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UNIVERSAL CREDIT ( UC ) : Rollout Schedule * Mines * Sanctions * Changes * Delays * Reports From Infected Manors - Page 25 - Carers UK Forum

UNIVERSAL CREDIT ( UC ) : Rollout Schedule * Mines * Sanctions * Changes * Delays * Reports From Infected Manors

All about money
267 posts
More than 100,000 people sign a petition to block ex-work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith from receiving his knighthood.

The Change.org petition had attracted nearly 120,000 signatures by 11am today.

Claimed Sir Iain had been the architect of " Cruel and extreme welfare reforms. "

However, Jeremy Hunt praised colleague for standing by his " Moral convictions. "

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... thood.html

Certainly behind the explosion in food bank use ?

Much more interesting ... the comments section at the bottom ... DC readers let rip !

I wonder just how many times the word WORKHOUSE is mentioned ???

DWP need to have a local presence. 40 years ago SSD and DWP worked very closely together. Under certain circumstances, DWP could make a payment the same day an application was made, and could also make Hardship Grants. How can the current system be regarded as "progress"???
Bonus blow for Greggs staff prompts call for benefit and tax rethink.

Some workers who are on universal credit could keep just £75 of the £300 payout.

The government has been urged to rethink its tax and benefit rules for low-paid workers after it emerged that some staff at the bakery chain Greggs could get to keep just a quarter of their £300 annual bonus as a result of universal credit deductions.

Greggs announced last week that its 25,000 workers would receive a windfall of up to £300 under a £7m reward scheme linked in part to the success of the company’s vegan sausage rolls.

However, benefits experts have pointed out that some staff who are on universal credit will keep as little as £75 after tax and national insurance (NI) are paid and bonus earnings clawed back by the government at a rate of 63p in the pound.

Benefits consultant Gareth Morgan said the clawing back of the bonuses through universal credit meant that the government might ultimately be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Greggs reward scheme.

Morgan calculated that under current tax and benefit rules, a worker earning less than the tax and NI thresholds of £8,632 a year would typically be left with £111 of the £300 bonus. One earning more than that but less than the upper threshold of £12,500 a year would get just £97.68 while a worker on more than £12,500 a year would end up with £75.48.

Universal credit originally aimed to incentivise claimants to earn more by introducing a work allowance allowing them to keep hold of more of their benefits as their income rose. However, this was cut in 2015, and only partly restored. Claimants’ earnings over and above this allowance are in effect reclaimed at a 63% taper rate.

Ronnie Draper, the general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers union, which represents thousands of Greggs staff, said it had so far only been contacted by one worried worker about losing out on the bonus but would discuss alternative ways the company could make the payment if it emerged individuals were losing out.

It is not known how many of Greggs workers are on universal credit, which replaces a number of working-age benefits and tax credits. All households claiming legacy benefits and tax credits will be expected to have moved across to the new system by 2023.

Draper praised the company for paying an annual staff bonus equivalent to 10% of profits every year as well as the one-off £7m bonus paid this year. “As far as wages go, Greggs pays higher than most on the high street,” he said. “Greggs is a decent company. It recognises trade unions properly when lots of retailers on the high street don’t.”

Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said: “While workers on universal credit could lose up to £225 of their £300 cash bonus, that is an argument for the government to lower the taper rate in universal credit, rather than for employers to stop paying their staff more.”

He said Greggs should not be blamed for choosing to reward staff in this way: “Greggs should be congratulated for offering organisation-wide flat-rate bonuses that disproportionately benefit lower-paid staff. More firms should follow suit.”

Helen Barnard, the deputy director of policy and partnerships at the anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said it was “morally right” for employers such as Greggs to boost the living standards of their employees and the bonus was welcome, although many of those on universal credit might gain very little from it.

The rise of in-work poverty has become a salient feature of the UK economy in recent years. JRF estimates that stagnant wages and welfare cuts mean about 4 million people are living below the breadline despite being in a job, meaning about one in eight people in the economy were now classified as working poor.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “This is another example of how universal credit is failing working people. The government needs to come up with fresh plans to give low-paid workers better support, and fairer incentives and rewards.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said it did not comment on the issue but added there were no plans to change tax and benefit rules.
Low-income families set to be poorer under universal credit – study.

Data shows areas with high numbers of unemployed and disabled will be worse off, says thinktank.

