Category Archives: Universal Credit

Universal Credit Will Be Worse Than Tax Credits Says Think Tank Run By Tory

uc-resolution-graph

How Universal Credit won’t make work pay for many (click to enlarge)

The DWP is attempting a defence of Universal Credit as criticism of the bungled reforms to the social security system grow ever louder.

The Resolution Foundation, a think-tank run by a former Tory minister, have slammed Universal Credit today warning that it will no longer make work pay for many claimants due to savage cuts.  According to a report published by the group the changes to the benefit’s system will “on balance be less generous than the tax credit system for working families”.   Those hardest hit are likely to be second earners and working lone parents.  These impacts will still be felt despite the rise in the minimum wage and cuts to income tax.  This will leave a suspicion that Universal Credit has become “a simple exercise in cost cutting” warns the organisation.

Making work pay was the official reason for Iain Duncan Smith’s sweeping changes to the social security system.  The original plans for the reform did indicate that many of those in work would receive a small rise in income – particularly those working a small number of hours per week. Then along came George Osborne who realised that widescale changes to social security were an opportunity to disguise the most savage cuts to the working poor’s benefits in decades.  And so the amount of money that people will receive when Universal Credit is finally introduced has been stealthily cut away to the point where it is now less generous than the current system.  As such the carrot – the term used by wankers who work in think tanks to mean any improvements in benefit levels – has disappeared.  Universal Credit now is just a big fucking stick designed to beat the poor into a lifetime of low paid endless toil.

The Resolution Foundation’s report acknowledges this saying ominously that  the success of Universal Credit now rests on the shoulders of ‘in-work conditionality’.  This is the elaborate system of benefit sanctions and Jobcentre harassment that is about to be inflicted on part time workers to force them to constantly seek to obtain more, or better paid work.  The implications are chilling.  It will no longer matter that you are working already.  It will not even matter if the job the Jobcentre wants you to take will make you worse off.  You will have no choice.  Do what your Work Coach tells you, or face benefit sanctions.  This system is already being piloted in some parts of the UK with devastating results.

Until now much of the DWP’s strategy has been based on the warped concept that unemployed people are responsible for unemployment.  And so they claim Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal welfare reforms worked, unemployment is currently relatively low. All those sanctions, the lives demolished, soaring homelessness, the deaths, have all been worth it.  This is ‘tough love’.  Sure some people die but for everyone else, well they get a job in Poudland on the minimum wage.

But even this horrifying mirage is untrue.  When the Tory government weren’t elected back in May 2010 the UK was emerging from a bleak recession and unemployment was high.  When growth returned, however slight, the jobs market picked up. It had nothing to do with Iain Duncan Smith’s endless crazy schemes, it’s just what hopefully happens after a recession.  If it hadn’t former millionaires would be stabbing each other over tins of tuna by now.

It’s there that the good news ends however.  Much of the rise in employment has been due to part time or temporary work and an increase in self-employment.  The number of working households claiming Housing Benefits because of low pay has doubled to over a million in the last six years.  That’s why the government are turning their attention to working benefit claimants.  So now it is not just that unemployed people are responsible for unemployment, but those who are low paid are also to blame for getting shit wages.

The Resolution Foundation say that simply harassing part time workers to get a second job will not be enough to ensure the success of Universal Credit as even the recently increased minimum wage will not provide a genuine living wage for most.  Instead they are calling for measures to be introduced to ‘help’ people earn more, although they suggest these should be outside of a conditionality regime.  The report notes that in some sectors, such as care or retail, almost half the workforce are paid at the level of the new minimum wage. Even if these people are working full time they will still need benefits to survive and so they must be encouraged to earn more says the report.

It is here that this think-tank stops thinking.  Just like the DWP they seem to believe that all of these low paying jobs would magically disappear if people stopped being so unaspirational.  That we could all have fantastic full time jobs with generous salaries and free fucking vol-au-vents everyday like think-tank workers do.  It is a middle class fantasy that assumes capitalism would be so nice for everyone if only the poor would just stop being so poor. Everyone can do a non-job and sit at a desk all day for thirty grand a year if they try hard enough.  The bins will empty themselves after all.

It does not take much to find the truth behind this happy clappy facade.  Whilst the DWP gushingly announce to claimants that Universal Credit will help them earn more money they are telling bosses that the new system will allow them to fill ‘any job’ and help manage the ‘peaks and troughs’ of their business.  That it will help employers “identify opportunities for flexible working” and increase competition for vacancies.  That does not sound like a reform intended to help workers raise their wages or increase job security.  The Resolution Foundation are wrong, and they know it.  They are simply too committed themselves to half-baked ideology that blames the poor for their plight to call for the obvious solution to the problems they raise in their report.

