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The impacts of the benefits "reform" implemented by the coalition


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#21 bedlam breakout

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

You're a real nice guy.

oh thanks, no one has ever said that before


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#22 Trojan

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 07:36 AM

According to Andrew Adonis (who was there) at the negotiations after the last election, the Lib/Dems were only interested in what Labour were offering inasmuch as they could wring more concessions out of the Tories. Nick Clegg could not wait to get into bed with them and was all for the massive cuts that Osborne was proposing. He swallowed them whole in order to get his hands on a red box.  If poverty has got worse, if people are really suffering then the blame lies in one place and one place only. The Lib/Dems.  We all know what the Tories want - to make the rich richer and the deveil take the hindmost.  The Lib/Dems were supposed to be different. They were going to stop the Tory extremism. From day one (the Forgemasters loan) they have signally failed.  Cameron and his henchmen more or less do what they like and Clegg goes along with it because he can do no other. He is a prisoner. He dare not withdraw Lib/Dem support for this goverment because of the electoral consequences for his party, he's hanging on and waiting for something to "turn up."

It's true that many of the  Tories' "reforms" were mooted and introduced by the last Labour government. So what?  That doesn't make them right.  Such fears never bothered Thatcher in 1975/79 when she distanced the Tories from everything the previous Tory government had done. What's to stop Labour from doing the same?


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#23 ckn

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:50 AM

It's true that many of the  Tories' "reforms" were mooted and introduced by the last Labour government. So what?  That doesn't make them right.  Such fears never bothered Thatcher in 1975/79 when she distanced the Tories from everything the previous Tory government had done. What's to stop Labour from doing the same?

The problem for Miliband is that there's a different attitude these days. 

 

If you or I made a decision, found out it was a stupid one then changed our minds then we'd be acting normally, if we refused to change our minds then we'd be stupid ourselves. 

 

If a politician makes a stupid decision, or his party does, then changes his mind then he's a flip-flopper, a weakling, indecisive, lacking the power of conviction, and so on.  If he refuses to change his mind then he's strong and clearly sticks by his principles.

 

Much of that stemmed from Maggie's so-called strengths of never changing her mind (although she did regularly but hid it well) and "this lady is not for turning".

 

Miliband has made a rod for his own back by supporting Tory Coalition schemes such as Workshare, including the one earlier this year where people can be forced to work for their benefits at nearly 1/4 of minimum wage.  That alone has tainted him irredeemably in my eyes.


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#24 GeordieSaint

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 09:33 AM

Miliband has made a rod for his own back by supporting Tory Coalition schemes such as Workshare, including the one earlier this year where people can be forced to work for their benefits at nearly 1/4 of minimum wage.  That alone has tainted him irredeemably in my eyes.

 

There are a lot of people who I know who think people should work for their benefits. I personally don't think anyone should be forced to work for below the minimum wage. A potential compromise could be 10hrs a week? Obviously administratively it would be difficult to sort out but no more than the current system.


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#25 ckn

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:10 AM

There are a lot of people who I know who think people should work for their benefits. I personally don't think anyone should be forced to work for below the minimum wage. A potential compromise could be 10hrs a week? Obviously administratively it would be difficult to sort out but no more than the current system.

If the scheme had been set up that the company "hiring" the jobseeker had to pay minimum wage then I'd not be against it.  If the employer then was given an employers NI tax break to permanently hire the employee for at least a year then it'd be a good thing.  The problem is that it'd be abused quite quickly like in the stories we've seen in the papers about normal workers having their hours cut or laid off because the company can get essentially free labour.  There would have to be some sort of condition that the company could prove it was either a new job or a replacement for someone who left without being made redundant.

 

I've also no issue with a healthy, fit person being told to do community work for the equivalent of minimum wage in benefits if their out-of-pocket costs are separately met, e.g. travel.  Charities are always desperate for extra help.  I'm certainly not defending people who just sit at home and think their benefits are a right.  What they must have though is enough time and help to hunt for a job, I know myself that when looking for my next contract that job hunting is just as much a full-time job as working itself.  No point forcing someone to work if they can't job hunt or go to interviews during working hours.

