How Universal Credit Will Split Up Families

The draft regulations for Universal Credit, the Government’s new scheme to fuck up the Welfare State, have just been released (PDF).  They are so full of holes, omissions, contradictions and casual brutality, that it is difficult to know where to start.

What will be unsurprising to anyone who has been following Iain Duncan Smith’s and Lord Fraud’s bungling attempts at welfare reform is just how much these regulations will have the opposite impact to those intended.  As well as forcing hundreds of thousands of people into poverty, benefit sanctions, homelessness or workfare, it is quite likely that many of the measures will cost more money than is currently spent on the benefits system.

Government ministers often talk of the importance of families staying together to raise children.  Swivel eyed right wingers insist that families need fathers such is their fear of women’s independence.  Yet the new regulations seem almost designed to drive some of the poorest families apart as parents separate under the harsh new regime.

Benefits are to be capped at £500 a week for both single and dual parent families alike.  The Government has insisted that no family should receive more in benefits than if they were working.  What ministers have neglected to point out is that families in work on £500 a week are  also entitled to Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and if they are in a high rent area, Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit) .

Whilst £500 a week may sound a lot, when rents in London and other city centres are taken into account, this will leave tens, or possibly hundreds of thousands of families facing poverty or homelessness.

For an unemployed couple with no health problems and three children,they would need to find a property which costs around £175 a week (for a three bedroom flat/house) to maintain their current income levels.  A cursory search on the internet reveals no such properties exist in Greater London.  For those diminishing few who qualify for sickness benefits or carers allowance the situation will be even more acute.

Financial pressure and the threat of homelessness alone are enough to put on strain on many relationships.  However for some couples there may be one way to ease the grinding poverty.  Families facing homelessness due to being unable to meet rent payments will quickly realise that perhaps it would be better if just one parent leaves.  That parent can then apply for Local Housing Allowance independently whilst the families income will remain unaffected.

Instead of facing homelessness they will now have two homes, and two benefit claims, all at a far greater cost to the state.  Of course the emotional upheaval for families will be traumatic, especially for the children.  However if Dad (or Mum) does the decent thing and leaves home it is likely to be far less traumatic then the entire family facing homelessness and the children being uprooted from their school and community.

This will not be a solution for all families, some of whom will have rent liabilities which are still unaffordable.  But for tens of thousands of families, whether out of work due to unemployment, sickness, or disability, the sensible option will be to split.

The new sanctions regime will add further pressure to relationships.  Under the new rules it will be the household, not the individual who will face any sanctions to benefits.  In worst case scenarios sanctions will be applied for up to three years.  Should one parent evoke a sanctions then there will be an understandable pressure on them to leave, so the remaining parent can make a new claim and start to put food back on the table.

Of course Iain Duncan Smith will claim that one, or both of the parents should get a job.  The new requirement for work related activity (job seeking as it used to be called) is to be extended to single and dual parents alike, along with sick and disabled claimants.  This could swell the job market by up to 3 million people, who will join the almost 2 million who currently have to satisfy job seeking requirements to claim Job Seekers Allowance.

Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Fraud can play around with the benefits system as much as they like, but nothing they do will magic 5 million full time jobs out of thin air.

Possibly hundreds of thousands of families will be faced with the choice of splitting up or being plunged into homelessness or sub-standard temporary accommodation should they fail to find one of these non-existent jobs.  Couples won’t be splitting up to get rich or ‘milk’ the benefits system.  They will be doing it to survive.  Like the all good parents they will be acting in the best interests of their children.

This is only a taste of what’s in store under the misconceived new benefit regime.  The proposed regulations are shambolic and it gets worse so stay tuned.

The regulations will now be passed to the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) who have launched a public consultation.  The final regulations are set to go before Parliament in the Autumn.  If you have the time and inclination to send the Government comments on the proposals which they will ignore then you can find details on how at: http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/consult.shtml

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29 responses to “How Universal Credit Will Split Up Families

  1. They know there’s no jobs to be had. Their own spinning talking heads can only come up with 500.000 vacancies.

  2. Poverty, benefit sanctions, homelessness and workfare are all things that right-wingers love to see inflicted on those they despise (the unemployed, the working poor, the sick and disabled, the weak and vulnerable etc). The Tories will consider these consequences of their Universal Credit a positive outcome. It wouldn’t surprise me if Universal Credit isn’t being designed this way intentionally.

    To avoid looking like the evil heartless monsters that they are, they will just redefine how these things are measured like they are doing with child poverty. At the heart of the Tory psyche is deep intense sadism, they are sociopathic individuals. There’s nothing that a Tory enjoys more than hurting people who they have demonised and seeing them suffer.

    If families start splitting up to survive, Iain Demon Smith will probably introduce draconian new benefit sanctions which he will announce by saying: “families that have intentionally split up and women who have deliberately made themselves single mothers to scrounge more money from the hardworking taxpayer, will be subject to benefit sanctions”.

  3. Even most of the 500,000 vacancies are possibly filled in house most of the time and advertised just to comply with the law I have phoned about newly advertised jobs on job sites and the JC+ to be told already filled.
    What jobs there are are mainly part time and some state FROM 2 HRS per week, who is going to take a job that only has to give the employee 2 hours work to comply with the contract

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  5. I suggest everyone actually read the document, as JV has barley touched upon just how disgusting the proposals are at its heart… If you want to see what tyranny looks like and how it would truly manifest itself in the 21st century? Read it…. All those who are currently in Work, better read it too…. If you dont believe what you are reading, read it again…. This government are criminalizing welfare and if you think it does not effect you because you are already working… THINK AGAIN!!!

