Employers failing to provide tax information on time or going out of business could lead to vital in-work benefits going unpaid Lord Fraud confirmed in a speech this week.
When Universal Credit is finally introduced (stop laughing) it will replace almost all current in-work benefits including Child and Working Tax Credits, along with Housing Benefits.
Unlike the current system, benefit rates will be calculated monthly based on tax information sent to the DWP by employers. This had led to concerns that if employers fail to send in PAYE information on time, or go out of business, then benefits will go unpaid or be paid at the wrong rate. Lord Fraud confirmed that this would be the case in his speech this week when he said:
“the new PAYE in real time system has been designed to support Universal Credit payments. 99% of employers are now reporting their PAYE in real time every month. Not only does it prevent fraud, it ensures that every person who is in work on Universal Credit has their award automatically adjusted every month, based on these returns. So it’s absolutely crucial that you as employers report this accurately, as this will affect the payments of claimants.”
So should you have a dispute with your employer, or get the sack, then your boss will have the power to fuck up your claim for benefits. For those with the most unscrupulous employers the implications are terrifying. Join a union, or complain about working conditions, and your employer will soon be able to stop your Housing Benefit and make you homeless.
Not to worry though because Lord Fraud suggested that under Universal Credit people could have multiple zero hours contracts instead of real jobs. According to the minister these kind of contracts: “support business flexibility, they provide entry to work for young people and give people the flexibility to combine work with other commitments”.
In-work conditionality rules under Universal Credit will mean part-time workers face Jobcentre harassment and benefit sanctions to force them to constantly look for a better paid job or more work elsewhere. They could even be sent on workfare in the hours they aren’t working. This would make accepting many zero hours contracts – which require staff to be available for work at any time and at short notice – impossible for claimants. Lord Fraud’s answer to this particular fuck up – which could see people sanctioned for failing to apply for a zero hours position, and then sanctioned again when they get the job and can no longer meet their claimant commitment – is that people can have more than one zero hours contract. Which of course doesn’t solve anything, but Lord Fraud is hoping no-one notices.
The real reason for Universal Credit, which is to create a flexible, casualised workforce, was at the heart of Lord Fraud’s speech this week. The new system will make it “easier to recruit – particularly when it comes to part time positions or for temporary work” and allow employers to find “more people willing to take on irregular work”.
Universal Credit is a blueprint for exploitation, forcing all low paid employees into a desperate competition for worst kind of insecure, casual work. Step out of line for a second, and you will be sanctioned and face absolute destitution. Despite the endless propaganda, this is not just an attack on those out of work, it is an attack on everyone’s pay and conditions. As Lord Fraud’s speech confirmed this week, this is welfare reform designed to help your boss, not you.
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