycle of payment is that it 'slips' each month. What is the use of getting the UC money on the 14th if your rent is due on the 1st? At the moment, with weekly payments, people can budget and set a little money (the HB) aside each week so that they can pay the rent. If all benefits are going to be being paid at once, on a day that doesn't coincide with their biggest outgoing (rent) it would be extremely difficult to budget for.

Like I said, it isn't down to poor money management and it is extremely condescending to say so. People on limited incomes - whether in work or reliant solely on benefits - get by right now by budgeting weekly. It's hard, but most people do it by setting money aside. With one lump sum payment, this will not be possible. Presumably the people that the BBC are talking about have been on in-work or out-of-work benefits before the study was undertaken and were managing their money before. If they suddenly stop being able to manage their money at the same time as the time that the way their benefits are paid to them changed, then surely it is the change that has caused this, rather than their money management skills suddenly going out of kilter for some mysterious reason.

mam29 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:06:50

Never had housing benefit.

we rent privatly through agents.

we would like to move but cost of agency fees, deposit, 2months rent upfront and would want a long term rent in specific area due to kids schools.

We lived here 7years and never been late with rent, rent goes up annually.

We cant get social housing or afford to buy.

My freind with 1child lives in council flat.
she fell behind with rent unsure why -bit odd.
she rang council as is paying arrears back in dribs and drabs

she recently got small inheritance to which I said must be great to start clean slate no debts but she said no she has an arrangement why pay them earlier she spent money on other things.

during uni was once late with rent due to bank error and landlord got well arsey.

I have couple nice landlords too.

so dont know if fact its council shes more relaxed.
Admittidly I wouldent want to live there cant understand why she doesnt do more to move if shes that unhappy.

Im not sure if she gets housing benefit

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 15:08:20

Wallison, how on earth do you think most people manage to budget? confused

It is not 'extremely difficult' to budget when your biggest expenses go out at a different time than they go in, it's what everyone who doesn't claim benefits has to do, often on less, or the same amount of money!

noddyholder Wed 28-Nov-12 15:13:46

This is about taking responsibility and not relying on the state to do every little thing. If you are entitled to HB then you are entitled everyone deserves a home but surely if you are receiving the money you can be trusted to pass it on?

mam29 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:38:27

I guess is situation is as bad as op says then no wonder private landlords are concerned.

I think what gets me is social housing is cheaper than market rent.
if they say have rent of £97 a week which freind does 2bed flat and housing benefit covers most of that then surly they very lucky as housings the biggest outgoing.

Most people I know their rent or their mortgage non negociable they make it a priority.

Ours is standing order and we recently manged to get date changed as dh changed jobs with diffrent paydate.

tax credits/cb has option of weekly or 4weekly payment.
dont get tax credits now but cb date changes every month its never same date.

Only social housing has option of paying rent weekly all; privates lets i seen are monthly.

Xenia Wed 28-Nov-12 15:51:23

If we make it hard enough they might get out there and get jobs and claim no housing benefit and no tax credits like so many hard working people. They might even unbelievable as it sounds actually support themselves and their families.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 16:38:38

There are plenty of hard working people who claim HB and TC.

And just how exactly are people supposed to 'get jobs' when there are five unemployed people for every vacancy, in addition to the one in ten people who are working part-time but would like to work full time?

I think the main issue is if it's paid calendar monthly or four-weekly. If it's four-weekly, people will get into difficulties as I outlined above, because in most four-week periods there are monthly outgoings that will just not be covered. At the moment, with different benefits coming in on different days according to different cycles, by budgeting weekly people can get over that. Yes, most of the time there is not 'enough' money but with a bit of juggling around that can be overcome. If everything comes in four-weekly in one lump sum, people will no longer be able to do that. Sure, they'll have one month in say every 10 or so where they get two payments, but by then they'll be evicted.

And I would be very surprised if UC would be paid pcm.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 17:10:15

And mam29 would you prefer to bring up your children on your own and live on a council estate? If not, I don't know what you're bellyaching about.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 17:12:29

Lots of working people have to juggle things at the end of the onto until the next pay day. There is no reason why benefit claimants shouldn't have to do the same.

I don't claim benefits, but I've still had to wait until I've been paid to put petrol in my car, or wait to get grocery shopping. We have even had to ask the gas and electric company to delay taking their direct debit for a week at times when we are really short because something has come up. Where is the big drama in expecting people who get given their money for nothing to do the same?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 17:13:26

Onto should be month! No idea how auto correct worked that one out!

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Wed 28-Nov-12 17:18:51

"If you pay the LL's directly then it's taking responsibility away from the individual "

i dont really see why this is a problem TBH. (i'm a private tenant and i receive HB into my account BTW) if people are being paid HB to pay their rent then it's going to go to the LL anyway. nobody suggests that the money for free school dinners or prescriptions should be paid to the claimant in order for them to have the responsibility themselves of paying for it. it seems to work fine that they dont ever see that money in their account. why not the same with HB as it is specifically for rent?

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Nov-12 17:23:30

It was on R4 this morning that there is a rising tide of "underemployed" some 3 million people do not currently either earn enough or have available to them enough hours. The number of people unable to earn enough despite being employed is rising. Employers are either not offering full time or living costs are outstripping earnings (well there's a surprise)

I seriously question where these jobs are going to come from Xenia and Fredo. Ozzy is shrinking the economy with every passing day!

The unemployment numbers are falling but "underemployment" is becoming a huge problem.

I agree with wallison, I used to work for the L.A and we were paid every 4 weeks, once a year we received our salary x two which was great, I saved mine but that is because the salary was more than enough to live on.

The fact is, it is always easy to budget with more rather than less money smile

mam29 social housing is and should remain IMO cheaper than private rent, at least all the time private rent is day light robbery.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 17:24:28

It has been a problem for landlords in the past because they have found themselves with demands from the council to pay back money they have been paid because their tenant has claimed for money they are not entitled to. If the tenant isn't entirely honest about their situation and doesn't notify the right people when they have a change in circumstances, the landlord becomes liable for their tenants debt if they have had the money paid directly to them. Whereas if the tenant receives too much money in HB but pays it to the LL themselves, then they are liable for any overpayments made.

