Universal Credit – The Great Unravelling Begins

It now seems that the only person in the country who thinks Universal Credit is a good idea is hapless Iain Duncan Smith who dreamed up the hare-brained scheme.

Almost everyday a new organisation comes forward to criticise the plans which are desperately un-thought through and likely to lead to chaos.  Even the Labour Party have woken up to the oncoming shambles, whilst David Cameron tried, and failed, to remove IDS from his post in the hope of averting disaster.

Almost every aspect of the new benefits regime has come under attack, from what happens to free school meals to the wildly optimistic IT database.  Few have dared to speculate the consequences should these plans go ahead – or even more terrifying, what happens if they go wrong.

A major problem with the computer system, a hardly unusual occurrence, could see millions of people, many with children, left penniless overnight.  With food banks already struggling to cope with demand the UK could see food riots which dwarf the disturbances in August last year.  Decent people will not sit and watch their children go hungry whilst there is food on the supermarket shelves.

Of course this is a worst case scenario.  But it should be remembered that when Working Tax Credit was introduced hundreds of thousands of people were over paid and many are still paying back debts they never even wanted to this day.  Just like the planned Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit could originally be claimed online.  This was soon abandoned after phone lines were jammed with people trying to make sense of the cumbersome and bug-ridden website.

Working Tax Credit was a much less complex change to the benefits system, involving far fewer people, most of whom had some other income from employment.  Universal Credit will affect 8 million of the poorest households in the UK who will rely on payments being made correctly and on time to be able to feed their families.

But just as chilling as a major IT meltdown is what happens if Universal Credit goes right.  Even if by some divine miracle, the system works, it will mean untold devastation for millions.  Self-employed people and part time workers are to be continually harassed and threatened with brutal sanctions should they be deemed not trying hard enough to find ‘more or better paid work’.

Children could find themselves going home to empty houses or forced to wander the streets as parents are sent on workfare.  Employers will be reluctant to take on part time staff knowing that workers will be under constant pressure from the Government to find full time work elsewhere.

Hardship Payments, which will cover rent and the most meagre of survival expenses for those sanctioned, are to be converted into loans.  This could leave families owing the government thousands of pounds.  This will not just affect the so called feckless, half a million benefit sanctions were handed out last year as DWP staff were pressurised to strip support from as many people as possible.

Iain Duncan Smith expects at least 80% of people to claim online, with only scant support to be available for those unable to do so.  These face to face processing centres will be overwhelmed as the harsh reality, which is that most poor people don’t have a computer at home, becomes all too apparent.

Some people will no doubt drop out of the system completely, leaving them  forced to beg and steal to survive.  Others will find themselves revealing highly sensitive personal and financial information in internet cafes and libraries – a recipe for mass fraud as Barclays Bank explain:

“Avoid using online banking in cyber cafés and through unsecured WiFi networks where possible. Internet cafés are not always secure and sometimes these computers save passwords and other personal information automatically without your knowledge.”

The new benefit is to be paid monthly which will prove disastrous for many claimants.  Out of touch ministers claim this will help poor people to budget better – in truth no-one is better at budgeting than the very poorest who know just how hard it can be without regular sums of money coming in.  It will be the most vulnerable who will suffer, leaving people at the mercy of both legal and criminal loan sharks.

It won’t just be the very poorest who be affected when the new system is introduced.  Rents will go unpaid, whilst local authorities will be under unprecedented pressure to clean up the devastation caused in the lives of those who slip through the net.  With Council Tax Benefit to be all but scrapped, council’s will find themselves chasing people with nothing for tiny amounts of money – an expensive and futile practice likely to result in Council Tax rises for everyone in the long term.

Even the much lauded aims of Universal Credit are bogus.  For many it won’t make work pay as has been claimed and far from being a simplification of the benefits system it appears to be the most convoluted mess ever devised.  Benefits are not being streamlined they are simply being renamed or moved about.  So now the DWP will manage the Housing Element of Universal Credit instead of local councils, whilst the department will also take over administration of Tax Credits from HMRC.  There is scant evidence that any of these organisations are ready, or even particularly informed about the changes.

With a £2 billion a year price tag for the implementation of the new benefit system, Universal Credit won’t even save any money.  The entire shambles is being ram-raided into existence simply because no-one in this Government is brave enough to point out that Iain Duncan Smith isn’t actually very bright.

It may yet be that the delusions of one man, and the devastation they brought, will become the most enduring legacy of this toff Government.

Disability and universal credit (from Citizen’s Advice)

How Universal Credit Will Create A Latchkey Generation of Hungry Children

Universal Credit, Self Employment and the Minimum Wage

Universal Credit’s Attack on Householders (and who really benefits)

How Universal Credit Will Destroy Part Time Work

Universal Credit’s Attack On Volunteers

How Universal Credit Will Split Up Families

30 responses to “Universal Credit – The Great Unravelling Begins

  1. Iain Duncan Smith needs an emergency brain transplant. Why – even a person such as I am able to work out what will happen. God Help us!

