Universal credit is a shambles

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FlammableFlower
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by FlammableFlower » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:48 pm

plodder wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 10:33 am
Well, OK, you're right to the extent that there have been loads of issues that still haven't been dealt with, and you're also right to criticise this.

I'm only pointing out that it's impossible to have a perfect plan. So then there's a matter of judgement and imperfection about when to start something up, which will often contain elements of expediency.
You'd also hope that if they'd identified particular problems - such as rent arrears and evictions - then they might have also thought up a temporary fix for it that could be in place until the system settled down.

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discovolante
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by discovolante » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:50 pm

Like getting rid of the 5 week waiting period? That one, that everyone has known about for ages and is deliberately built into the system? There is nothing to 'settle down' as far as that policy is concerned.

plodder
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by plodder » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:01 pm

discovolante wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:50 pm
Like getting rid of the 5 week waiting period? That one, that everyone has known about for ages and is deliberately built into the system? There is nothing to 'settle down' as far as that policy is concerned.
Well, OK, it was originally 6 weeks with no interim advance payments, and it's been reduced to 5 with interim loans in an attempt to improve things. So they have, in some ways, responded to need here.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/c ... /33603.htm

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Brightonian
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by Brightonian » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:31 pm

discovolante wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:53 am
I've been waiting for a time to post this with more detail but it ain't happening so here's a link to a Scottish government report on welfare reform. Note that rent arrears had increased by an average of 14.1% in UC areas compared with 4.1% in non-UC areas.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/housi ... re-reform/
I've a friend on UC who had been in severe rent arrears so I lent him £1500. Against my own better judgment perhaps, but he was apparently about to be kicked out onto the streets imminently and he's 63 and without going into details is a bit vulnerable in some ways. He's highly intelligent (though doesn't know how to use the Internet), and pretty politically aware, so I didn't push particular avenues of further help/advice other than suggesting his MP and Citizens' Advice (and being clueless myself). He thanked me profusely for getting him out of the rent arrears hole, then told me he's since gone to the Salvation Army for advice. Not really sure how the Sally Army can help, and I have a feeling I'll have to have a serious talk with him as I can't pay his rent forever.

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discovolante
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by discovolante » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Brightonian wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:31 pm
discovolante wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:53 am
I've been waiting for a time to post this with more detail but it ain't happening so here's a link to a Scottish government report on welfare reform. Note that rent arrears had increased by an average of 14.1% in UC areas compared with 4.1% in non-UC areas.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/housi ... re-reform/
I've a friend on UC who had been in severe rent arrears so I lent him £1500. Against my own better judgment perhaps, but he was apparently about to be kicked out onto the streets imminently and he's 63 and without going into details is a bit vulnerable in some ways. He's highly intelligent (though doesn't know how to use the Internet), and pretty politically aware, so I didn't push particular avenues of further help/advice other than suggesting his MP and Citizens' Advice (and being clueless myself). He thanked me profusely for getting him out of the rent arrears hole, then told me he's since gone to the Salvation Army for advice. Not really sure how the Sally Army can help, and I have a feeling I'll have to have a serious talk with him as I can't pay his rent forever.
If they do right they could try and refer him somewhere else and get him connected. To be honest, his prospects of getting help are fairly highly dependent on where in the country he is. I'm happy to see if I can help out with pointers in the right direction but can't say I will necessarily know much more than you, it often depends on local knowledge :?

I might try and respond to the other stuff over the weekend, maybe. But suffice to say that a reduction from 6 week to 5 (when the premise for making it 6 weeks in the first place is entirely flawed) and insufficient loans which eat into people's meagre spending money once they finally do get it is pretty paltry.

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Fishnut
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Re: Universal credit is a shambles

Post by Fishnut » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:50 pm

I went to a talk by our local food bank the other week. I didn't realise until I saw the poster for the talk that we even had a local foodbank but it turns out that it's been running since 2013. My town is one of the least deprived in the county. We have the top two least deprived wards in the county and the other two aren't doing badly either. We are an affluent town and yet we not only have a food bank but it's in high demand. Just in the first 6 weeks of this year they've helped 60 people. They're only open 2 hours a week!! And one of the big causes of people needing help is switching to universal credit. There were a multitude of reasons given but the main ones I remember are,
  • benefits were paid weekly while UC is monthly, so people who aren't used to budgeting on a monthly basis are really struggling
  • rent is no longer paid directly to the landlord but to the tenant which means they are responsible for paying. And while encouraging personal responsibility is a good thing, if you're not used to seeing your bank balance in credit by such a large amount it can be difficult to handle it sensibly
  • this has led to landlords being reluctant to take on tenants who are on benefits, so people are facing higher rates of homelessness
  • the length of time that it takes to switch from their old benefits to UC leaving people without any money
It really shocked me how in demand the food bank was. If our food bank is in such high demand how are other less affluent areas coping? (Answer, they're probably not). Every time I go into Bristol it seems there's more and more homelessness. I swear it's worse than the 90s. We are a rich country, why do we have people living on the streets and unable to afford to feed themselves? That's not all down to a lack of personal responsibility, that's a sign something in our society is seriously broken.

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