Universal Credit should be scrapped, tomorrow.  It has barely even been implemented anyway.  There is no computer system currently capable of handling the scale and variety of claims it will need to process, just a trial going on in a couple of Jobcentres.  Only the simplest claims, single newly unemployed people without kids, are currently being asked to claim Univeral Credit in most parts of the country and these are being administered in almost the exact same way as current unemployment benefits.  As one DWP insider put it, “it’s still exactly the same just under a different name.“

Iain Duncan Smith has gone and good fucking riddance.  Now is the perfect time to end this shambles.  Don’t hold your breath though, new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb is a dick.  Worse, he’s an ambitious dick without the brains to back it up.  The financial security of millions of people now lies in the hands of some God-bothering chipmonk who once saw an episode of The Office and decided that David Brent would make a good role model.  We’re fucked.  Nothing left to lose and might as well have a revolution fucked.  Start buying tins of tuna.  And pitchforks.

Still for now at least we can trash the DWP’s facebook campaign singing the praises of Universal Credit.

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Astonishing: Working Benefit Claimants To Face Financial Penalties If Their Boss Files Tax Information Late

Real-time-information-boss

OOB refers to the requirement that payroll data is submitted On Or Before the date employees get paid.

Chaos is on the way for the lowest paid workers as new rules come into force which link payment of vital in-work benefits to employer’s compliance with providing tax information on time.

From this month almost all employers will finally be expected to provide payroll data to HMRC every month as part of the Real Time Information (RTI) system. This change has already been introduced for larger employers but businesses with nine or less employees had been given a 12 month ‘easement period’. That ran out on April 6th this year.

For those on low incomes this payroll data will be used to calculate their entitlement to Universal Credit.  If this information is not filed on time then bosses are warned by the DWP that their workers may: “receive too much or too little Universal Credit”.  This means those with irregular hours and earning patterns, such as people on zero hour contracts, could be left up to several hundred pounds short at the end of the month. For workers dependent on benefits to meet rent payments this could prove devastating. Try explaining to your landlord that you can’t pay the rent because your boss didn’t file their tax return on time this month.  Of course some claimants could also end up receiving too much Universal Credit and not know why – or even that they have – calculations are already breath-takingly complicated.  This will lead to involuntary debt and unforeseen repayment demands in the future.

Perhaps the most chilling problem is that many bosses just don’t care about their employee’s in work benefits. Research published by HMRC late last year found a small number of ‘micro’ businesses had no intention of changing their payroll systems to meet the new requirements – as the quote above this post demonstrates. Many more employers were still confused about the changes, or were not even aware that Real Time Information was being introduced. Others said they could’t afford updated IT equipment to run the software required to manage this reporting system. Some claimed that only one person does the payroll returns and if they are off sick then it doesn’t get done.

When it was pointed to these non-compliant businesses that late reporting would affect the payment of in-work benefits to staff the employers fell into two groups according to the researchers. There were those who said they would strive to comply with the new system so as to not affect their employee’s income. And there were those that were ‘unconcerned’.

In a meagre effort to make them more concerned HMRC have introduced a penalty system for employer’s who don’t provide payroll information on time. It is, as you might expect, a bit of a joke. Employers will not be fined if it’s the first time they’ve filed late that year. Even then they will be able to appeal due to ill health or IT difficulties. And the fine is just £100 for the smallest employers and a trivial £400 for those with over 250 employees. This is likely to be considerably less than the financial penalty that workers could face for their employer’s negligence.

Despite several HMRC reports into the introduction of Real Time Information there appears to be little information being published on how many businesses are compliant with the scheme all of the time. If only a tiny percentage of employer’s file information late – because they are careering out of business anyway for example – then this could impact on the impact of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people. Errors in the system alone are likely to lead to significant suffering and confusion. For anyone who’s ever had a real job or had to deal with inept Jobcentre busy-bodies the end result is easy to imagine. When payments aren’t correct the DWP will blame your boss and your boss will blame the DWP. The worst kind of employers may just sack workers who get too uppity about PAYE information being filed late. And then possibly lie to the Jobcentre about why they left and cause them to lose eligibility to benefits completely. It is an astonishing amount of power for an employer to hold over their workers.

