Massive benefits cuts planned

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Fishnut
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Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Fishnut » Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:28 pm

With the cabinet reshuffle it's very easy for other news to get lost (which is possibly the plan).
Ministers have drawn up large benefit changes for people who are unable to work due to health conditions, the BBC has learned.

The changes, affecting hundreds of thousands of people from 2025, would save £4bn from the welfare budget.

The proposals would see many more people forced to find work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions.
...
If the proposals are enacted, people who, for instance, are in severe pain while awaiting an operation or have some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may not receive the additional payment but would be expected to look for work.
...
The proportion of claimants assessed as too unwell to work had risen from 21% in 2011 to 65% in 2022, according to the secretary of state.
I can't imagine why the number of people too unwell to work has increased so much since this government came into power. I'm sure the lack of funding to services, increasing waiting lists (if you can even get on them) hasn't had any impact at all.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:39 pm

A major technological change occurred in 2020.

It will take a decade or more to flow through, but meaningful and rewarding employment can now be done in the home. Old barriers like anxiety or a bad back are now reduced problems.

What's needed is long term investment in the new ways of working, managing and recruiting. A lot of old fashioned people will try to obstruct progress because capitalism is far slower to change than everyone thinks.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by bjn » Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:40 pm

Not everyone can work from home. So meh.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:00 pm

"Not everyone can work on steam-powered looms."
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by discovolante » Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:06 pm

Sure, once barriers to employment for people with those conditions are removed, and the conditions themselves don't prevent people from working, then perhaps review their benefits at that point if you really want to (although personally I don't really care if a few extra people get benefits who don't absolutely 'need' them). But that's not where we're at. Additionally, a lot of people with health problems (and those who don't) work part time and often with fluctuating hours. Low and fluctuating income is a recipe for disaster and the benefits system should really be reviewed to work out how to address that before cutting benefits even more than they already have been.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by geejaytee » Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:07 pm

Have they trotted out the "better target[ing]" lie euphemism yet?

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by bjn » Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:37 pm

lpm wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:00 pm
"Not everyone can work on steam-powered looms."
WTAF? Because a factory worker, shops assistant or a farm hand can all work via zoom. :roll:

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by dyqik » Mon Nov 13, 2023 2:23 pm

bjn wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:37 pm
lpm wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 1:00 pm
"Not everyone can work on steam-powered looms."
WTAF? Because a factory worker, shops assistant or a farm hand can all work via zoom. :roll:
Are those the only jobs that people with those jobs on their CV can do? Or can retraining happen to do other jobs that can be done remotely in a significant number of cases.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by JQH » Mon Nov 13, 2023 3:28 pm

Apparently people with terminal illnesses will not be harassed into job-seeking. If true then that's an improvement on the current regime.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Bewildered » Mon Nov 13, 2023 10:51 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:28 pm
With the cabinet reshuffle it's very easy for other news to get lost (which is possibly the plan).
Ministers have drawn up large benefit changes for people who are unable to work due to health conditions, the BBC has learned.

The changes, affecting hundreds of thousands of people from 2025, would save £4bn from the welfare budget.

The proposals would see many more people forced to find work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions.
...
If the proposals are enacted, people who, for instance, are in severe pain while awaiting an operation or have some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may not receive the additional payment but would be expected to look for work.
...
The proportion of claimants assessed as too unwell to work had risen from 21% in 2011 to 65% in 2022, according to the secretary of state.
I can't imagine why the number of people too unwell to work has increased so much since this government came into power. I'm sure the lack of funding to services, increasing waiting lists (if you can even get on them) hasn't had any impact at all.
Sure but does an increase in the percentage of successful *claimants* imply an increase in people too unwell for work ? I assume it is actually caused by some change in the way the assessments are done?

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:18 am

Bewildered wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 10:51 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:28 pm
With the cabinet reshuffle it's very easy for other news to get lost (which is possibly the plan).
Ministers have drawn up large benefit changes for people who are unable to work due to health conditions, the BBC has learned.

The changes, affecting hundreds of thousands of people from 2025, would save £4bn from the welfare budget.

The proposals would see many more people forced to find work despite suffering from a range of physical and mental health conditions.
...
If the proposals are enacted, people who, for instance, are in severe pain while awaiting an operation or have some mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may not receive the additional payment but would be expected to look for work.
...
The proportion of claimants assessed as too unwell to work had risen from 21% in 2011 to 65% in 2022, according to the secretary of state.
I can't imagine why the number of people too unwell to work has increased so much since this government came into power. I'm sure the lack of funding to services, increasing waiting lists (if you can even get on them) hasn't had any impact at all.
Sure but does an increase in the percentage of successful *claimants* imply an increase in people too unwell for work ? I assume it is actually caused by some change in the way the assessments are done?
There has been a large increase in the number of people who have chronic long-term health problems. See several posts in the NHS Breaking Point thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3262

It looks like this is due to severe understaffing in the NHS resulting in excessive waiting times for many conditions which was aggravated by demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that treatment was delayed for long periods which exacerbated people's medical problems.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:42 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:18 am
Bewildered wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 10:51 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:28 pm
With the cabinet reshuffle it's very easy for other news to get lost (which is possibly the plan).



