Thursday 27 June 2013

The Cruelty in Osborne's CSR

Something happened during Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday.

It took a while to sink in, as these things often do.

But a government who had previously at least paid lip service to "protecting the most vulnerable" clearly couldn't bring themselves to pretend any longer that we're "All in it together".

Firstly, the overall welfare spending cap. What does this mean? (And remember, this is Labour policy too :( )

By including "Disability Benefits" This government of the privileged elite broke any remaining link between social security and need. Let's remember for a moment. Disability Living Allowance (currently being replaced with Personal Independence Payments or PIPs) Is a NON-MEANS TESTED benefit, paid to cover the EXTRA costs of disability. Based on an assessment of NEED, anyone with a significant illness or disability that limits their ability to take part in society on the same basis as anyone else is entitled to claim.

You may be in work or out of work, rich or poor, DLA is based on none of that.

For the sake of tax, DLA is not counted. For the sake of housing benefit or tax credit, DLA is not counted. It is an entirely independent amount to cover - let's say it again - the EXTRA costs faced by sick or disabled people.

Make no mistake. Including disability benefits in the overall welfare spending cap ends any pretence that the cross party support for DLA and a non-means tested disability benefit, still exists.

It will mean that entitlement to sickness or disability support is based on COST not NEED. It will break an agreement that has held for decades. It will mean there is no longer any guarantee that NEED will lead to an award.

And the second mean, nasty little detail : Making anyone who becomes unemployed wait 7 days before they can "sign on" for unemployment benefit.

Oh sure, if you live in a stately home, sit in line for a baronetcy and expect a £30 million inheritance, this might make perfect sense.

But who claims "The Dole" or "Job seekers allowance" (JSA) as it's been known for some time? Not bankers or lawyers or MPs.

In reality, there is a cohort of workers, trapped in a cycle of poorly paid, low skilled work, zero hour contracts and few if any employee rights. They tend to work for 3 months here, 6 months there before work that may be seasonal or cyclical rejects them back to the jobcentre. There is no ability to save or work their way up. They tend to live hand to mouth, payday to payday. When the contract ends, there is nothing in reserve.

Waiting 7 days, means 7 days without food. 7 days without nappies. 7 days without rent. 7 days without heating or lighting. And that's just 7 days before you can APPLY. It might be 3 or 4 weeks before you actually see any money.

Sure, if you earned 40k or even 80k you can manage for a bit. You probably got redundancy. You might have a network of contacts who can suggest a new job. You don't tend to be knocking at the jobcentre door at 9am on a Monday morning.

No, it's only those in the most desperate need who are forced into "signing on". Only those who can't find other work. Making them wait 7 days won't suddenly magic up a job. It won't suddenly make people more resourceful and determined. The threat of imminent starvation tends to make people fairly resourceful and determined in the first place.

This won't affect those the government assure us have been "languishing on benefits" uninterested in work. Nope, they'll already be claiming.

It will only affect those who really need help. All poxy £60-odd quid a week of it.

If anything proves how little this government know about the people who's lives they're playing with it is this mean, nasty, ill thought through, cruel little policy. It will help no-one and hurt those who until moments ago were working. Or in government speak, "doing the right thing"

It will starve their children, push their mothers and fathers to foodbanks and charity, force proud men and women to beg.

Sorry, but there's only really one word. You utter bastards.


  1. The devil is always in the detail, the sneaky conniving barstewards. Soon it will be taxable and limited to 6 months at a time and only if you have paid 2 years Nat Insurance contributions to boot.

  2. Totally agree Sue. These bastards need to go. Last week Nick Clegg apparently told LibDems that they would have to choose between party policy or staying in power. THAT shows to me what is important to these self serving idiots. We need new non career politicians who have had to graft, and know what it is to need.

  3. Well said Sue. At work yesterday (in a much reduced civil service department) we were horrified at the measures and spin (our increments or pay progression have never been automatic as they are only granted if you have been performing well),we decided that it was time to stop career politicians and perhaps have people from communities serving as MP's for a short set term to stop the privileged few making rash cruel decisions.