In the mind of bungling toff Lord Fraud, the unelected Minister for Welfare Reform who helped design this new system, bosses are all wonderful people who would never abuse their staff and always pay their taxes on time. Recent revelations about the UK’s own Prime Minister shows what bollocks that is. But so entrenched is the capitalist class’s delusion of their own fucking wonderfulness that they are now designing administrative systems that depend on this honourable behaviour amongst the rich.

You don’t get rich by behaving honourably though. You get rich by using every tool you can find to dominate and exploit those surrounding you. And as more people are slowly transferred onto Universal Credit then they will be more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by their employers than working class people have been in generations. Behind all the lies about making work pay and incentivising hard work, that is the real reason for the Tory government’s welfare reforms.

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Over Half Of All Businesses Launched On Government Enterprise Scheme Would Be Shut Down Under Universal Credit

Precariously self-employed?  The Minister of Death is coming for you.

Precariously self-employed? The Minister of Death is coming for you.

Over half of all small businesses launched under the DWP’s flagship New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme will be ruthlessly closed down when draconian new benefit conditions for self-employed people are introduced as part of Universal Credit.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) is the Jobcentre scheme under which claimants receive a small allowance for starting a small business for the first six months as long as they agree to occassional harassment from some dickhead advisor from the local welfare-to-work company.  It has been a huge success according to a gushing press release published by Minister of Death Priti Patel today, who claims that 80% of those who started out as self-employed on the NEA are still trading, with nine in ten of them having been in business for over 12 months.

Patel was responding to a survey carried out amongst NEA participants examining the success of the scheme.  A total of 1,500 of those who had taken part were questioned and the vast majority had been sucessfully self-employed for over one year.  The so-called support offered by NEAs was not so popular however.  Of those still trading at the time of the survey 70% had not accessed any help from their provider after the initial launch of their business.  They appreciated the money though, despite it being the miserly amount of £65 a week for the first three months on the scheme and then falling to just £33 for the remaining period.  This is because skint people need money, not lectures from some DWP busy-body whose entrepreneurial flare is so astounding that they ended up working in the fucking Jobcentre.

According to the survey the majority of these businesses were sole traders, with some of the most common sectors including cleaning, health and beauty, IT repairs or gardening.  In other words these are largely precariously self-employed workers, struggling to get by from week to week.  And this is reflected in the amount of money they are making.  Over half of small businesses (58%) questioned at the time of the survey had a monthly turnover of less than £1000, and for 37% it was under £500.  Almost of all these businesses will be forced to close when Universal Credit is fully introduced.

Savage new rules for in-work benefits are soon to mean that after one year self-employed people will be expected to be earning the equivalent of the national minimum wage for 35 hours a week if they have no young children or health condition.  That means profit, not turnover, of at least £985 per calender month at the current minimum wage rate – and as that rises this will become ever more difficult for self-employed people to achieve.  Those who do not meet this threshold will not be classed as ‘gainfully self-employed’ by the Jobcentre and so will be forced to claim mainstream unemployment benefits*.  They will then be expected to carry out ‘work related activity’, which means looking for a job, for up to 35 hours a week.  Self-employed activity may not be counted towards this and they could be stopped from doing it at all and forced to attend full-time unpaid workfare instead.  From budding entrepreneurs starting out as their own boss  to benefit scroungers at the stroke of DWP Minister’s pen.

For those with monthly profit at or close to the threshold and passing the test for ‘gainful self-employment’ then the situation will be little better.  These claimants will then be assumed to be earning the minimum wage rate for full time work when their in-work benefits are calculated.  This will include benefits intended to cover housing costs as well as the replacements for both Child and Working Tax Credits.  So should someone self-employed go through a lean patch for a couple of months they will not only suffer through lack of earnings but their Universal Credit will not reflect that loss of income.  The only solution will be to go back on the dole in an effort to restore housing benefits, and that’s assuming the Jobcentre lets them and doesn’t suspend their claim for giving up gainful self-employment.  This is what Minister of Death Priti Patel secretly has in store for all those small businesses she is cheering on today.  Financial destitution and bureacratic chaos.  And once they on their knees, sanction their benefits for not trying hard enough.  Build’ em up and knock ’em right back down.  She hasn’t had so much fun since she was working in PR for the tobacco industry encouraging poor people to take up smoking.

