Expanding welfare

Today various papers and commentators have come out to say the Coalition government is dismantling the welfare system, cutting it beyond recognition. It is difficult to reconcile these extreme claims with the figures.
In 2009-10, the last Labour year, social security benefit expenditure amounted to £163.7bn and tax credits were £22.9bn. The forecast for 2013-14 is £180.4bn on social security benefits and £29bn on tax credits, an increase of 12.2% in cash terms. This is after the creation of many more new jobs and a small fall in the unemployment benefit claimant count.
Those who say they do not like Coalition attempts to reduce the pace of increase in benefit expenditure should tell us how much more than £209bn they wish to spend on benefits and tax credits, and where this money would come from.

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155 Comments

  1. Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Why are you spending my pension contributions on welfare?

    Why omit free health care,free pensions, free schooling, free council tax, and all the othe thing you give to those who can’t be arsed to get job?

    900,000 off incapacity. Some were getting money for acne. Why no prosecutions for fraud for those claimant for the claimant. The gp, the workers responsible in the DWP?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed, a lot of obvious waste and ridiculous claims, yet they still manage to stop payments for people with no limbs or severely disabled sometimes. I wonder if this is the law of the bleeding stumps or just incompetence.

      zorro

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        zorro: “I wonder if this is the law of the bleeding stumps or just incompetence.”

        It is deliberate, these may be the people that most deserve welfare, but it serves the socialists who infest the welfare system to make it appear the nasty Tories are targeting those who can’t help themselves.

        By contrast, those who can help themselves , are (rumoured to be-ed) buying £8million pound mansions in the heart of London. No wonder the politicians are desperate to prop the property market up with our tax money.

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          At present most disabled people are losing their benefits because ATOS is declaring people who are clearly disabled fit-to-work so they can be paid a lower level of benefits. Something the DWP isn’t taking any action to stop.

          Given that socialists support the welfare system these policies are more likely the result of Tory dogma, such as forcing people to work and cutting welfare as much as possible. So trying to blame socialists for the deliberate actions of the Tories isn’t going to fool anyone.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “Given that socialists support the welfare system ”

            Yes, and as administrators of the system, they will be utterly unscrupulous in assigning any cuts where they will cause the most public outcry, regardless of the individual suffering caused.

            So it is by design that the very people the system is supposed to assist will be injured rather than the people that administer the system who if they worked a little more efficiently could probably deliver 10% efficiency savings without very much hardship at all.

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:26 am | Permalink

            unanime–What has of necessity to come first is rescuing the Country, of which unemployed and disabled people are part. If the Country that protects them fails they fail even more. As Mrs T said, Socialists are great till they run out of other people’s money (or similar). The unemployed and disabled are infinitely better looked after than they were only relatively recently. It’s the Government’s job to decide what can and cannot be afforded. Brown spent masses of money in the good times but didn’t look so clever when the boom went bust. I’ll bet he gets or will get a lovely fat protected pension.

          • Posted April 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

            Who appointed ATOS in the first place?

            Hint – it was before 2010.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        just incompetence and indifference – this seems to be the usual explanation.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Not only are your pension contributions being spent on welfare, when you finally get your pension you’ll be told that it’s welfare rather than something to which you’ve gained an entitlement by virtue of your pension contributions, and if there are to be any cuts to welfare payments then your pension should be first in line to be cut.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Denis ,

        I also noticed this disgraceful sleight of tongue myself – redefining state pension as a benefit .

        This sort of thing (rolling of ostensibly hypothecated funds like national INSURANCE premiums into general taxation) is why I oppose rationalising N.I. and Income tax into a single tax – it just seems to legitamise the abuse .

