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.
YET IT WOULD COST THE TAXPAYER AT LEAST £20 BILLION PER YEAR MORE!
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