*Such is the shambles in the delayed roll out of Universal Credit that there is a crass attempt being made to bolt this kind of conditionality onto the current Tax Credit system.  As reported in the trade journal Nursery World (h/t @stukisu) many child miners are being inundated with demands from HMRC to prove that their small businesses are genuine and that they are striving their hardest to make a profit.  Perhaps most appallingly, as this is being done before Universal Credit has been implemented, they are threatened not just with loss of their current in-work benefits but a demand for a repayment of all benefits to date – potentially plunging some into thousands of pounds worth of debt.  That’s child minders, working all the hours God sends for shit money, being persecuted and driven into unescapable debt for not making quite enough profit or being able to produce detailed business plans and advertising strategies on demand to government bureacrats.

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Sliding Towards Disaster, How Universal Credit Is Already A Failure

universal-credit-shamblesTwo reports have been released by the DWP this week which show that Universal Credit is fast becoming the toxic mix of poverty, insecure work and demoralising Jobcentre harassment that many feared when plans for an overhaul of the benefit’s system were first proposed.

At first glance one of the evaluations, which examines how many people have found a job after a period on Universal Credit (UC), appears to show a rosy future. Claimants on UC were 8% more likely to have had some work nine months after making their claim than those on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), the benefit which it is due to replace. However this does not tell the entire story.   Whilst UC claimants were more likely to have had a period of temporary work during the evaluation period, they were only 3% more likely to actually be in work at the nine month point. Also, and significantly, whatever work it was that they were doing, it didn’t earn them much. UC claimants earned around £80 more in the nine month period than those who made a JSA claim at the same time – less than two days wages on the minimum wage, despite on average working for 12 days more. Whilst the researchers warn, not unfairly, that the data on days worked and earnings is not as robust as that on job entry rates, if this result was replicated on a national scale then Universal Credit would be a disaster.

There is no real saving to the tax payer in people earning an extra eighty quid over nine months – especially if they are only marginally less likely to be unemployed at the end of it than those on the current system. Astonishingly the government’s long term spending plans are based on Iain Duncan Smith’s magical belief that changing the name of the dole and slightly upping the amount of Jobcentre harassment will cure structural unemployment for hundreds of thousands of people. As such lots of money will be saved, particularly in Housing Benefit payments. These results show that is not likely to be the case.

And it gets worse. The people studied in the evaluations were all single claimants with no housing costs, meaning they were probably living with family or friends. Most of them would be newly unemployed and therefore the most likely to move into work. In theory at least, it is far easier to take on (and declare) a couple of days work under UC than it is on the current system where working for short periods is likely to plunge your claim into chaos. The researchers themselves admit “some of the increase in the likelihood of becoming employed is due to UC leading to an increase in short-term work.”  What this means in practice is teachers and nurses stacking shelves in Poundland just to get the Jobcentre off their backs whilst the long term unemployed stay out of work.

This report by the way was the good news for Iain Duncan Smith. The second evaluation, which included looking at the impact of Universal Credit on those with housing costs, provides a chilling glimpse into the future of the UK’s social security system.

This study compared questionnaire responses from Universal Credit claimants with those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. Participants were questioned twice, at five and a half weeks after first making their claim and then, for those that agreed to be contacted again, three months later. The results of the first wave of responses have previously been published and this report confirms the trends of the first.  Once again most people thought much of the ‘work related activity’ they were required to carry out as part of a UC claim was a waste of time, probably not achievable and did not take into account their personal circumstances. Despite this almost all were aware they could be sanctioned if they did not jump through the endless petty requirements to provide evidence they had been looking for work for 35 hours a week. Some even suggested this was detrimental to their job search: “What’s more important writing notes [for the Jobcentre] or preparing for an interview?.”

Whilst this evaluation was mainly concerned with the experiences of those claiming UC it also recorded how many people had successfully gained work, although it points out this is a ‘descriptive overview of working status’ rather than a measure of the impact of Universal Credit. But then they would say that wouldn’t they. Especially when the evaluation found that not only were employment rates almost exactly the same for UC and JSA claimants (at 41% and 40%), but that those on the current system were significantly more likely to be working full time than those on Universal Credit. 55% people in employment after claiming JSA were working over 35 hours a week by the time of the second questionnaire compared to 48% of UC claimants. So when those in rented housing are taken into account then Universal Credit is worse at helping people find full time work than the current system.

It still gets worse. Whilst the chances of finding a decent job on Universal Credit are dismal then the experiences of many who have claimed range from tragic to laughable.