 

Another way, in addition to paying at least minimum wage, to make it seem like less of a scam by the government to get people off their books would be to reward those going on these schemes.  For example, one hour worked on these schemes gets you one point, 40 points gets you one day of credit at an external, non-state, premium training course; essentially 5 weeks of work gets you a week long premium training course of your choice.  Other rewards could be genuinely work related stuff such as work tools, certification exams, professional fees paid, etc.


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#26 Li0nhead

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:51 AM

Those moaning about cuts never seem to come up with an alternative other than 'tax the rich'. Any alternatives? 



#27 tonyXIII

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:02 AM

Those moaning about cuts never seem to come up with an alternative other than 'tax the rich'. Any alternatives? 

 

Perhaps a more rounded and all-encompassing taxation and benefits policy along the lines of "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs?"

 

Now, where have i heard that before?

 

edited to include "and benefits".


Edited by tonyXIII, 31 May 2013 - 11:03 AM.

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#28 gingerjon

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:16 AM

Those moaning about cuts never seem to come up with an alternative other than 'tax the rich'. Any alternatives?

Taxing the rich would be an excellent start. I think we should do more of it.

And companies. We should tax those more too.

And council tax needs sorting to reflect 2013 prices not 'what would this house have been worth in 1988'.
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#29 Li0nhead

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:17 AM

Perhaps a more rounded and all-encompassing taxation and benefits policy along the lines of "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs?"

 

Now, where have i heard that before?

 

edited to include "and benefits".

 

Thats just a big non specific statement that can be twisted to whatever you want, a bit like the current lots 'A fairer benefits system that rewards working'. 

It can mean anything.



#30 T Dub

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:40 AM

Those moaning about cuts never seem to come up with an alternative other than 'tax the rich'. Any alternatives?

Yes, borrow even more and make the national mortgage even bigger

(This is actually whats been happening, called Quantitative Easing)

#31 T Dub

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Taxing the rich would be an excellent start. I think we should do more of it.

And companies. We should tax those more too.

And council tax needs sorting to reflect 2013 prices not 'what would this house have been worth in 1988'.

What proportion of Govt income comes from personal taxation anyway?

#32 ckn

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 11:52 AM

Those moaning about cuts never seem to come up with an alternative other than 'tax the rich'. Any alternatives?

Yep, lots.

1. Equalise the treatment of companies. Small companies get routinely bullied by HMRC even when they're strictly following the tax laws yet large companies get break after break after break. If HMRC prosecuted large companies to the extent that they do small companies then we'd have a good few extra billion in the treasury. It's also a blunt lie that companies will go elsewhere if we tax them more, they know they get a good deal here even if they played fairly. Also, companies are making decent profits, the FTSE 100 and 250 indices are up significantly but they grudge any single legitimate pound of extra tax they have to pay. This isn't being unfair to the "rich man", it's just getting him to pay his dues according to the current laws of the day like HMRC makes the rest of us pay.

2. Cancel the Corporation tax cuts announced in this year's budget. That's predicted to cost us nearly £750m per year, and that's using the government's figures.

3. Cancel the enhanced capital spending announced in this year's budget of £3bn per year.

4. Cancel the corporate stamp duty and shares changes being implemented, there's £325m per year back.

5. Cancel the two schemes the government are implementing to cut the tax on companies granting shares and share options to employees. £130m per year back.

(Noticed a theme yet? Corporate and high-earner tax cuts being implemented by the Coalition but service and benefits cuts to the poor.)

6. Increase the penalty for benefit fraud. Make it a mandatory jail sentence if there's proven dishonesty and the bill is over £5000. 1 year per £10k as an absolute minimum. Make the same penalty for corporate fraud or tax evasion where dishonesty is proven. Enhance the proceeds of crime laws to include total confiscation orders for all personal goods excluding survival goods for these offences. Might not make a lot of money but it'll help the justice of the situation by evening out the laws.