It's really not surprising that landlords don't want to accept applications from people who can't afford to pay for their own housing.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 17:25:17

Yes but the thing with four-weekly benefits is that for most months it just isn't enough - it isn't the full entitlement for a calendar month, yet payments need to be made on a calendar month basis. Also the payment date changes every month. So you might start out with being paid say on the 1st, which is when your rent goes out. So far so good, although you are already 'behind' on what you need for that calendar month. But you switch the heating off for a couple of nights or don't cook at the end of the last week to save on gas, and you get by. The next month your benefit comes through on the 31st, but that's ok because you save it and pay your rent on the 1st. But what about a couple of months down the line when the money comes in on the 20th? Or the 15th? You need to put petrol in the car to get to work. You've already had six months of not getting enough money to get by, and you've cut back as much as you can, even on essentials like food and gas/electricity. You've still got to live for another two weeks and then find rent money on top of that. You're not going to hit a month with two lots of payments for say another four months or so. This is completely different to budgeting on a calendar month basis.

Of course if it's paid per calendar month then that's different, but I haven't been able to find out if it is going to be paid per calendar month or every four weeks.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Nov-12 17:31:49

Lets hops it is going to be paid monthly. If they do, I wonder if they will change CB too.

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Wed 28-Nov-12 17:38:28

if that's the concern then the regulations need to change so that regardless of where the money is paid to the tenant is responsible for paying back teh overpayment. it isn't the LL fault if someone chooses to pay their rent with money they aren't entitled to. it is the tenant who chose to do that and they should be liable to pay it back, either through a debt repayment plan if working or through having it taken back from their other benefits. and as UC is going to be combining all benefits it wont be hard to get the money back of the tenant.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Nov-12 17:39:56

I have just had a look at the DWP website, I find this......

smooth the transitions into and out of work, supporting a dynamic labour market

I bet, a dynamic labour market means different things depending upon whether you are a workers or an employer. I don't know whether we want a nation of temps, supported by the tax payer. Is that not more subsidy to businesses???????

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Wed 28-Nov-12 17:40:04

sorry my last post was in response to outraged.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 17:40:05

I would doubt very much if it's going to be paid calendar monthly - no benefits ever have been, because of the way that entitlements are worked out - eg 'The govt calculates that you need £x to live on each week' etc.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 17:42:56

I agree, Minitheminx. A dynamic labour market means more zero hours/limited hours contracts where an employee is literally at the employer's beck and call and more shifting on and off out-of-work benefits because of this.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Nov-12 18:13:53

So this system of UC isn't really about making work pay or getting people back into work or making the transition into work easier for the worker. It isn't even about saving tax payers money confused In fact it seems that it will create a docile workforce and it matters not whether they are in work or out of work.....it only matters that they are responsive to the demands of employers. It seems to endorse short term contracts, minimum wages and minimum hours.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 20:30:39

Yes. It is just about subsidising employers who, if they had to treat their workers with any kind of consistency or pay them fairly, would go under. Ie shit businesses. If any govt was serious about making work pay then they would do away with zero/limited hours contracts and raise the minimum wage. But neither the tories nor labour will do this. The problem isn't scroungers, or people who can't budget properly, or transitions into work. It's high living costs - especially housing, which is just fucking insane - and low wages. Unless and until any govt admits this and does something about it, then the situation will remain the same.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 28-Nov-12 20:53:31

I agree living costs are to high in relation to average income, but I don't think UC is about subsidising employers. Much of it will be paid to people who don't work.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 21:11:31

Working people will be eligible for it too, just as already most people who claim HB are in work. The only people who won't be eligible - as far as I can see - are people who work part-time ie people who are the lowest decile of the working poor - the 'underemployed' as that R4 feature spoken about above talked of. This to me is madness, as it penalises those who would rather take a job - any job - than live off benefits alone.

MiniTheMinx Wed 28-Nov-12 21:26:11

I'm not sure, isn't it meant to do away with the 16 hr rule?

Even unemployment benefits are a type of indirect subsidy to employers thoughFreddo because having a larger pool of unemployed people gives employers a lot of leverage over pay and conditions. At a subtle level it sends the message to workers to just suck it up! think how many people now live in fear of being laid off or having their contracts altered. If demand isn't restored to the real economy soon then more people will be laid off at a time when Ozzy and chums are going to give employers the right to offer (worthless) shares instead of employment rights. At a not so subtle level it puts money in the pockets of unemployed people to spend with said businesses, businesses which have never contributed to that workers income and many of whom also avoid paying corporation tax here. How many people on benefits save money shopping on ebay.......where does ebay pay it's taxes?

edam Wed 28-Nov-12 22:07:59

It's very easy to blame the individual and assume they are incompetent or bad. But that's misleading. You need to look at what actually happens and why people get into difficulty. Wallison's explained how the individual is actually at the mercy of a chaotic payments schedule - and how you can be left short of the rent money most months even if over a year you are in theory getting enough (and with caps on housing benefit, many people will be short of the rent full stop). What's more, many people suffer from sudden changes in their benefits - mistakes are common. You can't rely on a certain amount of money coming in one one known day every month.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has studied this and says universal credit could leave working people www.jrf.org.uk/media-centre/universal-credit-could-trap-people-poverty strugging with an even more chaotic benefits system.

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 22:30:34

Yes. At least at the moment with different benefits being paid on different cycles, you will have a couple of months in the year with 'double payments' of one benefit or another as they each happen on different times. This allows for weekly budgeting and juggling things around. This won't happen if everything is paid on the same four-weekly basis.

Another thing that is worrying is that the system will depend on people accessing their claim online - the very poorest do not have computers or internet access outside of their local library, and if they are working then that makes it even more difficult to trot along there. If a mistake happens now, it is bad enough with centralised numbers and no-one who makes decisions being available to talk to. But if you add a further level of obfuscation in making everything online, this further exacerbates the problem.

edam Wed 28-Nov-12 23:04:01

Indeed, making it online only excludes millions of people - I saw a staggering stat that 7m people in this country have never been online. The poorest and most vulnerable (and the poor and vulnerable elderly) are the least likely to have access to the internet at home and now libraries are closing or reducing their hours, how the hell are they supposed to manage?

edam Wed 28-Nov-12 23:05:22

(You'd think the govt would have noticed how badly the police and crime commissioner elections went after they decided to only make information available online... it's almost as if the buggers want to restrict access to benefits.) hmm

Wallison Wed 28-Nov-12 23:08:40

Exactly. And even if they do manage to get online via a library or whatever, I bet that it will take more than one visit to sort any mistake out, and there definitely won't be any emergency cash or giro payments or whatever to help people over a rough patch caused by the mistake.