The average low-income family in the UK’s most deprived areas – including “left behind” communities in the north of England – is likely to be worse off under universal credit, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation.

Although the government’s reversal of some of the cuts it made five years ago to universal credit will make the average UK family £1 a week better off than under previous benefits, the study says those living in the poorest areas will be on average worse off.

The thinktank says the economies of those areas with high numbers of disabled, unemployed or single-parent claimants – all groups likely to lose out under the new system – will see falls in spending power when universal credit is fully rolled out.

Official data indicates that the deprived areas most closely matching this profile and where, on average, families will be worse off under universal credit, include places that unexpectedly voted for the government at the last election such as Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hyndburn and Wolverhampton.

After its victory, the government promised to regenerate fragile post-industrial economies in the Midlands, the north and north-east of England where it won a swath of previously staunch Labour-voting parliamentary seats known as the “red wall”.

Other areas where families are on average likely to be worse off when they move on to universal credit include Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Burnley, Kingston-upon-Hull, Blaenau Gwent, Knowsley and Hartlepool.

Universal credit will pay out more than £60bn a year nationally by 2023. That many of the UK’s poorest local areas will be net average losers under universal credit is “something currently being ignored amid growing debates about how to level up economic outcomes across Britain”, says the foundation.

Laura Gardiner, research director at Resolution, said some areas of the country would fare particularly badly under universal credit and understanding that “should be central to policy debates that are rightly focusing on what can be done to close economic gaps between parts of the UK”.

The foundation also called for further changes to the design and generosity of universal credit to make the system easier for claimants to use and to ensure it meets its original aims of simplifying benefits, improving incentives to move into work and cutting poverty.

“With the reputation of universal credit under significant threat, now is the time for the government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to really understand how it is working on the ground in order to make necessary changes,” it says.

While overall UK benefit spending will be maintained under universal credit, this masks a “substantial redistribution” of support between different areas of the country, says Resolution, with resources skewed towards families in high-rent areas like London and the south-east over the north and Midlands.

The thinktank illustrates this by highlighting the effect on Liverpool and its surrounding boroughs, where 52% of all claimants will be worse off on universal credit by 2024, compared with a national average of 46%. This rises to 65% for Merseyside families with a disabled member (60% UK-wide). On average, Merseyside families will lose £7 a week.

With the return of a Tory government, the foundation concludes that universal credit, despite its turbulent history, is now “definitely going ahead”. Labour had promised a root-and-branch overhaul of what it had called a “cruel and inhuman” system. The foundation warns ministers against complacency, saying that universal credit remained a “negative symbol” of a decade of conservative welfare reform and that some of its central features – like the controversial minimum five-week wait for an initial payment – remained intensely disliked by claimants.

Its qualitative research with claimants in Liverpool – supported financially by Liverpool city region – found that despite official insistence, there was no evidence that claimants believed that digitally administered benefits under universal credit were an improvement on the old system.

Responding to the report, a DWP spokesperson said: “Universal credit supports more than 2.7 million people across every part of the country, introducing tailored support to replace a complicated old system. This report rightly recognises improvements we’ve made, like boosting work allowances for some families to £1,000 and making it much easier to apply online.”

Universal credit, which rolls six working-age benefits into a single monthly payment, was initially due to be fully rolled out in 2017, but a series of blunders means it will not be completed until at least 2023, by which time approximately 6 million families will have been signed up.

Ministers originally argued the new system would reduce poverty by improving incentives for people to work. But Gardiner said the “jury was still out” on this as wider benefit cuts such as the benefit freeze and the two-child limit, which apply to people on universal credit, were likely to push up poverty rates.
Boris Johnson urged to let Greggs workers keep bonus'

Boris Johnson has dismissed calls to reform tax and benefit rules after claims some Greggs staff can only keep a quarter of their annual bonus.

Yep , 5 long years of this ... and more ... to come !

How might a Greggs worker's bonus be cut to £75 ?

To work out how a Greggs £300 bonus could be cut to £75, consider somebody earning enough to pay income tax (more than £12,500 a year).

On the £300 bonus they would pay £60 income tax and £36 of national insurance, so £204 would go in their bank account.

If they were receiving universal credit, that would be reduced in line with the taper rate, which means they lose 63p in benefits for each £1 they earn. So they would lose £128.52 of their benefits.

That means that the £300 bonus would only have left them £75.48 better off.

We spoke to the Department for Work and Pensions about these figures. They told us there were Greggs employees who would be in that situation, but not all of them.