  4. Great post Sue ... here in Barnsley there's a culture of short time jobs in local warehouses and call centres - I have friends and relatives who move from job to job as they try to find a way to fit in the shifts and transport problems and it just doesn't work. Imagine six or more weeks a year without ANY money just because they don't run a bus to the place you want to work and you've run out of people to blog a lift from ... The wait for housing benefit was bad enough alreaday.

  5. I bet that a large proportion of the money will actually go on protecting them from us, the lower class terrorists, I mean working class public health. We need a Robin Hood and Robert The Bruce!

    1. They're frightened of such figures emerging and will declare any such to be against the national interest and persecute them accordingly if they do. I'm sure it's to prevent any such emergence that the intelligence budget was beefed up, they'll be spying on everyone looking for any signs of insurgence so it can be stamped out before it can gain any momentum.
      On another level, they're coming out in their true colours now (as I've always said they would) and can no longer pretend this is about protecting the most vulnerable nor that this has anything to do with making work pay. It's vindictive for the sake of it and increasingly no-one can pretend it's anything else.

    2. @ Peter Robson, ESA (WRAG) and PIP are now taxable, last week I received a P60U with the PAYE reference ESA500 and the tax code 810L.
      when I rang the benefits agency and enquired why I had received it I was told that from April 2013 all Benefits are now taxable.

      The full title of the paperwork I received is 'Certificate of Pay and Taxable Benefit and Tax Deducted/Refunded' at the bottom it says
      'Issued by BA/DSS'

      As a disabled single Parent with 3 kids the implications of this are quite frightening

  6. Sociopath george likes hurting people

  7. It has been said before and it will be said again - MPs have little or no understanding of real life. Few if any of the Cabinet have any real understanding of the Department they are in charge of. Those that think they have an idea have only spent a few weeks in the dole queue while living on handouts from friends and family rather than benefits.

  8. "You utter bastards."

    Just when you think there cannot possibly be anymore petty vindictive announcements which are based on perceived political gain rather than any pretence of economic reasoning,they come up with others.A whole new lexicon will have to be invented as current words do not adequately describe them and is far too generous.

  9. What concerns me is that it won't be just about waiting 7 days to get any money. If people have to wait 7 days before making a claim for Jobseekers Allowance would they not then have to wait for the claim to be processed before they got any money? I can't imagine they would receive money immediately so I'm wondering how long it takes for a claim to be processed and therefore, how long exactly it would be before somebody actually received any Jobseekers Allowance.

  10. I also really don't think that people with no money and no chance of getting a job are just going to lie down and starve to death to suit this government. There is bound to be an increase in robberies and muggings because desperate people do desperate things to survive. Then you'll hear the shouting of the 'I'm all right Jack' brigade, then they'll care, but it won't be about the unemployed, it'll be about themselves and their shouts will be a demand for more police action. They never seem to see the bigger picture which is very sad.

  11. no-one who hasn't experienced it knows the stress and devastation caused by no money. Expect the 'child abuse' and cruelty rates to rocket. Expect more hospital admissions and more violence. All of which will be blamed on the poor.

  12. thease people that run this country are indeed Sociopaths and yet on Sunday morning where are they to be found yes you guessed in the church
    if i was a vicar i would ban them on the grounds of hatred towards the vulnerable

    If the Muslims for example held such hatred for others in society they would end up arrested or deported but as it's your government all is well and you can carry on as if nothing has happened

  13. I would argue that you do see lawyers, teachers, and other previous high earners signing on. They're not as common but they certainly exist in the system. Many have been impacted by the economic problems since 2008. We have higher levels of unemployment than in 2007, they're not all the hand to mouth people. Unemployment hits many people. Some are ashamed to be claiming benefit in the first place, then find themselves going to a food bank. From 2007 to 2011 the unemployment rate rose over 2%.

