Has Lord Fraud Bungled the Universal Credit Launch?

lord-fraud-freudEvidence is emerging that a vital component of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms -  intended to protect vulnerable tenants and social landlords alike – has been bungled by Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud.

The ‘financial products’ which Lord Fraud promised would support low income tenants with budgeting when the new payment structure is introduced don’t appear to actually exist.

To much fanfare Lord Fraud announced last September that private companies were being invited to create ‘financial products’ to help claimants manage their money under the new regime.  A tender was issued which astonishingly revealed that claimants were to be charged for this service and also seemed to include a possible entry point for High Street loan sharks to trap claimants in debt.

The successful bidders were supposed to be announced last December.  They weren’t and no explanation was ever given why.  The only clue as to what’s actually going on comes from allpay.net, a company eager to get their greedy hands on some tax payers cash via the welfare reforms.

According to them“allpay was one of a number of financial providers that attended the DWP’s procurement day and had been expecting the DWP tender in November. However, following a revised timetable for the procurement, allpay is not expecting to be updated on the DWP’s position until January. The department has also warned suppliers not to expect a tender in either January or February.”

Universal Credit is due to be begin in April, which means that the protection for so called vulnerable claimants that Lord Fraud has long promised, will not be ready for the launch.

This may come as a shock to Social Housing providers who have repeatedly warned that they anticipate losing millions due to the change in the way benefits are paid.  This will create a homelessness double whammy as more tenants are evicted for rent arrears, and social housing providers have less money to build new houses.

When Universal Credit begins in April this year, claimants will receive payments monthly as opposed to fortnightly or weekly as most do now.  Housing Benefit payments, which many claimants currently have paid direct to landlords, will in future be paid to tenants.

This has led to concerns from Social Housing providers that many tenants – already struggling under the tsunami of cuts – will find it difficult to balance budgets and are likely to slip into rent arrears.  A series of pilots of the new payments system has revealed these fears to be well founded, with rent arrears doubling in areas where the new system was trialled.

Up until recently Lord Fraud’s new ‘financial products’ were the answer to all these problems as he claimed:  “Accounts that provide people with extra budgeting services could help to ensure people’s essential bills are covered – helping them to build up their credit rating and break the cycle of financial exclusion.

“We are anticipating the call for new financial products may open up a new market place, where competition is strong.”

In a downbeat speech this week Lord Fraud did not even mention the bodged procurement, instead garbling:  “we recognise that there will always be some hard cases. Where this is the case vulnerable claimants could be made an exception to the payment rules for a period of time. Budgeting support will also be made available to support these individuals so that they can make a successful transition over time to the Universal Credit standard monthly payment.”

Not for the first time, it sounds like he’s making it up as he goes along and his ‘financial products’ seem long since forgotten.

Lord Fraud hasn’t been given much to do when it comes to the nitty gritty of welfare reform.  Iain Duncan Smith may be stupid, but he’s clever enough to know that all the old fraud is good for is standing round looking posh.

But these financial products were his chance to show that he isn’t just some comedy toff with a pervy grandad. And he fucked it up.  The truth is the Minister for Welfare Reform couldn’t run a bath without flooding out the building and getting his knob stuck in the plug hole.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

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40 responses to “Has Lord Fraud Bungled the Universal Credit Launch?

  1. Pingback: Has Lord Fraud Bungled the Universal Credit Launch? | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's | Scoop.it

  2. “But these financial products were his chance to show that he isn’t just some comedy toff…….”
    These financial products show he is exactly some comedy toff, how the hell do you think those who have had their benefits reduced, bedroom tax incorporated (even with limited discretionary help) or pips lost can afford to pay back debt?
    As I have stated before, only those with incomes above covering the basics, can afford the luxury of debt and it’s not financial advice we need but income sufficient enough for us to live on.
    Quantative easing and printing money, is, as been said, only pushing inflation up further, yet nobody is criticizing George Osborne’s policies which have seen rent rises above inflation, savings eroded, and wages stagnant or below living wage levels,but those in debt for their housing portfolio’s are as happy as Larry with high rents and low interest rates.
    On prime ministers questions today,( to which I sent an E mail which was not read out, probably because the speech relating to my question was at the end and e.mails directly followed this) David Cameron said they had to introduce bedroom tax because housing benefit is out of control or words to that effect. If it is out of control it is because of rent increases for those on benefits, those who are forced to downsize – if they can find a smaller dwelling – are pushed into properties that are smaller but more expensive than the oversized ones they left so how is that reducing the housing benefit bill. Less for us in the form of income and matchbox dwellings and more for them who own them and probably vote Tory.