I can't imagine why the number of people too unwell to work has increased so much since this government came into power. I'm sure the lack of funding to services, increasing waiting lists (if you can even get on them) hasn't had any impact at all.
Sure but does an increase in the percentage of successful *claimants* imply an increase in people too unwell for work ? I assume it is actually caused by some change in the way the assessments are done?
There has been a large increase in the number of people who have chronic long-term health problems. See several posts in the NHS Breaking Point thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3262

It looks like this is due to severe understaffing in the NHS resulting in excessive waiting times for many conditions which was aggravated by demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that treatment was delayed for long periods which exacerbated people's medical problems.
Should have also added that with an ageing population there needs to be year on year increases in healthcare staffing and expenditure, and that hasn't happened.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by IvanV » Wed Nov 15, 2023 2:27 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:18 am
It looks like this is due to severe understaffing in the NHS resulting in excessive waiting times for many conditions which was aggravated by demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that treatment was delayed for long periods which exacerbated people's medical problems.
I suggested this a few months ago, and I think someone said that although it is an issue, it only accounts for a relatively small part of the recent increase in benefits claimants. I think I also subsequently read something saying the same thing in the Economist.

Another thing that came up in that earlier discussion is that the government had quietly removed some aspects of previous hostile environment on disability benefit claims during the Covid period, which again I independently verified. I'm not saying that the process of getting disability benefits now lacks all those Kafka-esque elements, only that it isn't quite as bad in every case as it used to be. Nor am I saying that everyone who deserves such a benefit gets it, nor do I have any knowledge of whether this in any way has facilitated benefits fraud or abuse on any material scale. Only that some changes were made which made the environment a bit less hostile, and that was in part responsible for a recent growth in disability benefits claims. I think the Economist was saying that this was a larger effect than the NHS deficit one, in terms of the recent changes in the number of people on benefit claims.

My starting point is that the total amount of transfers paid in this country is insufficient to achieve the level of income redistribution that is normal in other, more civilised countries. It cannot be right to reduce the amount of benefits paid, when we already don't pay enough.

I rather suspect that there are available better, fairer, systems, less focused on deterring people through Kafkaesque tactics, to put benefits where it is most deserved. If the government was promising to reallocate benefits in such a way, not that I'd trust this lot to know just desert when they saw it, that would be better. But just slashing the level, etc, loading it in some place, the people who have greatest need, that's just so wrong.

More broadly, there is inevitably a growth in the amount we have to spend on health services and care services through demographic change, and also a change in expectation as to what the state should provide. Public services are largely labour-intensive, and so the cost goes up ahead of inflation - so education costs go up too, as well as a change in expectation over what education should be. Then there is our insufficient income redistribution.

Some other countries with a better quality of life make this add up a bit more easily by (a) having higher taxes and (b) often having a greater level of co-funding from the patient for health services - with some income sensitivity. They UK way of letting the NHS service get sufficiently awful that some people go private is not a nice or efficient way to do it. Nor our approach to disability benefits. (Though it was interesting watching a German language drama last night, which had someone with no money getting little joy from some "computer says no" types in a benefit claims office. Clearly there is no utopia the other side of the channel.)

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Nov 15, 2023 3:37 pm

IvanV wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2023 2:27 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:18 am
It looks like this is due to severe understaffing in the NHS resulting in excessive waiting times for many conditions which was aggravated by demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that treatment was delayed for long periods which exacerbated people's medical problems.
I suggested this a few months ago, and I think someone said that although it is an issue, it only accounts for a relatively small part of the recent increase in benefits claimants. I think I also subsequently read something saying the same thing in the Economist.
Yes, there will be a complex relationship between an increase in chronic health problems and the number of people claiming disability benefits. People who started claiming before 2020 may not be affceted and they are probably the majority of claimants, and some people who became sick since 2020 may not claim benefits (eg if they are still able to work).

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Bewildered » Wed Nov 15, 2023 4:53 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2023 9:18 am
Bewildered wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 10:51 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2023 12:28 pm
With the cabinet reshuffle it's very easy for other news to get lost (which is possibly the plan).



I can't imagine why the number of people too unwell to work has increased so much since this government came into power. I'm sure the lack of funding to services, increasing waiting lists (if you can even get on them) hasn't had any impact at all.
Sure but does an increase in the percentage of successful *claimants* imply an increase in people too unwell for work ? I assume it is actually caused by some change in the way the assessments are done?
There has been a large increase in the number of people who have chronic long-term health problems. See several posts in the NHS Breaking Point thread viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3262

It looks like this is due to severe understaffing in the NHS resulting in excessive waiting times for many conditions which was aggravated by demands of the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is that treatment was delayed for long periods which exacerbated people's medical problems.
Ah…. somehow I misread 2011 as 2021. I couldn’t believe that no one else was pointing out this had to be something else.