    It's not just the already poor who are getting pissed over with these changes, it's everyone who actually needs to work for a living. They would have us all work for free, just to make more profit for them.

  14. I was a teacher and had to sign on because of cuts in further education several years ago in 2006/07 - adult literacy and numeracy teaching. So did many of my colleagues in the lifelong learning sector and trade skills. Ironically we were there to help build confidence and gain employment skills. These jobs have gone to private training companies and A4e where the staff don't have to be qualified. I was treated with utter contempt at the job centre by staff who police the system and made to apply for every single job they suggested although overqualified or not having experience. I was prepared to take an admin role, having transferrable skills. To be turned down for something because you don't have a qualification in that field but can quickly learn the job is soul destroying.

    Many teaching posts are not part time, but fractional and it is impossible to juggle two positions.

    With the arrival of the academies and 'resource sharing' there will be many redundancies, and more part time vacancies. In rural areas like mine, where small schools have amalgamated head teachers who also engaged in teaching role have been made redundant. It is anticipated that in time schools will close altogether.

    I expect the next rhetoric in the tory media will be how there has been a rush of people applying for PIP and DLA ahead of the welfare cap to top up their universal credit.
    The knock on effect of this for disability claimants is terrifying as cares struggle to care for family members and are forced to juggle work or else claim JSA.

  15. Sue

    It's not just the Tories and LibDems who are detached from reality.

    After this was announced, not only did your Labour Party acquiesce, one Labour MP tweeted that he saw no problem with it, that people just need to set aside a weeks worth of wages to tide them over.

    Labour are so apart from the reality of life for most people, that they see no problem with this, that people are in such low paying, zero hour jobs that they cannot save money, or are being kicked off ESA and having to lie to get JSA,saying they are well enough to work.

    Bad as each other

  16. I see when those 99percent wake up to the fact that they are in it together but that they the 1percent get us to pay their bills but how long does it go on without those 99percent to fight back against their we in it together but only us it seems bare the brunt yep they who must protect us have now steep over that mark were we back to the 1700s cap in hand perhaps its been heading there since thatchers Britain selling all our silver assests leaving nothing behind the people clapped her then they only seen pound coins floating past their eyes ,but didn't realise that few paultry shares they had end up overseas far away from our shores costing now a arm and a leg to heat or eat or even light your place up yes its greed but then they don't like sharring one bit jeff3

  17. I feel sorry for people who vote conservative hoping for sensible financial and caring policies. Tory voters, who are disabled, who are not anti-benefits person, who are not anti-minority person, who are not anti-poor person, are suffering too. Believe me, not all conservative voters are nasty people and feel embarrassed and annoyed when the government unnecessarily targets vulnerable people who need help not harassment. They have to cope with what the government does as well, because also please don't forget that people do fall for election promises and it is not the voters who make horrendous changes to policies that anger people. Some of the nicest people in the world vote conservative and they feel just as let down by what the government does as any nice Labour voter would have felt let down by the previous governments ineptitude and bad policy decisions. When we all understand that politicians are wrongly and unfairly placing themselves above all others, we can start to hold them accountable for the damage they are doing to every person in this country.

  18. "Waiting 7 days, means 7 days without food. 7 days without nappies. 7 days without rent. 7 days without heating or lighting. And that's just 7 days before you can APPLY. It might be 3 or 4 weeks before you actually see any money."

    This is even worse when you remember that they lately closed the social fund, so there is no longer the safety net of a crisis loan while people wait for their benefit claim to be processed.

  19. pip if your lucky their were no safeguards in the welfare reform bill i told my tory mp of this who fully agreed with me
    he is in faver of welfare reform however and says it would have been better if i had published the welfare reform bill on my own

    i said to him why do you say that and he said mine was simple and to the point and he could understand it all the safeguards were in place like no loss of benefit whatsoever until after all appeals had taken place. And then at that point if loss of all benefits the mp to advise further with a legal team to make sure that whatever happens to that person and their family the correct procedure and EU guidelines were being met without anyone slipping through the net or any needless loss of life along the way