    • Buy-To-Let Scumlord on Bof E Lifetime "tracker"

      :-)

    • Bedroom Tax just doesnt measure up…and how to get around it! Last week I put out a succession of posts on the bedroom tax, or if you want to give it its proper name the under-occupation charge. The first post asked two simple questions namely 1) Is the bedroom tax lawful? And 2) What is a bedroom? Subsequent posts added more to the lawfulness question, revealed that there is a private sector dimension to the bedroom tax, discussed how the bedroom tax will cost more than it claims to save; that the bedroom tax could act as a catalyst to widespread take-up of benefits known to be due but not claimed (and £15bn alone is not taken up in HB and WTC) and finally that social landlords efforts in (a) challenging the bedroom tax and (b) raising awareness of it to their tenants have been inept

      http://speye.wordpress.com/2013/01/

      • re my previous posting, bedroom tax does not measure up,

        none of the wording is mine it was copied & pasted from speye,wordpress

    • cheers, he’s been saying for ages that some people might be left out of direct payments at first, the ‘financial products’ which seem to have been abandoned were aimed at that group

      what he’s never said is how those people will be identified and who they will be

  3. “This may come as a shock to Social Housing providers who have repeatedly warned that they anticipate losing millions due to the change in the way benefits are paid. This will create a homelessness double whammy as more tenants are evicted for rent arrears, and social housing providers have less money to build new houses.”

    Maybe the end of Social Housing is the whole point of this bedroom tax? You know, letting the free market come to the most moral conclusion, all that spinny eyed idealogical stuff from the raving right.

    • Reply to Alec Middleton

      Yes, the aim is to destroy social housing – with the “bedroom tax” just one element of the attack.

      Here is an extract from a Guardian article dated May 2011:

      “Taken together with other measures to push up social housing rents to 80% of the market rate, while simultaneously trying to cut housing benefit, these plans are both contradictory and potentially disastrous. They represent the latest push in the long-held government ambition to destroy council housing and create a multi-tiered housing market dominated by private sector interests. The conditions are being created for US-style mass private landlordism, where institutional investors form real estate investment trusts (REITs) that own thousands of rented homes, often in poor condition and at exorbitant rents, feeding from a revolving door of housing need and insecurity. A new transient population could be created in our cities, formed of low-paid or unemployed people shifting from one area to another, with no stability for themselves or their children. The spectre of Cathy Come Home looms large”.

      Full article here:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/18/localism-bill-social-housing

      • Thanks. I’ve been puzzled by the purpose of the bedroom tax since it was proposed. I kind of knew it was to benefit the rentier class but couldn’t figure out how. I was trying to understand how it benefits the banks directly. It makes depressing sense now.
        They’ll keep going until the idea of commonwealth is wiped from our collective minds.

  4. When has there ever been a moral conclusion to privatization or letting the free market run free – show me the evidence. How do we have a free market when we are using quantative easing and printing more money?
    A free market is when you have real competition and choice.

  5. can anyone hear the video link to Ian Lavery? I can’t and I’m not deaf.

  6. Landless Peasant

    I would have thought that everyone will have to apply for a Budgeting Loan from the DWP to cover living costs for the first month until the Universal Credit payment arrives. Presumably this will then be deducted in installments from future payments. I’m certainly not going to borrow from any private credit company, even if they were prepared to lend to me, which I doubt as I am already credit blacklisted and have unpaid debts.

  7. I can now hear the video link but no reference to financial products or what they are. So are they loans or not jv????????????????

  8. How does debt help you budget – income helps you budget. Have you got shares in the financial products market, you seem to be promoting it as a good thing.

    • I’m not supporting debt or financial products, in fact I’ve repeatedly slagged them off. I’m just pointing out that what Lord Fraud promised to housing associations would be the solution to possible rent arrears now turns out not to exist. Is that okay?

  9. Why are people being left out of direct payments in the first place?

  10. I hear your reply jv but you were not referring to money allocated for discretionary payments to social housing providers in your above post, you were talking about loans to those left out of direct payments until they sort out who should or should not have these direct payments.
    Why don’t they know who should or should not have direct payments and why are they making a distinction in the first place, are we back to the deserving and not deserving poor?
    You could have got into debt with their financial services and found out you were not eligible, so no income and in debt.