The entire thing seems designed to make life even more difficult for the poorest, which when you consider that they are largely fucked because of economic circumstances waaaaay outside of their control, and likely to remain so for a long time, just seems vindictive to me.

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Thu 29-Nov-12 00:47:32

are the govt going to provide free computer skills training for the 7 million that have never been online? are they going to pay everyone an internet element in their UC payment?

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Thu 29-Nov-12 00:48:42

and what happens if for whatever reason talk talk or whoever are down for a day? are people going to be sanctioned if they miss their deadlines as a result?

MiniTheMinx Thu 29-Nov-12 09:03:05

Some of the poor and elderly or people with disabilities, life limiting conditions etc, even if the library were not closing, wouldn't be able to access the facilities. What about people who are sight impaired, are they going to make RNIB or whoever aware that these people will need help.

I agree, I think they are trying to make it very much harder for people to claim.

niceguy2 Thu 29-Nov-12 09:17:48

To claim that UC is some sort of weird subsidy to businesses is frankly ridiculous. If you truly believe that that then so is tax credits & housing benefit etc.

The whole online only thing is also a piss poor argument. It's the 21st century. We have computers now. If governments were never allowed to move forwards I guess we'd all still be running around in horse & carts for fear of putting blacksmiths out of work.

It reminds me of those who were against the change to Chip & Pin in case the vulnerable couldn't handle it. I've never seen anyone who didn't understand it.

Some people like my very own mother wouldn't have a clue about the computer. It's true. But she can ask someone for help. If someone is very vulnerable or has special needs then surely they already have someone who can help them. Friend, family, carer? Heck, if a stranger asked me for help I'd happily spend a few hours with them taking them through the forms.

Universal Credit will not be perfect. No system is perfect. I'm sure people will find someone who loses out. And I'm sure if you sit there and pick holes at it, you'll find something to criticise. But for me, as long as the overwhelming majority get a better service from the new system then I'd say it's a step in the right direction.

Leithlurker Thu 29-Nov-12 09:41:25

Hahahaha niceguy you have finally lost the plot, or your senses. Chip and pin what a wonderful invention a gift to fraudsters and identity theirs across the world. Is anything done to combat this fraud, why yes blame the people who use their cards in a manner that allows their details to be observed. Except banks have been forced to accept that gangs are operating on a massive scale using many different scams to get card details. So this rush to computers is acceptable because the damage and the mistakes are just like collateral damage. Meanwhile again the mess will be left to the claimants to sort out.

Your lovely assertion that people with special needs have people to help them belies your own philosophy of government cuts. You have argued time and again that cuts are needed, well tell you what buddy the cuts are to local services provided by councils and charities so that this army of people who will be helping people just do not bloody exist. Even if they did back to chip and pin, your not supposed to tell people your number, but your happy for very private matters like people having to pee in a bucket cos they cannot get to the toilet to be broadcast, as well as NI numbers, bank details, in fact all the things that identity fraudsters need.

Last but not least, we already have millions in unclaimed benefitshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17139088 mostly because people have difficulty accessing the system. Well this will soar and people will lose money, homes, and health because yes in this technology savvy age, people not just the old but plenty of all ages prefer to talk to a human. Bring back proper dap offices staffed with people who know what their talking about, offering a personal service that will weed out the fraud as well as help the needy. Fund public services and save the country a fortune.

Xenia Thu 29-Nov-12 09:48:08

The wiki entry on it is a reasonable summary

"The Universal Credit was championed by Iain Duncan Smith and announced at the conference of the Conservative Party in 2010. The coalition aims to implement it fully over ten years and two parliaments, intending to cut costs and to ensure that people are better off in work. Unlike some existing benefits such as Income Support that have a 100% withdrawal rate, the Universal Credit will be gradually tapered away, like tax credits and Housing Benefit so that people can take a part-time job and still be allowed to keep most of the money they receive.

There will be substantially higher earnings disregards in Universal Credit but these will be reduced where any housing support is payable.

By comparison, Jobseeker's Allowance allows only £5 of earnings disregard per week for single adults. Thus, people working eight hours a week for £6 an hour would earn £48 pounds a week, but would have £43 a week deducted from their benefit and would therefore only gain £5 extra per week by working. In a minority of cases, people could lose significantly more by no longer qualifying for Housing Benefit, though not being able to work sufficient hours to qualify for working tax credits and therefore be 'better off' claiming benefit rather than working.

When implemented, Universal Credit will drastically affect the low-paid self-employed as well as anyone who makes a tax loss.[2] It is proposed that Universal Credits, like the current Working Tax Credits, will be "limited to those who exceed the 'floor of assumed income'" based on the National Minimum Wage.[3] As well as directly affecting self-employed people, excluded from any set minimum wage, it could also affect employees who receive below the minimum wage, hitting the poorest workers the hardest (however no legal workers should be earning below minimum wage, so only illegal workers would be affected).

The Tax Credits being incorporated into the new Universal Credit currently taper, with a withdrawal rate of 41% (2011/12 figure) once the recipient earns above £6420 (2009/10 figure). This income will have already been subject to 11% national insurance, plus 20% income tax on any income above the personal allowance."

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 29-Nov-12 09:52:58

From the DWP document about universal credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions recognises that there will continue to be a minority of people who cannot use online channels. For these people we will offer alternative access routes, predominantly by phone but also face to face for those who really need it.

So there you have it. People who cannot access the Internet will not be forced to or face losing their benefits.

niceguy2 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:05:55

Erm Leith I think you illustrate my point perfectly about over expecting.

Since the introduction of Chip & Pin, card fraud has dropped to it's lowest level for 11 years

Noone seriously expected it to drop to zero. But it was a pretty big improvement yes? Or in your world is it only worth doing if the benefits are absolute?

My OH works in the care industry and organises care for vulnerable people. They've never been busier and cannot get enough staff. So firstly it's unfair to say that due to government cuts they don't get any help. They may get less help than before but help is still there. Care is now having to be prioritised. Sometimes its a shame to have to tell someone who is lonely that they cannot provide the same number of hours as before when often the support worker is there almost acting like a friend. Other times it's having to tell someone that they must wipe their own backsides from now on. But my point is that help is still there and they are crying out for more care workers. The biggest issue my OH's company has is finding people willing to work the hours necessary since it's not a 9-5 job. Oh and travel. People don't like traveling around believe it or not. You'd probably shed a tear too at how many fail the aptitude test. With hard questions like "How much change do you expect from £20 if you buy £15.87 worth of goods?". Especially when they are allowed to use a calculator!