  2. They’re like Word War One generals, sitting behind the lines in comfort while they send people to their doom with the same punitive, broken zombie economics. They don’t care because their actions have no consequences for them – if people riot they can just have them blasted with rubber bullets and tear gas, or even just let the cities burn like they did last year. They won’t lose their homes. They won’t get blasted to bits by gangsters or watch their kids go hungry or have to sell their bodies to survive.

    It’s like living in a country under occupation. How many people will die before they fix this?

  3. What ArbeitReichsMinister Schmidt wants to happen is not ‘Welfare Reform’ but the virtual cessation of a benefits system altogether. The shambles that will be U.C., (because you can bet your last benefit payment that this wholly un-mandated policy will be RAMMED through, like all the others) is EXACTLY what this bitter and twisted right-wing psychopath fully intends.
    He was to be removed from his post by the Prime ConDem Minister in the recent reshuffle, but he REFUSED to go.
    So,exactly who is in charge inside this shambolic excuse of a government?
    Looks like it really is IDS, the UKplc’s very own little dictator.
    We really are a ConDemNation.

  4. The meat robots and sheeple seem to like it though. Perhaps we’re more of a Zombie Nation than a ConDem Nation – to go with the zombie companies, zombie banks and zombie economics.


    Bunch of brainwashed morons. Fuck them all.

  5. Pingback: Universal Credit Welfare Reform Spells Disaster For Birmingham Residents | Birmingham Against The Cuts

  6. Fuck what the likes of The Torygraph say….they have a Tory agenda….obviously.
    The utter contempt for the poor is obvious as Herr Shit spews forth his bilious vomit of the floor The Parliamentary Slum as I type this. He does not give a flying fuck. He is determined to RAM through the dissipation of the benefits system and he welcomes the deaths of those who will be unable to cope.
    He has to be removed.

  7. of = on. Apologies. I am just so very depressed and fed up with this terrible nazi being allowed, encouraged , to run amok. A psychopath at the head of the most cruel of govt, departments.
    Sickening and frightening.

  8. I hate Tory tossers

    It would seem that the only option left to the people affected by this neo nazi murderous thug (IDS) is massive civil disobedience and all out riots. This is the only means of communication this Govt cannot ignore. Riots and Anarchy that makes those last year look like a kids tea party. These Riots should start in London of course, the epicentre of the social cleansing regime that is shortly to be underway. Remember the Poll Tax Riots of 20 years ago – well we need that repeating, with more violence and destruction, to make IDS see that the British people are not going to lie down and take his jackboot crushing their throats.
    If ever we need mass civil unrest – it is now, this is a democracy not a dictatorship, and the people need to eradicate IDS once and for all. One man – so much misery, suffering, suicides and hardship he creates – when will this stop? We need riots now.

  9. I see what you did there Telegraph

    They are getting desperate now.
    That survey the Telegraph reports on says,
    “The latest findings, based on interviews with 3,311 people selected at random “.
    What do the other 60 million+ people that live in the u.k that they didnt ask think about it ?
    Reminds me of those cosmetics adverts they show on t.v that say 95% of users agree how wonderful the item is only to see for a split second in the bottom of the screen in small print that the 95% was based on asking 75 people.
    Anyone can make up their own survey to get the results they want to suit their own agenda.

  10. ‘During a Commons debate last week, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “For what it is worth, I take absolute, direct and close interest in every single part of the IT development. I hold meetings every week and a full meeting every two weeks, and every weekend a full summary of the IT developments and everything to do with policy work is in my box and I am reading it.

    “I take full responsibility and I believe that we are taking the right approach.”‘


    Voiceprint identification confirmed. Autodestruct sequence engaged.

  11. ah i see we run by multi millionaires who daily abuse the sick and disabled while this idiot is wiating for his ship to sink but hasnt the brains to jump ship oh for goverment who look after us not rob us but today they friends with the bankers who hold out their hands for our money and still get big bonuses while we starve how lovely idsmith that you allow this to happen and you should be ashamed of your self and your party and hope whot life ive got left never to see torys back in office again jeff3

  12. WTF!

    Government eyes end to benefits and inflation link

    The government is considering ending the automatic annual increase in benefits in line with inflation, sources have told BBC Newsnight.

    If implemented, the move would see many benefits frozen for two years, then rising only in line with average pay.

    • This is the last fucking straw!

    • I hate Tory tossers

      Problem is – all the tory toffs are baying that they havent had a pay rise for 2 years, so its only right that we benefit scroungers who live the life of Riley on our princely sum of £70 a week dont get a rise either as we just have more money than we need to live a meagre existence. Its just not fair on all those who are only on 30K that we get so much more than them is it?
      Gideon has to be seen to be curbing back all our excesses. Guess I wont be able to afford that holiday to the Bahamas next year now, and the Staffordshire bull terriers will have to eat Asda Smartprice dog food, and I wont be able to afford as many pairs of Adidas trackies, the scrounging chav that I am.
      Being serious though, this is just another nail in the coffin for the poor. Why is the poor not rioting and up in arms about this, why are they not being organised for mass civil disobedience, these are the sites that the poor look at arent they? We need the Riots of the 80s and the early 90’s again. We showed Thatcher, now we must do it again to IDS, Gideon, Ca-moron, and the jackboot brigade intent on crushing us out of existence.