7. Change the corporate bankruptcy rules. Make it far, far harder to set up phoenix companies. Make it an appealable presumption of automatic disqualification to own or direct a company if it goes bankrupt while you're in charge or on the board. Make directors personally liable for all debts if there is proven dishonesty, right now the burden on HMRC to overturn the veil of incorporation is far too high. An example of dishonesty would be selling assets to another company at under an objective market value or where there's multiple layers of companies between the real assets and the debts. This alone would stop HMRC losing millions per year on companies going bust while owing tax money then miraculously restarting with a slightly different name a few days later, it happens all too often.

8. Make all councils in England unitary. By 'eck there's a lot of people getting paid for being called "Councillor" in the UK, there's the best part of 9000 District Councillors alone. They might not have a good salary, in fact it's quite measly, but it all adds up when you count in their allowances, council halls, paid assistants, etc. Take for example where I live, most of the council services are shared between my District council and the neighbouring one to save costs, it's helped cut costs massively by amalgamating services between the two yet there's still two separate councils with the same number of councillors. Bin every district council, make them county, metropolitan or unitary councils with minimum numbers of residents.

I could go on for a while but i need to go to lunch! If I find time later I may add more but please others feel free to add in.


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#33 GeordieSaint

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 12:51 PM

I've also no issue with a healthy, fit person being told to do community work for the equivalent of minimum wage in benefits if their out-of-pocket costs are separately met, e.g. travel.  Charities are always desperate for extra help.  I'm certainly not defending people who just sit at home and think their benefits are a right.  What they must have though is enough time and help to hunt for a job, I know myself that when looking for my next contract that job hunting is just as much a full-time job as working itself.  No point forcing someone to work if they can't job hunt or go to interviews during working hours.

 

Community work should be where people are sent to do the required work, not at places like Tescos etc in my opinion. I am sure local councils would love to have an extra few pairs of hands to clean up the local parks for example and as you rightly suggest charities are always desperate for help.


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#34 tonyXIII

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:17 PM

Thats just a big non specific statement that can be twisted to whatever you want, a bit like the current lots 'A fairer benefits system that rewards working'. 

It can mean anything.

 

Really? Its meaning is fairly clear to me. Never mind.


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#35 tonyXIII

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:19 PM

Community work should be where people are sent to do the required work, not at places like Tescos etc in my opinion. I am sure local councils would love to have an extra few pairs of hands to clean up the local parks for example and as you rightly suggest charities are always desperate for help.

 

Shouldn't they employ a few more gardeners, then? I do take the point, though. As long as it's not used to avoid providing real jobs for people who want them.


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#36 GeordieSaint

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:46 PM

I do take the point, though. As long as it's not used to avoid providing real jobs for people who want them.

 

Completely agree.


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#37 MikeW

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

Shouldn't they employ a few more gardeners, then? I do take the point, though. As long as it's not used to avoid providing real jobs for people who want them.

If it's required work how can it not  be about avoiding providing real jobs?  The only way it wouldn't be is if it was pointless tasks nobody wanted doing.



#38 GeordieSaint

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:35 PM

If it's required work how can it not  be about avoiding providing real jobs?  The only way it wouldn't be is if it was pointless tasks nobody wanted doing.

 

Shadow the person doing the job in order to learn new skills perhaps?


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#39 gazza77

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 02:43 PM

If it's required work how can it not  be about avoiding providing real jobs?  The only way it wouldn't be is if it was pointless tasks nobody wanted doing.

 Could you not suggest the same about voluntary work?


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#40 Bedford Roughyed

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

It has to be said that the changes to benefits (in principle, maybe not the implementation) is a very popular move.  Labour support these changes because they see the same polling data.  They are also scared of being called soft and know that when (almost certain) get in power at next election that they will have to do the same.


With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!