An issue (granted) is her company's insistence on using zero hour contracts for the first three months. This is mainly to protect the company from idiots getting through the interview stage. What they then do is just give those less/no hours. Hard workers who prove themselves practically get as many hours as they want and after the trial period they get a fixed contract.

So in this case my hope is that UC will encourage more people to apply for these sorts of jobs. Because god knows they need better quality candidates.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 29-Nov-12 10:13:12

Niceguy, while I agree with your post and completely see your point, it's a sad fact that the care sector will not get an abundance of better quality job candidates until they stop paying peanuts. I realise they can't afford to pay more, but this is one area that I think the government does need to inject money into. Caring is a difficult job and people who do it need to possess a lot of skills to be good at it. It is very sad that this type of work attracts unskilled unqualified people who have no choice but to work for a pittance. Both the carers and the clients deserve better.

MiniTheMinx Thu 29-Nov-12 11:00:31

The last Job I did for the L.A was reassessing vulnerable people so their packages of care could be cut. This was 11 years ago now, this is not new, this started under labour sad

niceguy2 Thu 29-Nov-12 12:39:05

Outraged, I agree. Caring is a job for those with patience and empathy in their bucketloads. It's not something I could do at all.

The world has changed. We need to all work more flexibly. The era of jobs for life have long vanished. Full time work is/has diminished. Many of us have second jobs now. Rightly or wrongly those are the facts on the ground.

So it only seems logical to me that the benefits system adapts along with us. One of the most common stumbling blocks to recruitment for my OH's company is that people cannot work on 0 hour contracts because they'd lose their benefits and if work dried up, they'd have a huge delay not to mention complication in getting their new application going.

I'm sure there are no shortage of good people out there who could work and would be willing to as long as they didn't face a suicidal cashflow issue if things didn't work out.

UC won't be perfect but it seems from what i've read a step in the right direction. I'm not wholly convinced that in practice it won't go tits up thanks to government track record's on large IT projets but that's another subject entirely.

Wallison Thu 29-Nov-12 12:39:46

Indeed - stop paying peanuts and stop it with the zero hours contracts. There is plenty of money to be made in care work - it's just that the people who actually do the work don't get to see it.

Back to UC, this:

^it could also affect employees who receive below the minimum wage, hitting the poorest workers the hardest (however no legal workers should be earning below minimum wage, so only illegal workers would be affected).

is what I was talking about. It doesn't only affect illegal workers but also part-time workers ie the underemployed ie the poorest section of the workforce.

Wallison Thu 29-Nov-12 12:40:56

I should imagine another issue for your OH is that people don't want to work zero hours contracts full stop because the people who use them are crap and exploitative.

I was discussing this with a friend yesterday. I think a hell of a lot of people are going to end up in serious trouble with their rent.

I currently get mine paid straight to the landlord and prefer it that way. However, I will pay it straight to the landlord when it is paid to me too, but I know people that just will not manage with this and will blow it all.

We also said, what about kids who's parents blow all of the money as soon as they get it ? What will they do for food for the rest of the month ??

Don't get me stared on zero hour contracts. Bloody useless to anyone except students.

Wallison Thu 29-Nov-12 12:49:34

Zero hours contracts should be made fucking illegal. If you have such poor management skills that you don't even know how many man-hours you need each week, you shouldn't be in business. And as for the point about weeding out weaker applicants, why not just have a proper interview process in the first place? Again, another sign of poor management skills.

Xenia Thu 29-Nov-12 12:52:51

In a sense all those of us who are self employed have zero hours contracts and we have to manage. UC will improve, not make worse, things for those trying to get back into full time work.

Children whose parents spend the week's wages at the pub once a week where the parents work full time have always been with it. Full time low paid workers already have to cope with budgeting. We are not asking the unemployed to do any more than full time working single parents already do do the only difference between the unemployed have about 10 - 12 hours a day more to sort it all out in whereas the working mothers particularly with 2 hour commutes have much less time.

Wallison Thu 29-Nov-12 12:55:42

^UC will improve, not make worse, things for those trying to get back into full time work.

By taking money off them? That's a new meaning to the word 'improve' for me?

And the self-employed will be hit as well, if they don't make minimum wage x 35 each week. So it's bye-bye to entreprenuership.

MiniTheMinx Thu 29-Nov-12 13:02:24

Yes only the already rich or women hooked up to indulgent middle earning hubbies can now be entrepreneurial. Makes a mockery out of freedom under freemarkets.

Xenia Thu 29-Nov-12 13:05:46

The plan is that the self employed have one year to get their business going before there are problems with UC I think. That was said in Parliament as far as I remember so it shoudl be better not worse to be self employed under UC. Anyway if they need th emoney they might work harder at their self employed work rather thanjust messing around and if we can make the benefits thing much harder for all then the masses of scroungers we all know that there are will just not bother to claim and live on the money they already earn on the side.

Wallison Thu 29-Nov-12 13:08:47

Yes, yes, there are 'masses of scroungers'. hmm

Xenia Thu 29-Nov-12 15:43:01

Even the left acknowledge there are. Loads of them claim to have non physical illnesses they don't have to claim higher benefits too. Anyway the difficulty is working out who could work and who is avoiding it and who is working and claiming when they ought not to. There is a veritable army of people out there who never do a day's work in their lives If we can make benefits so very unpleasant at least some of those might be forced back into doing an honest day's toil.

MiniTheMinx Thu 29-Nov-12 16:23:28

Where are these jobs going to come from Xenia?

edam Fri 30-Nov-12 18:57:57

There are masses of scroungers; they are called bankers. And more broadly the super-rich who don't bother paying tax like the little people. And multi-billion pound corporations ditto.

Amazon, for instance, who claim all their profits are made in Luxembourg on sales in England, yet don't allow their staff to apply the same flexible attitude to the rules. If someone working in a minimum wage job at Amazon is late three times, they can be sacked, without even being allowed to attend the meeting that decides their fate. One rule for the workers, another for the bosses...

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 12:56:46

There are hardly any high paid bankers in the UK. Most people who work for banks are not on very high sums. Very very few leading bankers work short hours. Most bankers are good. Most of the super rich pay much more tax than the poor.

Amazon is able to pay its staff because it runs the company well and we all benefit from that.