      • Well, that’s us down to 5 skiing holidays in Cloisters a years, and it looks like only 10 days in the Bahamas, a fortnight would have been jolly spiffing. Damn these Tory toffs, damn them to Hell!

  13. IDS is a bully. And if there’s one thing people can’t abide it’s a bully. And IDS will get his comuppance – sooner or later…

    • I fear you are wrong. People need to scapegoat someone who can’t fight back during hard times, in the ’90s it was single mums, in the noughties it was immigrants, now it is the turn of the poor and out of work. We are a cruel and vile nation – not to say that we shouldn’t fight tooth and nail – but we need to understand that these people are playing to deep seated urges in the general population, who lap this shit up.

      It’s like something out of the reptilian brain, that nasty punitive urge to do harm, displaced from the powerful onto a designated social victim- Injustice as populism. It’s a very old idea, and fighting it requires some deep thought. People don’t ally themselves with victims, they prefer to be on the winning side – and that is why they side with bullies. Absolutely deplorable but we have to find a way to turn this around and denial won’t help.

  14. We all need to understand the mood of the public, and it is increasingly against benefit claimants. Yesterday’s Social Attitudes Survey makes this clear – More than half (54%) now believe that more people would stand on their own feet if benefits were less generous – compared with just over a quarter (26%) in 1991. And this is despite the growth of campaigns and social media. Perhaps IDS is right?

    • I hate Tory tossers

      We can all have a survey and doctor the result to suit what we want. They probably went into the centre of Knightsbridge and did the survey there. Pure Tory propaganda that they want you to swallow. I dont pay much attention to biassed and untrue surveys like that.

    • I hate Tory tossers

      All these smarmy rich who think this way, wouldnt be so smug when the people who have their benefits cut come out and burgle their mansions. People always find a way to survive. Its human nature. If the state wont pay them to live, then the poor will just take what they want anyway, and to hell with who they hurt or affect to get what they need.
      If you remove benefits, you have cities like New York, where the poor have guns and knives, and woe betide the rich who fall prey to a beggar with a knife who needs some money for his dinner.
      Who will pay for all the US style prisons to be built to house all those who commit crime when their benefits are cut off. Prisons in this country are bursting already.
      The benefits system was devised by the rich to keep the poor from targeting them and stop cities becoming crime ridden hell holes.
      If the rich and the selfish middle class want benefits stopped then they will have to suffer the consequences. One way or the other, the poor will get what they want, legally or illegally.

    • It’s not the mood of the public though is it? It is the mood of press barons and spin-doctors. We are living in a frightning time, when public opinion can be bought and sold – in a sense, public opinion doesn’t exist anymore, it just reflects the thoughts of the arrogant, out of touch super-rich, who spam the airwaves and newspapers with lies about the unemployed and working poor living it up in “mansions in mayfair”.

      The fact is that people like Roger Jenkins here have been lied to. There are reasons they accept that lie, deep psychological reasons. When the big banks have beggared the country, it is easier for people to blame the victims than the perpetrators. There is a human instinct to create injustice in certain situations, and it is this punitive instinct that this propaganda about benefits plays upon. People want to bash the disabled, the poor and the out of work. For instance, “hate crimes” against the former have increased by 25% while other hate crimes have dropped. This is what we’ve got to sort out – again I reccomend getting our message out there on the streets with stickers, badges, leaflets, the full multimedia monty, not just the odd demonstration.

      NB I don’t accept the theory that the polls are lies. The government need accurate polling so they can guage the effectiveness of propaganda – without it they’d be completely sunk.

    • People are being indoctrinated – brainwashed. I try not to look at any advertising because it is so full of right wing crap…
      Where are all the mundane, repetitive 35 hour week minimum wage jobs then? Sorry – not enough to go round!
      Are people really no more than economic units? Are single parents, part time workers, volunteers etc then worthless.
      Sod Capitalism! It stinks!

  15. I hate Tory tossers

    Why cant we have a repeat of the Poll Tax Riots of 1990? The UC will affect a hell of a lot of people in a bad way – I think when more and more people realise that the UC and IDS is going to shaft them, and when they are going to have to start paying council tax next year, where they didnt before, where people are being evicted from their homes due to cuts in HB, where people are getting sanctioned from the UC for so much as farting, when prices keep rising but benefits dont, when hunger and desperstion set in…….
    Its not biting hard enough yet – but it will, and when it does to enough people I think Riots are inevitable. The perfect storm is brewing, its only a matter of time now. Its not a matter of IF, its When that storm breaks.

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  19. Riots wont be required just mark an x in the correct box in 2014 for YES to independence, in 2015 vote in the EU Referdum party that will force a EU referendum that’ll really screw the tories…

  20. “…the DWP will manage the Housing Element of Universal Credit instead of local councils…” so much for localisation. UC is nothing more than a way to force people into workfare, to cut benefits and to make those of us able to work fearful for our jobs, ready for the repeal of the Minimum Wage, stage one of this being the recent claim that it would be good for the disabled to be exempt from this protective legislation.

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