Universal Credit – Not a penny more, not a penny less. Why it will cost at least £20 billion more per year!

Imagine the fabled Universal Credit working like a purring Ferrari or Lamborghini.  Forget the many stories about the IT system not working.  Forget the political bull and bluster we hear about it from the coalition.  Just imagine that it works as smoothly as any system could work in anyone and everyone’s imagination.

UC is a one stop shop assessment, a working integration of box the tax system and the benefits system and again set aside any moot issues of it making these two highly complex systems compatible and easier.  UC in the highest level of theory can be reduced to a simple statement – the recipient gets not a penny more and not a penny less than they are entitled to.  There would be no more talk of fraudulent benefit claims that all governments love to make an issue out of as this all singing all dancing and allegedly simple system would purr like the engine of the Lamborghini or Ferrari.


Not a penny more takes away the benefit fraudster of course, yet not a penny less means EVERY claimant gets EVERY penny they are entitled to.  It means a 100 per cent take up of all benefits and all tax credits.

YET back in June 2011 the DWP published figures on welfare benefit take up rates from 2009/2010 which revealed and the DWP admitted that up to:

  • £8.34 billion per year of working tax credit and child tax credit goes unclaimed
  • £6.7 billion per year of Housing Benefit goes unclaimed
  • £3.1 billion of Pension Credit goes unclaimed.

So that is the best part of £20 billion per year MORE that UC would need to pay out in just 3 programmes and these are 5 year old figures lest we forget.

That is what this illusionary Universal Credit system promises, not a penny more and NOT A PENNY LESS.

Means tested benefits have always only ever had a typical 60% – 70% take up figure and all governments know this and all past governments have relies upon this MEANS TEST and only set aside 60% – 70% of what they know is the maximum or 100% take up of them.  Yet 100% take up is what Universal Credit promises – not a penny more, NOT A PENNY LESS!

Just why this obvious point is not recognised by the opposition parties especially beggars belief, yet then again the amount of cock ups the coalition has had with UC so far from IT managers resigning left right and centre and the delayed roll out and the NAO giving it the red light and ordering IDS to stop it and start it again perhaps explains that.  The all party parliamentary committee say it will have a £500 million IT write off after the election too and ex civil service mandarins talk of how the climate of fear and the everyday knowledge that it will fail are other reasons too.

YET the simple issue of 100% take up of benefits now known to be due but NOT claimed is the real issue.

Universal Credit will if working at 100% efficiency and like no other government system has ever done in history will see the benefit bill increase by at least £20 billion per year.

Today, and linked with this, saw the Prime Minister say all those under 21 will have to work for their benefits – a typical tough talking idea – whether kite flying or not – in any run up to a general election and Cameron said as reported here by the BBC that:

Their proposed community work programme will cost about £20m to deliver, paid for by “initial savings” from the delivery of universal credit.


Whoa there!  What savings from Universal Credit?  These are mythical savings that just simply do not exist and this is pie in the sky nonsense from Cameron and the Tories.

The world and his wife will attack this programme as being harsh and a (further) blame game on young people and benefit receipt despite the fact that over £2 in every £3 paid out in welfare benefits goes to the pensioner as IDS has admitted in Hansard previously and the simple picture below reveals:



And that simple pie chart which reveals those words




This for me – to totally undermine the notion that UC will or even could in theory save money – is the way to attack this blatant political blame game by Cameron and to expose this as politicking.

Every time any other party suggests stopping these welfare attacks the Tories cleverly say where is the money coming from to abolish them as they have done with the bedroom tax proposals of Labour and the unworkable fudge of the Andrew George Lib Dem proposals on the same issue.

YET Cameron can say we are doing x, y and z and nobody questions where that money is coming from!!!

Given what I have said about Universal Credit above and how it will cost at least £20 billion per year MORE why the hell has nobody challenged Cameron’s assertion that making the under 21s work for benefit can be funded out of the clearly mythical UC savings?