The implementation of 35 hours a week enforced job search as part of the Claimant Commitment which underpins Universal Credit is revealed to be a farce by the evaluation. Claimants did report spending more time on job search than those on JSA, but they actually applied for slightly less jobs on average. It appears that if you fill in job applications really, really slowly then that will help maintain your benefit conditionality. For the technologically skilled this requirement is bizarre – one survey respondent pointed out that by setting up job alerts and using online applications they could apply for 50 jobs in a couple of hours so the requirement to spend 35 hours job searching was fruitless. Others claimed a lack of local jobs in the area made this demand impossible “there’s only so many people you can go and see in a week, and then the next week you’re struggling… you are going to run out of places to go and people to ring”.  Some pointed out they did not have the money to constantly visit employers to hand in CVs or use internet cafes as they were required to do to avoid a benefit sanction.

All that this unachievable and draconian conditionality is likely to do is shatter people’s confidence and sadly even this was borne out by the research. After around five months claiming benefits, 28% of Universal Credit claimants did not believe they were likely to get a job within the next three months compared to 19% of of those receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It is not just people’s confidence that is demolished by Universal Credit, but also their finances. The five week waiting period for the benefit led to almost half of UC claimants with housing costs falling into rent arrears by the time the first survey was carried out. Some had even been taken to court by their landlords and were likely to be staring eviction in the face. As survey respondents pointed out, the loss of a job is a big enough financial hit to take without having to wait over a month for housing benefits to be processed. Even three months later some had still not caught up with rent – UC claimants were five percentage points more likely to be in rent arrears than those on JSA by the time of the second survey. The so-called budgeting support available for claimants appears to have been met with a scathing response with one person pointing out they were quite capable of working out themselves what their monthly income and outgoings were. Whilst UC claimants were slightly more likely to ask for help with budgeting than those on JSA, the general attitude seems to have been they didn’t need better budgeting skills, they needed more money – or just some money for those waiting for their claim to be processed.

Even claiming the new ‘digital by default’ benefit seems to have been shambolic. 63% of those with housing costs who tried to claim UC online experienced at least one difficulty with over a fifth of those saying the website crashed.

To read the gushing press release that accompanied these reports you would think that Universal Credit was already a huge success. But the truth is very different. About the only real positive findings for the DWP was that almost everyone claiming Universal Credit was well aware they needed to waste hours of their time providing reams of evidence of job search to Jobcentres or they would be sanctioned. This isn’t helping anyone find long term sustainable work though.  For those with no housing costs and a high chance of finding work – young graduates living with parents for example – then perhaps it pushes them into low paid temporary work a little bit faster than the current system, although even the impact of this is largely diminished in the long term. For everyone else it is a disaster. Rent arrears, debt, and unemployed people’s confidence destroyed by constant Jobcentre harassment is the real consequence of government’s flagship welfare reform. And it will carry on getting worse when sick and disabled people or lone parents are pushed into an already failing bureaucratic nightmare.

Iain Duncan Smith has called the results of these evaluations ‘remarkable’. Billions more pounds is now set to be spent propping up this delusion as Universal Credit is extended to the 99% of out of work claimants who have yet to be transferred onto the new system. It has taken over five years to produce this mess. About the only remarkable thing about this shambles is that Iain Duncan Smith still has a job. Which is more than you can say for over half of those claiming Universal Credit.

The first evaluation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-estimating-the-early-labour-market-impacts-updated-analysis

The second can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-research-with-single-claimants-including-those-with-housing-costs

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How George Osborne’s Minimum Wage Rise Will Mean Brutal Benefit Cuts For The Self-Employed

gideon-osbornePlans to raise the minimum wage will mean a brutal benefit cut for the lowest earning self-employed workers due to complex changes to in-work benefits.

When Universal Credit is fully introduced (stop laughing) then anybody who is self-employed will be subject to the ‘Minimum Income Floor’.  What this means is that when calculating in-work benefits, such as Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, the DWP will assume a level of income regardless of how much the self-employed worker is actually earning.  For most people this means that the rate of benefits they receive will be based on them earning the equivalent of the minimum wage for 35 hours a week.  This will apply even if they earnt nothing at all that month, potentially plunging people hundreds of pounds into rent arrears just because they’ve had a bit of a slow period.

So, as George Osborne is well aware, any rise in the Minimum Wage will prove devastating for the self-employed if they are not able to constantly improve their earnings to keep up.  Instead of it being an employer’s duty to pay the Minimum Wage, for the self-employed at least, it will be the worker’s duty to earn it.  Failure to do so will mean an effective cut to vital housing benefits as well as the replacement for Tax Cedits.