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 12:57:39

Boris J in India this week suggested we have a top rate of tax of 30% as they have in India (and they have there a 10% rate for freelancers). He seems the only politician with sense and a clear view of how to ensure business starts to do better in the UK which of course it the only thing that will really benefit the poor.

expatinscotland Sat 01-Dec-12 13:02:25

'One of the most common stumbling blocks to recruitment for my OH's company is that people cannot work on 0 hour contracts because they'd lose their benefits and if work dried up, they'd have a huge delay not to mention complication in getting their new application going.

I'm sure there are no shortage of good people out there who could work and would be willing to as long as they didn't face a suicidal cashflow issue if things didn't work out.'

0 hours contracts don't work even if you're not on benefits! How are you supposed to pay your rent and bills if you have no idea what your cashflow will be? How do you even get a flat with that? No landlord or agency is going to take a tenant like that.

0 hours contracts have nothing to do with benefits and everything to do with treating employees like shit. People work for money, not the potential of it.

expatinscotland Sat 01-Dec-12 13:15:28

'Oh and travel. People don't like traveling around believe it or not.'

From the threads on here from people working in this industry, people don't like to lose money in work for travelling on the job in their own vehicle with no compensation (especially because using your car for work means you have to pay higher insurance premiums). This industry commonly expects employees to use their own car to travel not insignificant distances to appointments with no compensation. So this drags their peanuts pay even lower.

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 13:28:09

The self employed though have to live like this. I am on zero hours contracts ni a sense. No one owes anyone a particular life or living. If the state has no money to pay the poor or voters choose not to pay the poor so much then that is how it is and then people vote with their feet and eg the Irish are back emigrating again. It is simply how things are. If we got the economy going and good workers couldn't be had for work nor money zero hours contracts woudl go as everyone would be snapping up every free worker there is. Sadly we are not in that position now.

MiniTheMinx Sat 01-Dec-12 16:30:18

Boris J in India this week suggested we have a top rate of tax of 30% as they have in India

Income inequality in India is far in excess of the problem here and in many other parts of the world. The poor live on less than $2 a day, have no access to health, education and welfare. The place is full of disease but has some of the best hospitals in world, hospitals that do not serve the needs of it's impoverished people. Xenia.......you want India?????? If you lack the money for the one way fare, I'll pay for you to go, I can even put you up for free. grin

World income inequalities over the past century? Studies using longer time series conclude that income inequality has been constantly increasing since the early 19th century. Milanovic (20090) ooh what happened here in the 19th century.....?<scratches chin>

"Global income inequality rose steadily from 1820 to 2002, with asignificant increase from 1980 onwards" who came to power in 1979?

Inequality increased globally between the early 1980s and 1990s thanks to Thatcher and Regan.

approximately 1.2 billion were living on less than $1.25 per day in 2007 (22 percent of the world population) and about 2.2 billion on less than $2 per day (or about 40 percent of the world population).The wealthiest 61 million individuals (or one percent of the global population) had the same amount of income as the poorest 3.5 billion (or 56 percent) as of 2007

China and India—the most populous countries in the world—stand as examples of high growth (average annual GDP per capita growth rates of 10.1 and 6.3 percent, respectively, between 1990 and 2008/9)and increasing income inequality

Which proves there is no link between fostering a good business environment, high profits and deregulated markets with the welbeing or wealth of a country and it's citizens.

The fact is, if you impoverish workers you will prevent growth, both India and China rely upon exports to increase GDP but their states collect little in tax and therefore provide little in the way of welfare.

A country that provides a good place for business isn't the same as a rich country, the two are actually under neo-liberalisation not the same.


I really do fear that people on the right are thick, thick thick. or wilfully blind because it suits them?

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 16:36:23

My taxes pay for a good few benefits claimants. If you drive people like me from the UK the poor who are left behind can smile because everyone earns £20k or less but the poor will starve.

Yes, I know that China Communist has 34- 1 income inquality and we only have 1 - 5 or something here and in the US. That is the amazing thing. Thus capitalism one can conclude is best and ensures best income inequalities do not exist.

I agree that the rural poor in China and India are not well provided for. However their economies are doing pretty well and it we do need more business and trade. If Boris J is out there banging the drum for teh UK (and Prince Andrew has done a very good similar job in the Middle East) that can help the British poor a lot more than other things. Meanwhile the new socialist Government in France is messing it up so much that the French are flocking to London.

edam Sat 01-Dec-12 16:46:06

Your taxes also cover the taxes of the rich buggers who use every trick in the book to avoid paying their fair share - individuals and corporations.

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 18:49:33

The rich pay much more tax than the poor. In fact 25% of us only are net payers and a whopping 75% of British people take out more than they put in (but clearly do not appreciate the 25% at all of course).

MiniTheMinx Sat 01-Dec-12 18:49:57

Inequality and taxation needs a global response, it won't get one because capitalism (or rather neo-liberal capitalism and globalisation) will not allow this. The reason is simple, globalisation and capitalism is about competition between individuals, between businesses and between states. Despite the rhetoric about shrinking the state, the state is very much alive and kicking in the form of the public private security nexus. Right wing states are very keen to spend on wars and national security.

Xenia, you have been keen in past to say you are in favour of libertarianism?

The problem with the system we have now is that huge levels of inequality lead to social unrest ultimately. New laws are being passed all the time that interfere with peoples liberty and freedom whilst banks & corporations are cut free from all regulation. In the states they have detention centres all over the place, hidden hoards of plastic coffins to cart off the dead, they spy on their citizens and they have the right to lock you up indefinately because of your political views. They could wipe out their population very easily with something as innocent seeming as a vaccine. Vaccination is mandatory in the states. Does that sound like a free country?

Xenia Sat 01-Dec-12 18:55:05

It is the interference in the free market which causes the problems not that banks have no regulation. We have very regulated banks. We don't even allow them to fail.

Competition is a good, both between people and more generally.

I don't sing the praises of the USA either although it is a lot better than plenty of other nations such as Russia, China and Saudi.

edam Sat 01-Dec-12 19:04:59

The rich have more money than the poor, so of course they pay more if you literally count the units. That's hardly surprising, I don't know why you think it's worth saying. But more as a share of income is another thing entirely. I believe the highest marginal rate of tax (or deduction, call it what you will) is paid by people coming off benefits and starting to work, or increasing their hours - for some people, I believe something like 90p out of every pound can be taken.