Here is a post from March 2012 – yes 3 years ago – on the same issues called “Kafka on LSD couldn’t have imagined the UC nightmare” when I explained this previously and re-reading this post I mentioned and sourced the detailed non take up figures even earlier than this.  The fact that UC is a system of not a penny more and NOT A PENNY LESS does mean it will cost the taxpayer at least £20 billion per year MORE and not save a penny.

Why my obvious point that it will cost £20 billion more per year has NOT been challenged is revealing yet why it has not been promoted and seized upon by the opposition parties is the real issue.

Just thought it about time to raise the issue again so the public are not hoodwinked by the political and economic claims made for this monumental f-UC-k up

19 thoughts on “Universal Credit – Not a penny more, not a penny less. Why it will cost at least £20 billion more per year!

  1. user/Emma_Barefoot_Young/media/Mobile%20Uploads/Screenshot_2015-02-13-08-17-27_zpsd0rhyxmy.jpg.html” target=”_blank”> This is my payment for this month.. There’s your penny!!

      1. Hi Joe. I’ve tried both Firefox and Internet Expolrer, and it isn’t a clickable link on either one.
        No worried. Have you read my comment about the Self-employed, at the bottom of this thread? I think this is another hornets nest…

      2. I read your article, missed some of the comments. I’ve now caught up.
        It’s totally disgusting what they are doing./ planning to do.

  2. I can see how people who currently claim some, but not all, of the benefits that they are entitled to will get more under UC. However, am I right in assuming that people currently failing to claim a single penny in benefits now, despite being eligible, are off the benefits radar and will remain off it even with the introduction of UC? Wouldn’t they need to initiate some kind of claim in order for them to become visible in the welfare system?
    As I know nothing about how these things work, I’m relying on you to set me straight if I’ve got it all wrong, Joe.

    Whether I’m right or wrong, my blood is seething like never before as the stream of Government lies turns to a torrent in the run up to the election, and by the utter incompetence of the so called opposition. I love reading your blogs, Joe, because you see it and tell it as it is, but I’m not sure they are doing much for my blood pressure!

    1. There are a lot of people who don’t class themselves as being “on benefits” such as working people claiming HB/Child benefit/etc. as these people might be entitled to other types of benefits but don’t claim them (either not knowing about them, or thinking they are in-eligible, or can’t be bothered) as UC might contain _one_ of the benefits that they do claim they suddenly become eligible for all these other entitlements, by default.

      Also as a side issue, one that I have just realised just now, for a party that says/speaks as if its against the idea of benefits, or at least in words such as “a dependency on benefits/life style choice” UC actually makes a huge proportion of people reliant on benefits, or at the very least makes everyone getting any part of it realise that they are “on benefits” wether working or not, if anything it entrenches the idea of benefits being part of the picture by default instead of optionally applying for parts of it. It makes IDS and the conservatives the party of benefits by default for 3-6 million people, in work or out your benefit claim for UC will be there… along with sanctions, workfair (for the hours you are deemed not working enough), and mandatory appointments at the JCP along with claimant commitment (your task for next week is to increase your earnings by 30% or we will sanction you) and if you miss your JCP appointment or are 5 mins late because you’re doing the working bit of UC then again you will be sanctioned, the only people who will escape the clutches of the DWP will be the very few left who earn enough not to claim any part of UC.

      1. Lifestyle choice? 68% or more than £2 in every £3 of benefit spend goes to the pensioner. Remind any politician of this when they castigate anyone on ‘benefits’

      2. HI JOE can you tell me how i go from the start when the brtax letters arrive to the end as i messed up really big last 13/14 can you point me in the right direction i cant make contact with any brtax groups i live on the wirral please help thanks john

  3. I went to some housing Benefit liaison meetings in East London a couple of weeks ago, and we were told people getting UC with housing costs were also getting HB, now this should should not be happening but it is, official error? Frank field notified but not heard from him yet……

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