    This document in my opinion expresses what the government thinks of its population? Then this is not a government i want representing me… These people are out of control and out of touch… Nasty tinge of militarism, fascism and slavery all rolled into one very dangerous package…

    They are using staff to go face to face against total strangers who are put in control of your entire life? This is not welfare, this is ownership, feudalism and fascism. This does not constitute freedom and it will not lead to order…. The state are unleashing hell upon its citizens, this is not going to end well……

    I wish you all luck…. We are entering very dark times indeed… Inform all you can about these crazy, crazy polices, this government must be removed… Labour have also betrayed its supporters on so many levels its completely unforgivable….

    Good luck to you all…

    This is the end of the welfare state. This is privatization via the backdoor, and along the way they seek to criminalize, bully, and subjugate you on every level, this is one step away from labor camps and the end of freedom as we know it….

    • The next stage will be rounding up the dispossessed and throwing them into “labour camps” with on-site termination facilities.

      • via sealed trains to unseen parts of Poland, the extreme right of which country Cameron allied himself with when he eschewed the approaches of the ‘normal’ right wing grouping in the EU?

  6. Predictable that whatever this bunch of crooks say, the opposite will happen. Thanks for the excellent blogs.

  7. ‘If you have the time and inclination to send the Government comments on the proposals which they will ignore..’ indeed

  8. The ONLY word I would argue with in your article,Johnny,is the word ‘bungling’.
    They are not bungling…….they are the far-right in power,and they are killing people with their policies already.
    How many deaths will it take for something to be done,before it’s too late?

    • But the more they can “force” people into suicide, the less money they have to pay out. It’s “culling” in the most deviant way!! :(

      Just because they didn’t tie the knot in the rope/pull the trigger/administer the fatal overdose, it doesn’t mean that this Government won’t have a LOT of blood on their hands!!

    • Blood On Their Hands

      Agree, it is not “bungling” at – that’s what they want us to think, as well as acting as a cover for when they turn around and say “sorry” for their “mistakes”, is it a DELIBERATE policy to cull off what Aldoux Huxley would term the “useless eaters”. Nazism in all but name!

      • Whilst there are clear paralalls between the propaganda of the Nazi Party aimed at disabled or unemployed people and what we are seeing now, we should be careful in my opinion of falling too far into that trap.

        What we are seeing isn’t nazism, it’s capitalism stripped of any social-democratic compromises and without an organised labour force to challenge the worst excesses of the rich.

        This is what naked capitalism looks like, and its likely to get worse.

      • I agree with you Johnny, it isn’t Nazism per se, it is WORSE than Nazism. Hitler couldn’t hold a candle to these cunts who lord over us.

      • yeah, bring back Hitler, that’s what I say

        come on

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  11. Eric Greenwood

    I agree Johnny Void.. We can easily fall into the cranks route if we arent careful. I can see parallels and connections to the treatment of people, But to term it Nazi’s is wrong, There is a connection to the loss of human kindness, the demonising of groups but that has always happened, The fact that money is a key factor, employment is another.

    Unfortunately the labour party who were for the people, have forgotten who they are. They have become a pseudo tory. Too many people have a political bias and ideological bias, They dont think about the human effects anymore.. thats back to a parallel. People will claim Godwins law and think of us as nutters.. We need to fight, we need to organise.. we need to pass the word. We need to find people like JV to become a clearing house.

    • While agree with you Eric and JV in part, i think we also need to be careful about using political talk that tries to play down what is happening?… That is how we have arrived here in the first place. The arguments of Left vs Right are old, tired, diversionary and highly suspect in this day and age… Using such arguments just polarises the situation and helps keep people divided… I consider myself to have conservative principles, but i dont consider the current breed of legislation conservative at all… I see persecution, distrust, slavery, fraud, corruption, and the vulnerable being targeted in ways that are identical to how Hitler operated…This is text book stuff…

      The fact we dont have representatives who are NOT calling this stuff out for what it truly is are either deluding themselves or maybe in private agree with the legislation but dont have the guts to say so?

      Using careful media controlled speak, manipulative and contrived political language just fudges issues and should be resisted more than ever in my view..

      Millions were fooled by Hitler, if you look at what is going on around us, things are not making any sense? Money is being printed out of thin air and they DON’T even call it quantitative easing???????? Then what the hell is it? £140 billion from nowhere? If that’s the case, then what is the point of money? I dont think people understand what is being done in their names… These actions are telling us that money has absolutely no value or meaning whatsoever………… If they can magic up 140 billion from nowhere, then they can bloody well fund our hospitals properly, improve infrastructure, create jobs for everyone no matter what their class.. Majority will always want to pay their way given realistic opportunity and sensible legislation, this legislation is predatory, disgusting and counter productive…

      Something is very very very wrong… Its about time people with vested interests in our current political system and the media stop making excuses and call out this garbage for what it truly is…. The return of Hitler and his henchmen, only this time they dont target one specific racial group its now targeting everyone, just so they can say its fair.

      Stop this controlled left rubbish people are starting to see straight thru it.

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