Over the past three or four decades the rich have been getting vastly richer, the middle staying about the same in terms of purchasing power and the poor getting even poorer. The 'boom' years were a boom for the rich, and in theory for those with houses. Sob stories from the rich about how deserving they are and how much they contribute are just rubbish.

The UK is incredibly generous to, for example, non-doms - it is considered a tax haven on some measures. Germany taxes people on their worldwide income, yet all the people who constantly tell us we can't tax the rich also hold up Germany as an economic model.

MiniTheMinx Sat 01-Dec-12 19:09:03

It really depends, what people want, freedom for or freedom from.

Put simply, do you want freedom to make a million dollars when you are educationally disadvantaged, unable to get investors to back you, don't have a great idea, live in a shack in the mid west, or a tent along the roadside, or do you want FREEDOM FROM hunger, poverty, the cold, disease......

Now, all of human existence has been about creating the conditions in which we are FREE FROM. All human need can be met using this as a starting point. I don't want freedom to watch 50 TV channels or buy 50 pairs of shoes, I'm neither dumb or a centipede.

Capitalism is great at creating the conditions which create the need, in the same way that capitalism can create a commodity to fulfil a need. What it isn't though is sustainable.

Xenia Sun 02-Dec-12 09:59:04

edam, it is worth saying because it is arguably unjust. If you had a capped flat tax and you kept every penny over a certain amount of tax paid that would be much fairer and encourage people to work harder and thus the poor would benefit.

I certainly suppose today's leak that pension tax relief may be limited as any movement to simple flat taxes without tax breaks and rebates and allowances is good news.

It does not matter if capitalism is not sustainable. The fact China and India will want what the US/UK have will simply reduce slightly the short tiny period of time mankind is on the planet. We are here for just a eye blink of time.

edam Sun 02-Dec-12 10:45:22

Flat taxes are clearly not fair because everyone would have to pay the same rate, whether they were a prince or a pauper.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:01:26

This wont work on top of claimants having to pay council tax and bedroom tax if they choose to stay in their homes. I not sure any of the reforms will work.93% of new claiments are in work. ATOS has already cost 25m in appeals for the first half of 2012. Figures show benefit fraud 1.2bn, unclaimed benefits 16bn, tax avoidance 100+bn.

Theres also the HB cap, so if you cant find a property in a high rent area from your UC you will need to cover the extra from the benefit to top it up.

All this is through lack of affordable housing. We had more social housing than any country but it got sold off on the RTB scheme which raised 18bn, non of which got put into new builds. This is the legacy, a 2bn HB bill. A 2 bed ex local authority in London was coming up as between 250pw and up to 400pw. A family of 4 gets 252 per week + HB and CT benefits.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 11:21:46

Fifi I agree entirely, I would add the chronic rush to the bottom in pay and working hours. We work longer than most European countries yet we remain one of the worse for personal debt, children's happiness, low wages etc.

Xenia Sun 02-Dec-12 11:23:27

Most middle class people cannot afford to liver in central London so I don't see why those hard working tax payers should pay taxes to support housing benefit claimants in expensive bits of London.

Tax avoidance is lawful. Every mumsnetter who claims her single person allowance and sticks money in an ISA tax avoids and good for them. So to assess the loss of tax avoidance is a bit pointless. If the state want to restrict tax relief on pensions as it is about to do then it changes the law to ensure the relief is restricted.

Flat taxes are the fairest of all. If say everyone pays 20% flat tax with a cap of say a maximum tax of £100k a year you still have some lazy so and so earning little and paying hardly any tax and still getting the same NHS benefits and roads as someone working 50 weeks a year as I do who might be paying loads of that capped flat tax - still unfair but better than now.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 11:48:13

93% of new housing benefit claimants are in work, if they move they will loose their jobs if they cant afford to pay the transport to get there or cant find a new job in the lower rent area. Some claimants have already been moved out and guess what the towns they have moved to don't want 'undesirables' there and are moaning about the lack of housing.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 11:50:44

Ok Xenia lets have a flat tax of 45%. I trust you will have no problem with that

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 11:52:07

Also as Fifi has said a large number of those on cb and hb will be working, so if they are not to be susidised by tax payers who will do their jobs?

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 12:00:05

That's the problem Leithlurker, the way they have done the reform is unfair as it covers such a wide variety of people. If your in work in a high rent area and claim HB to top up your rent your stuffed. Simple fact it the housing was sold and not replaced. RTB landlords have snapped up a lot of the local authority housing so you end up paying double what the council tenant next door pays. Great if your lucky enough to have a council house, not so great if your in a private

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 12:04:29

I agree fifi, the outrage about people living in overcrowded and bad housing will soon drown out all this crap we have about hb. Who will the cost fall on to fix these new slums, why the tax payer of course. Thanks maggie say the rich.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 16:13:19

I imagine it is rather left wing but the BBC radio special this week - The State of Welfare is probably worth listening to


Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 16:20:09

Lots of good points here. I would only add that isn't the £1.2bn figure fraud and error?

And the housing benefit bill is actually more than £20bn, every year. That's what it is costing us to house the poor including the working poor, because council houses have been sold off and the people who would previously have been in them are now renting privately - in some cases as Fifis said renting the exact same house that they could have got a proper secure council tenancy for, except that now they owe double what the rent would be, which they claim in HB which then goes to the landlord to pay for his investment. It's crackers.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 16:27:03

I think some figures i read this week said housing benefit is 20bn. The majority of the welfare bill is pensions followed by HB. The actual amount going to claimants is not that much of the whole welfare bill.

I read an interesting article regarding the under 25 welfare bill, i will see if i can dig it out. Off the top of my head HB going to the council was 730m and housing benefit going to private landlords was in the billions. The HB which goes to the council is sort of recycled once the costs are taken out for running the properties where as the majority of the money was going to private landlords and not back into the system.

MiniTheMinx Sun 02-Dec-12 16:27:25

Said like that Wallison it sounds like private land lords are stitching up the tax payer.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 16:28:12

Yes the 1.2bn will be error as well

MiniTheMinx Sun 02-Dec-12 16:34:02

Fifi, are social LL classed as private or the same as Council ? money that goes to social LL wouldn't be recycled would it?

I read somewhere that a freedom of information request has repeatedly been turned down, in relation to the accounts of the largest social housing LLs. It is proposed that social LL have huge black holes in their balance sheets. Many councils sold their housing stock at silly prices. In Mid Sussex they sold to (I think it was downland, could have been more than one) downland housing for less than £5,000 per house. Begs the question why are social LL in debt?