    • “you were talking about loans to those left out of direct payments until they sort out who should or should not have these direct payments.”

      err, I really wasn’t.

  11. Landless Peasant

    Give Lord Fraud something useful to do, send him all your jobseeking evidence, seeing as the Universal Jobshat site doesn’t provide you with this option and the minions in the Jokecentre can’t be bothered to look:
    Forward all job application confirmation emails to:
    minister.welfarereform@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

  12. if you beleive fruaud then you round the twist the only hting torys or the firms who help out with benefits will charge there is no such thing with them a frre lunch ,not only that they say yo ucant manage our own monies some one tell them how can one pay out 80 pounds a wk when only 71 coming in they dont pay enough but hay we all social scroungers so go away thats ids message to us free market my arse i lived 60 yrs and not one of them could run a piss up in a brewary jeff3

  13. This may make him believe there are jobs worth applying for landless peasant.

    • Landless Peasant

      Yes, but when he sees evidence of the zillions of pointless applications that have been made on a regular basis by myself and 3 million other people he might start to get the point. I can apply for as many jobs as they like but I know damned well I’m not going to get any of them! Plus it will cause them an headache by permanently filling their inbox . Besides which, I’m sick to death of doing it just for the sake of it when no one in the DWP can even be bothered to look. If I am mandated to do this shite I bloody well expect them to spend their time checking it.

  14. Problem, not enough houses to go around.

    Answer, make it easier to evict the poor people.

    That’s all you need to know.

  15. So where do these evicted people go to other than the streets or extortionately priced private run hostels as described by ulysees.

  16. Pingback: Vultures Circle As Electronic Food Stamps Get Closer | the void

  17. jv read your reply to Samuel Miller and tell me what you were saying, because I must have misunderstood.

    • ok, I realise what the confusion is. the ‘financial products’ were not loans, although there seemed to be room in the tender for loan companies to get involved, which I warned about at the time: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/is-lord-fraud-laying-a-debt-trap-for-benefit-claimants/

      as well as these products, both IDS and Freud have always said some people would be left out of the direct payment system, but never who – the latest from Freud seems to suggest that tenants who fall into arrears may be moved out of direct payments – meaning they will wait until someone is already in trouble before switching to payments to landlords.

      this can only really work for social housing tenants, there doesn’t seem to be any provision at all for private tenants anymore

  18. Thanks for that clarification jv but wonga or any other debt providers would only increase the problems for those reliant on reduced benefits, was the message I was trying to get across. As for my own situation I am very good at money management, but have been classed as someone who is lacking in this area due to my benefits being sanctioned and the pretence that I owed rent when I didn’t, so will probably be denied the right to have my own rent money – although I could be wrong now that they can humiliate me when I fail to produce 25% bedroom tax out of thin air.

  19. Never mind folks, just seen on Channel 4, CallMeDave is swanning around in Algeria, plenty of dosh sloshing around obviously as we’re on verge of being involved in another pointless war against the CIA’s Al-Quida lackeys.

  20. The armed forces are chasing terrorists from one country to another and we are footing the bill, that’s if you believe after drone attacks any terrorists still exist.

  21. I would also like to add in answer to your statement that only social housing tenants can have their direct rent payments made and the reason for this.
    The reason for this is because the social housing sector once they have deemed you to be unfit to pay your own rent, will take responsibility for you and force you to downsize, as I have found on my housing application that I have made but refused to sign away my rights to some social worker to put bids in on my behalf, in order to force me to downsize or move into some warden controlled dwelling that houses disabled( classified unfairly)
    Those in the private sector do not have to undergo all of this because the private sector letting is different from that of the public sector in so much that it is not under local authority control, so if a landlord cannot get the rent or a tenant for a three bedroom house he can for his own purposes classify it as a two bedroom house so that he can let to tenants with bigger families but at reduced cost in order to let. Not all towns and cities are like London, some have an excess of private rented accommodation which they find hard to let, so better to have some tenant than no tenant.

  22. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

    If someone can publish the mp’s expenses which are paid for by taxpayers, and make it easily findable on the web, a few more people ‘may’ wake up.

    There’s no point using the media. As they missed the opportunity during the media dubbed ‘expenses scandal’.

    United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

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