I am (somewhat) aware of the problems by the way, but I was confused how this stat shows it as well as the one year thing. I guess if there is a huge growth in genuine cases then it’s likely false claims won’t go up as much, so you might expect the percentage of successful claimants to go up like this. However I’m still a bit confused, because my impression was most rejected claims were cases where people weren’t “unwell enough” according to assessment, rather than faking it. I’d somehow expect that number to be rising as well, but if the assessments and definitions didn’t change does then I guess it means those numbers grew much slower (or didn’t grow at all)?

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 22, 2023 3:52 pm

It's an excellent budget, doing exactly what a Tory chancellor on the left of his party should do:

- minimum wage up 9.8%
- state pension up 8.5%
- benefits up 6.7%
- 2p off the basic tax/NI rate

It's a significant pay rise for the lowest paid, better than most average/higher earners will get, and will close the inequality gap by a fraction. However it's inflationary so it's likely interest rates will stay high for longer. It's close to what I set out a year ago - keep giving the lowest paid and benefits 10%, knowing it will partially knock on to better pay for higher wage bands, and accepting the high interest rates that go with it.

Then there's this attempt to get people back into work. When I was young there were millions of lives blighted by long term unemployment, concentrated in the manufacturing northern cities. It wrecked self-esteem and aspirations, left children growing up in homes with no wage earner, and caused lifetimes spent in poverty. The progressive left fought to tackle the problem but were ignored by Thatcher.

There's near zero long term unemployment now, but it's been replaced by people unable to work outside the home because of health. Hunt claims his program will get 200,000 people jobs, with the resulting improvement in living standards and self esteem.

The correct response is for the progressive left to fight for this to be done the right way, stressing treatment and mental healthcare. Work is a good thing. Jobs are a good thing. Precarious reliance on benefits is a bad thing. But instead the left is bizarrely echoing Thatcher, seemingly hating the thought of people getting jobs. Corbynism is alive and well in the mentality of the left, always reaching for handouts instead of better pay. Hunt's proposal isn't exactly onerous, with an 18 month window and work placement opportunities to improve skills, before finally cutting benefits.

I hope that the Labour government will keep elements of this plan. It took 15-20 years for the jobs mix to adapt to Thatcher's harrowing of the north. In 15-20 years we could see a similar end to the modern form of long term unemployment. We have the new technology and just need to figure out how to apply it.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by IvanV » Wed Nov 22, 2023 4:55 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2023 3:52 pm
Then there's this attempt to get people back into work.
There have been numerous programs of this kind in recent years, and none of them have come anywhere near working. Mostly it has just raised concerns over fraud in relation to the money paid to contractors who are supposed to be delivering the service. So it makes you wonder why they think it will work this time. Clearly they need to try something rather different from the tried-and-repeatedly-failed idea of "pay someone to do it".

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 22, 2023 5:17 pm

The technology to make this possible only came into place in 2020, so any prior attempts are irrelevant.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by headshot » Wed Nov 22, 2023 6:09 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2023 5:17 pm
The technology to make this possible only came into place in 2020, so any prior attempts are irrelevant.
It didn’t really “only” come into place in 2020. Skype, Zoom, Teams and cloud computing were already a thing. However, remote working certainly became the new acceptable paradigm.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by bjn » Wed Nov 22, 2023 8:29 pm

Boiler repair folk can’t fix boilers via skype, shop assistants don’t work via zoom, google meet doesn’t help hair dressers, phlebotomists can’t ply their vampiric trade via teams, and so on. While ill and off work, because they have restricted access to health care, retraining them all to be website developers who can work from their bed, isn’t going to work to particularly well, especially with the more elderly who are likely to be ill.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 22, 2023 8:57 pm

40% of UK employees now work from home, with 17% working only at home. That's millions of job opportunities.

Listing jobs where you can't work from home is dumber than a box of rocks.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by bjn » Wed Nov 22, 2023 9:39 pm

So the majority of people can’t currently flip to working from home if disabled or ill. Glad to know you just confirmed my point.

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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by Gfamily » Wed Nov 22, 2023 10:03 pm

Back in the days of Thatcher and Major there were grants available for people to set themselves up to make themselves independent. A colleague's partner got a grant of over £1000 in the very early '90s to buy a computer so that she could set up as a 'office services' to provide things like leaflet layouts, pamphlet writing, adverts, that sort of thing.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 22, 2023 10:15 pm

...and there were still people moaning about it and demanding a dock worker must be given a job as a dock worker.
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Re: Massive benefits cuts planned

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Nov 23, 2023 9:33 am

Just a shame it's all paid for by f.cking over future public services even more than they're already f.cked. And predicated on a fuel duty rise that will never happen.
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