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 16:45:34

Im not sure where the money from social LL's go, you mean like housing associations. I would imagine it just goes into their accounts unlike the council. Yes there are houses next to me which went for 8,000. My mam bought hers in the 90's for 14,000 kept it the 3 years and sold it for 112,000. she then moved to a private estate. The house is in the next street to me. Someone bought it and it got repossessed. I seen one of the BTL LL's boards go up and had a dig about. It sold at auction for 72,000 and was up for rent for 600pcm. Mines the same house off the council and my rent's 360 pcm. There's loads of ex council houses on my estate bought up between 2 BTL LL's, they must wait for the auctions. Not sure where the 18bn from RTB went but it doesn't seem to have gone into replenishing the housing stock.

JakeBullet Sun 02-Dec-12 16:47:31

What if you were housed in a crappy part of London (or wherever) and built up family and support networks there? Then say that area suddenly becomes the new and trendy place to live so house prices rocket?

Just making the point here that many of those renting and claiming HB in expensive areas might not have said "ooh that's a trendy and expensive part of London; I'll live there and top up my rent with HB".

Chances are they have been there for years.

I am not in an expensive area but I am a Carer with a disabled child who has family support locally. If I was in an expensive area in the same circumstances I would be well hacked off with people looking down their noses and judging me for daring to live near my support network.

Just saying.

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 16:54:27

That's a good point, JakeBullet. Time was when nobody wanted to live in Soho or Notting Hill or any number of places where house prices are now sky-high. Why should someone who works nearby, whose kids go to school there, who has friends and neighbours around them, have to move just because people like Xenia think they're not worthy of their postcode?

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:00:25

The 2 cheap flats i was looking at were £250 pw in a council tower block. Do a property search for London, the rents are huge. Think i searched in google ex local authority flat london. They are not in nice areas they are like that all over. So a family of 4 gets £252 pw in benefits to live on, any property over £250pw will take you over the £500 cap. I don't think they will be able to move everyone in London out, it's not possible when you consider i found 2 flats on 2 searches for £250 pw. People are going to end up in massive arrears/homeless and private LL's wont touch HB claimants for this reason

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:04:58

Not to mention the people in the areas they are moving them out to, people have already been moved out as far as Manchester. It will create an affordable housing shortage in these areas. There was a man and his wife had a nervous breakdown. SS ended up at his door and he took the 4 kids back, they rehoused him to a bigger property as they said he would be overcrowded where he was He's now been moved miles away to a town outside of London away from his support network

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:17:19

The R4 programme which I have listened to part of, says Beveridge set up the welfare state on the basis you took out what you paid in but there was a very minimal safety net. Also at the time most men died at or before retirement and yet we have not adapted the system to take account of men living to 75.

They compare a hard working man who is out of work with 4 children now and gets about £1650 a month including housing benefit. He would have about half as much in 1942 but a lot of things people now think are essential were not in those days.

What is this "support network" which people seem to need. No one has given me a support network. Most of us work and keep ourselves. We dont' have acres of unemployed local relatives to cook our dinners or look after our children or hold us when we cry.

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 17:21:45

Xenia, somehow it doesn't surprise me that you don't have any friends, but for most of us these things are important.

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 17:24:59

He worked Xenia, he lost his job and his support network i.e friends and family and has 4 young girls to look after. If you cant see anything wrong with that then im speechless

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 17:42:31

So you had no help Xenia and that's all the justification you need for saying others should not Ooookkkkaaayyy.

However you make a bad fist of making a good point, and that is that the welfare system, and please not welfare is not benefits. It is housing, NHS, Education, and Housing. The pillars of security as he called them, has stayed in the same moral and attitudunal focus as when they were written in the 1940's. This is why disabled people are being assessed for work that they cannot do that they will never get even if the work was their. It is why we get the attitude often seen here that the poor should be grateful for their poverty and be accepting that everyone else should get to dictate what they buy, where they buy it from, and what kind of lifestyles they should lead. It also allows people to say things like drug addicts should not get benefit, housing, health care as they "do not deserve it" Drugs were an issue back in the 1940's but no where near as bad or endemic as they are now.

Housing was meant, in fact Beveridge specificly said that council housing should be for everyone, not just the poor, absolutely for the income tax inspectors, bank workers, and essential workers. Why, because it creates communities that everyone has a say in. In short the beloved market, capatalism, and most of all the unchanged moral views of the middle classes have been the main reason why welfare is now seen as the problem.

As w3as said earlier, pensions are the largest part of the welfare Bill, Beveridge had a solution for that too. He was much in favour of Eugenics. Perhaps he would have wanted to make sure people only got a little bit of time after their working life to enjoy retirement. Then again like the other pillars he might have been far more forward thinking and said right time for a rethink.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 18:08:49

The R4 programme is a good one. I'm still listening to it. The man with the 4 children who had many more than he could afford with the foreign wife who seems to think she is entitled to a lot more seems to have a better attitude than his wife. I do think if he cannot get a job then he should be minding the 4 children whilst she does. Most people are only out of work for up to a year so one hopes as he's keen he'll get something. He certainly did not sound like a scrounger but the basic benefits levels is much more than Beveridge expected.

I doubt Berveridge in 2012 would have suggested men of 65 with 20 years to live who are healthy should be killed off. I imagine he would suggest pension age be increased as it is being to 67.

I am not against a welfare state and indeed most people aren't although a lot of people think the incentive to work has been lost. I think it used to cost 4% our income and now it costs 14% the programmes said - that is presumably benefits and state pension. If Beveridge set it up so that most people middle class people would pay most of its costs and never benefit from it as they would not need it then perhaps we should be going to a system where you do not take out at all unless you fall on hard times for new entrants to the jobs market, not those who have worked for 50 years paying their stamp so they get their pension which would mean they had been misled for a lifetime.

MiniTheMinx Sun 02-Dec-12 18:09:36

Xenia, you are keen on eugenics aren't you?

Fifis25StottieCakes Sun 02-Dec-12 18:23:07

This government can tweek the benefits as much as they like, they will never balance unless they build more social housing or cap private rents. There's land now with planning permission for 14,000 new homes. There's also many empty properties which could be brought up to standard and be used as social housing. Its common sense really. They can move people and cap as much as they like, it's just going to cost them more. ATOS appeal's have already cost 25 million in 6mnths. Not sure how much they have saved.