Others may already be earning enough to have stopped receiving universal credit or they may be earning little enough to have leftover work allowances (that's the amount you're allowed to earn before you start losing benefits).
Universal credit " Sending people into arms of loan sharks. "

Debt charity says Tories’ flagship welfare project forcing claimants into destitution.

Universal credit fuels debt problems for low-income claimants, forcing many into destitution and driving others to loan sharks to get cash for basics such as food, clothes and heating, a leading charity has claimed.

StepChange, the UK’s largest debt charity, said problems relating to universal credit’s design – in particular the five-week wait for a first benefit payment – made it harder for its financially vulnerable clients to manage their money.

It called for significant changes to the design of universal credit to make it fairer, more flexible and generous for the very poorest claimants, nearly half of whom had taken out loans to pay for basic living essentials over the past year.

A quarter of its clients in receipt of universal credit were in problem debt, three times the rate found in the population as a whole and almost twice the rate of claimants on older, “legacy” benefits, it said.

The majority of its clients struggled to make ends meet each month – only 6% said they always came in on budget, and 46% said they always ended the month in the red. More than a third had used food banks or sought help from local charities or churches.

“We already knew that too many people are experiencing hardship and misery through problems with the universal credit system. What is new is the evidence of exactly how universal credit actively worsens debt problems, more so than the legacy benefits system,” said StepChange’s head of policy, Peter Tutton.

He urged ministers to do more to protect vulnerable claimants: “Sending people into the arms of loan sharks, and making a debt situation worse at the very time when people most need help, cannot possibly be what social security is for.”

The charity is critical of the system of advance loans introduced by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as a means of helping penniless new claimants to survive the much-criticised 35-day wait for an initial benefit payment – over twice as long as the typical wait for payment under the old benefits system.

The wait, intended to get claimants used to monthly payments that are the norm in the middle-class world of work, has caused havoc among people used to being paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis, particularly where they have no savings to fall back on.

Although ministers argue the loans have helped mitigate the negative impact of the wait, StepChange found that the strict repayment terms – which deduct up to a third of the benefit each month for a year – turned a short-term income shock for clients into a long-term one, with half finding it difficult to cope as a result.

Clients struggled even more when DWP loan repayments were combined with deductions for tax credit overpayments and council tax debts. Claimants were often unaware deductions would be made until they received reduced benefits. Deductions were at fixed rates, regardless of affordability, often arriving without explanation.

Asked how they coped with benefit deductions, StepChange clients were most likely to cut back on food or heating or ask friends and family for help. Half said the deductions caused them to fall behind on debt repayments. One in 10 said they took out loans from loan sharks.

Commercial credit firms would not be allowed to operate a universal credit-style deductions scheme, said StepChange: “As it stands the social security system would not meet basic regulatory requirements of consumer credit firms to treat customers fairly.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Claimants can get paid urgently if they need it and 95% of payments are made in full and on time. We’ve changed the system so people can receive even more money in the first two weeks than under the old system, and Alternative Payment Arrangements to landlords can already be made for claimants struggling to pay their rent.”

More than half of StepChange clients who claimed social security met the definition of destitution, meaning they had gone without two or more essentials over the past month because of lack of money. Essentials include eating two meals a day, owning weather-appropriate clothes and being able to buy basic toiletries.

About 2 million people are in receipt of universal credit, which bundles six working age benefits into a single monthly payment. More than 6 million will be on the benefit by the time it is fully rolled out in 2023.
Did anyone watch the BBC 2 programme on Universal credit this week??
On catch up here
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m ... -episode-1

Next week is Liverpool

Yes, I think it's important for everyone to watch. Who's knows what will happen in anyone's future. Information on this benefit system is key.
I did, as it's soon to be rolled out around here and my son will be affected.

The system was set up by an idiot.

I'd like to see all those involved in the system to try managing themselves using the same rules as claimants.

How can anyone survive on nothing for five weeks until the first payment?
Then they seemed to be blaming claimants who got into debt!

There were comments about saving which were idiotic too.
Benefits are set at the minimum level, so how on earth can you save out of the bare minimum?

When we were on income support after my husband was made redundant, the only way we survived was by him doing jobs for friends and being paid in cash, and by selling various things.
I recorded it, but haven't watched it yet.

We have UC here and dealing with it on S's behalf was a nightmare until I got our MP involved.

267 posts