For five years the Tories have been happily encouraging low paid, precarious self-employment, not least because it helps bring the unemployment figures down.  Companies running the Work Programme have been handed pay-outs worth thousands of pounds in some cases everytime they encourage someone on the dole to become self-employed.  And now, having used a bogus fall in unemployment to help them win an election, the Tory Party are setting out to destroy this socially engineered entrepreneurship.

The median self-employed income in 2012/13 was £207 a week.  When the Minimum Wage rises to £7.20 these people will be assumed to be earning £252 a week for benefit purposes, leaving a huge shortfall unless they can increase those earnings.  Every time the Minimum Wage goes up again, they will be forced to try and keep up or face being unable to pay their rent.  For most, going onto unemployment benefits will be preferable to this kind of imsecurity.

Only the Tory Party could have produced a draconian system that means a rise in the Minimum Wage will prove devastating for the lowest earning workers.  They may talk the language of aspiration, but what they do shows a very different intention.  Rules are planned which will force social housing tenants to pay eye-watering rents if their earning rise above a certain amount.  Further Benefit Caps are on the way to force the poor out of big cities where the best jobs are.  Huge student fees and the abolishing of the Educational Maintenance Allowance have devastated the opportunities of the poorest youth.  And now they are coming for the self-employed, who are struggling to stay afloat, let alone prosper in an ever-more insecure jobs market.

George Osborne wants to put the working class back in their place, just like his idol Margaret Thatcher.  Unless you come from the gilded elite then don’t think about ever owning a house, getting an education, or setting up a small business.  Don’t get on your bike and look for work alongside the newly graduated rich kids in cities like London or Edinburgh.  Stay in your box.  Don’t complain.  Doff your fucking cap.  Stay poor. That is the real goal of Tory Party policy.

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Threatened With A Benefit Sanction For Going To Hospital? Now It’s Government Policy

sanction-hospitalStaff working for welfare to work companies are being advised to threaten benefit claimants with a sanction if they are unable to attend work related activity due to an emergency hospital appointment.

The above paragraph comes from the guidance handed out by the Department of Work and Pensions to the companies running the Work Programme* instructing them when to refer claimants for a benefit sanction.  According to the department, it may be possible for a claimant to re-arrange mandated activity without facing a sanction, however it warns: “not taking compliance doubt action and allowing a participant to arrange an alternative appointment on a number of occasions weakens the link between cause and consequence.” 

It then goes on to say that even if the claimant has an emergency hospital appointment, staff should process a sanction if they have ‘any doubt’.  Whether this means doubt over whether the appointment is genuine, or doubt over whether somebody arranged a medical emergency to get out of workfare is unclear.

According to te DWP sanctions should only be handed out if a claimant has previously given the same, or similar reasons for re-arranging mandated activity.  But chillingly, these rules are not just aimed at people who are unemployed, but also sick and disabled claimants in the Work Related Activity Group – exactly the type of people who might have a lot of hospital appointments.

Welfare-to-work companies do not make the final decision on sanctions – that responsibility lies with the DWP.  If evidence of a medical appointment can be provided by a claimant to the Jobcentre then it is almost certain no sanction would be imposed.  But that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that welfare-to-work dickheads are now being given a green light to threaten people with benefit sanctions if they are unable to attend mandated activity due to health reasons or other emergencies.  And where it counts, on the front line, that will mean scared claimants missing medical treatment so they can go and work for no pay in the local Salvation Army fucking charity shop.

*This guidance only applies to claimants on Universal Credit who have been referred to the Work Programme, which is currently probably about six people.

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How The DWP Is Trying To Hide Even More #fakedwpstories

james-universalcredit

Click to enlarge.

Panic seems to have set in at the DWP after the department was caught out making up case histories to justify the use of benefit sanctions leading to the hashtag #fakedwpstories.  With Iain Duncan Smith promising heads will roll for the blunder – but not his own of course – the DWP now seems to be carrying out a purge of previously published propaganda.

One victim of that purge is a bloke called James, who had been drafted in to explain how Universal Credit will make work pay in a handy infographic.  Unfortunately James has now been disappeared with a notice saying ‘We are reviewing this publication.

The only reason James’ disappeareance has come to light is because evey time the DWP updates a document it is automatically republished as new on their website – which is a real pain in the arse just by the way.

Luckily, as can be seen above, the ghost of James lives on in google’s cache (be quick).

If only we could rewrite history to not include Iain Duncan Smith this easily.

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