IMO this is all a knock on effect of the failure to build more housing as planned with funds raised from RTB.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 19:24:00

Eugenics? No. I am sure I share most people's views on the subject. Obviously most people in the UK are in favour of aborting down's children and many would support techniques which means couples with a genetic problem can conceive only children who are healthy. This current generation is one of the first in history to be less healthy than its parents because of who much worse our diets and exercise amounts are than 50 years ago so I suppose we are making the species worse and worse at present.
In fact we all had fewer processed foods, a bit less food, intermittent fasting a lot of problems would go.

Wigeon Sun 02-Dec-12 19:58:12

People on this thread might be interested in the recent report by the Work and Pensions Select Committee on Universal Credit implementation. They took written and oral evidence from a wide range of organisations, and the report was written on the basis of this evidence. The report is rather long, but the summary isn't smile.

I have suggested twice to MNHQ that we invite someone (eg Citizens Advice) on a webchat about UC, but I didn't receive a reply to either email. Maybe if others thought this was a good idea they could also email?

Wallison Sun 02-Dec-12 21:56:51

By far the biggest expenditure on welfare is pensions. People are living longer. But simply raising the retirement age isn't the answer to this - there may be longevity, but that doesn't mean people are fit to work. Once people are in their late sixties/early seventies, they often have multiple health problems which means that they just aren't employable any more. That hasn't changed. The only thing that has changed is that, with lots of medication, they can stay alive longer. And thus cost more as they claim benefits for longer after they stop working. I don't really see that there is a solution to this 'problem.

Xenia2012 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:58:59

Beveridge's plan was you saved and then you drew the money as needed, but the state never set it aside as a separate pot, not even I think the second pension which many people contributed too - SERPs which is perhaps why you should never trust the state over anything. Left and right can probably both agree on that.

Actuaries can work out what an individual/the state will need to set aside for someone working to age 67 and then drawing a pension for 20 or 30 years and then the rate on contribution can be fixed on that basis.

Leithlurker Sun 02-Dec-12 22:06:01

Well thats all sorted then, leave it to the actuaries, except are they not the ones that got the whole mortgage thing wrong? Or what about those that do not pay in enough. Or what about those that take twenty odd years out to care for others. Or even those that leave school with little or no ability to do the three r's, and can only work on either cash in hand or on the black economy.

JakeBullet Mon 03-Dec-12 06:51:17

The thing is Xenia that you did not ever need a "support network", add in a disabled child or other relative and you might have done.

I find it hard to accept that we should dismiss "support networks" for those who need them, it makes society seem harsh and uncaring.

Disability will always be with us, we will always need people who care for relatives and for that to happen there has to be a support network that you seem to so easily dismiss. Add in that these Carers save the taxpayer a fortune by keeping relatives at home instead of in nursing homes etc and it must at the very least break even......despite the Carer perhaps living in an expensive part of London.

The R4 programme was a good listen and the needs of society have changed since Berveridge set up the Welfare State. As you rightly say Xenia, we are living longer. As a result our health costs and other costs increase. It is right that as a society we look at this issue.

MiniTheMinx Mon 03-Dec-12 09:16:10

Excellent point about areas of London now being gentrified at the exclusion of workers and people that have lived in those areas for generations. It is happening the world over including India where slums are cleared to make way for capital investment. The people cleared are not offered alternative space, accommodation or compensation.

Xenia, you seem to think that people should look after themselves, part of that is looking after our own families. For people to be able to support elderly relatives and family with disabilities, they need to live near to each other. If you combine working with caring, the need to be local to your support network becomes even more crucial.

Eugenics? well, I do remember the very first time I encountered Xenia in the politics section. I haven't forgotten that you believe the poor and those on benefits have a low IQ. Or the references to Darwin and survival of the fittest.

Interesting programme on R4 today about global inequality, on at 1.45, The Global Gap

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:56:43

I don't think we are really disagreeing. It is people concerned about these issues who debate them. A lot of people could not care less.

I think the local issue is a red herring. Most people in the country choose to stay near relatives and an upper cap on weekly benefits of £500 a week (£26,000 a year) when it comes in will not affect them. It is a pretty high upper cap.

Fifis25StottieCakes Mon 03-Dec-12 10:01:19

The cap will effect thousands of people in private housing in London and other high rent area's. High rent area does not mean nice area.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 10:04:48

There is a fund to cushion those affected. Many full time working single mothers have to move for work so I am sure hose who do not even have a job can cope with a move too as they live at the state's and tax payers' beneficence.

It is £500 (but reduces to £350 for adults without children) a week.

It does not apply if you get working tax credit or DLA or are over 64.

Fifis25StottieCakes Mon 03-Dec-12 10:10:48

Yes i read some of the council's are covering the cost of the cap and the bedroom tax. Not sure if other services will suffer due to the extra cost to the council.

JakeBullet Mon 03-Dec-12 11:18:31

I am so fortunate because when the chips were down (and really down) I was offered housing by a Housing Association, as such the changes are not going to affect me. This is what we need.....more housing available to those who need it.

MiniTheMinx Mon 03-Dec-12 11:34:10

Housing associations have earmarked extra funds to cover bad debt as they anticipate the number of people with extra bedrooms who will have a short fall in HB.

Xenia2012 Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:15

The bigger issue is the old though. I don't think we are doing enough about that. Even the new retirement age of 67 or whatever it will be and the new opted in (but you can opt out) second pension which is very gradually coming into force are not likely to make much difference.

PedroBenefitsMan Sun 09-Dec-12 21:12:21

UC will be administered by the DWP centrally. Unlike Local Authorities (LA) the DWP predict a considerably longer time delay in assessing a claim for UC. The DWP will expect LA's to deal with those customers who can not operate computer applications, but at the same time are pulling funding from LAs. The government are centralising a benefit to basically keep a tight rein on the welfare bill. As for tenants, it is clear with the delay in assessment they will fall behind with rent. Landlords will become agitated and ultimately there will be more homelessness. In turn this will impact on crime and the policing bill. I believe UC is one of the least thought out changes to the benefits system, and as the next few years go on, there will be civil disorder and a recession, beyond anything anyone could contemplate. Oh yes, I forgot to mention an IT system with complexity beyond the most difficult calculus you could imagine. Remember how the NHS central IT system went, oh yes. It didn't did it?

sashh Mon 10-Dec-12 04:44:46

I think what gets me is social housing is cheaper than market rent.

It bloody well isn't.

The odd council housing still around is, but HA and nw builds have to charge market rent.

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