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          Surely combining income tax and Ni is one way of opening up these abuses. It would at least result in a clear and smooth rate of tax ironing out all the peaks and troughs that currently occur. It would also result in some cost savings particularly for people with one or two employees.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Nick.
      Add to your list the huge and rising cost of the free car scheme for those “disabled” claiments which really needs to be investigated.
      The headlines of £71 per week “could you live on that” shouters forget
      a) the all benefit income is tax and NI free
      b) all your rent is paid
      c) all your council tax is paid
      d) child benefits are paid tax free
      e) no prescription charges to pay
      f) no dentists fees to pay
      g) no school meals to pay for
      h) an old age pension despite never paying anything in
      If you have several children and a rented property you need to earn at least £500 per week to make going out to work worth even considering.
      i) even free food now being provided increasingly

      I spent over 20 years working in an engineering factory in what could be described as a dangerous towerblock inner city area and saw at first hand the negative effects of benefit culture and some of the common fiddles.
      Just two examples of many:-
      Men I worked with who had their parents down as their home address for tax purposes whilst their “wife” and children lived on benefits nearby.
      Men who worked away on engineering projects who would get their wives to go down the “social” and say hubby has walked out and left us all alone, cue state benefits, then after 3 or 4 months of work, hubby returns and tells the “social” we are all reunited.
      And one point on jobs versus vacancies.
      There is a huge hidden number of vacancies that never get into the statistics.
      Our company, like many I knew, never advertised vacancies, especially with the job centres. We recruited by asking our own staff if they knew anyone who would be suitable. A method that worked well for us.
      Strangely, everywhere I go at the moment seems to be short of staff and these vacancies seem to be being filled only by new arrivals.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Indeed you if you have several children you often need to earn over £100K to be better off after taxes and all the costs of working. Better to have the time to yourself perhaps they think? I blame the system, in the main, the claimant are just behaving rationally.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        The coal-face of reality.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Add to your list the huge and rising cost of the free car scheme for those “disabled” claiments which really needs to be investigated.

        This might surprise you but if you’re in a wheelchair it makes it difficult to walk or cycle to work. So if you want the disabled to get a job you need to help them get to this job.

        a) the all benefit income is tax and NI free

        That’s because it’s not a salary.

        b) all your rent is paid

        People working in low paid jobs can also claim housing benefit. Unless they have some spare rooms then it’s cut because the Conservatives hate the poor.

        c) all your council tax is paid

        The Government recently changed this so you have to pay some council tax.

        d) child benefits are paid tax free

        Also not a salary and can be claimed even if you’re working.

        e) no prescription charges to pay

        How exactly are the sick and unemployment meant to afford medicine if they have to pay prescription charges? Would you rather they were denied medicine until they had to be hospitalised?

        f) no dentists fees to pay

        Again how are they going to pay for medical treatment if they only get £71 per week?

        g) no school meals to pay for

        Would you rather their children go hungry?

        h) an old age pension despite never paying anything in

        How exactly are they going to work when there aren’t enough jobs available.

        If you have several children and a rented property you need to earn at least £500 per week to make going out to work worth even considering.

        Care to provide any evidence to back up these claims. Make sure that the rent is based on the average rent someone would pay, not the rents of properties in the expensive parts of London.

        i) even free food now being provided increasingly

        That’s because benefits are no longer sufficient to buy food with. So you’ve just shown that £71 isn’t enough to live on because you don’t have enough money to buy food with. This is a clear example of how benefits are too low, not too high.

        I noticed you also ignored the cost of heating, electricity, and water because these would debunk your claims that the £71 is enough to live on.

        Strangely, everywhere I go at the moment seems to be short of staff and these vacancies seem to be being filled only by new arrivals.

        Maybe if these companies were willing to train people, rather than shunning everyone that doesn’t have all the skills they need, they might be able to get some more staff. If no one is training people then you shouldn’t be surprised that everyone lacks the skills you need.

        Reply Conservatives do not hate the poor. We wish to help the poor become better off through employment.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          As usual Uni, you miss the point I was making, which is that the left are continually shouting “£53 pounds per week live on that” whereas there are many other items adding to the money element which both you I notice and I agree are paid to those on benefits.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Buy a £30k car. Get it VAT free for £25k after having a £500 disability aid fitted. Remove the fitting and sell for £27.5k. £2k profit. No wonder new car sales are booming in the UK.

        Want discounted rent in London? Check the ads on Gumtree and visit the flat. Many are sublet social housing.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      @Nick
      Prosecutions cost money and sending people to prison is expensive (£100k for a new cell + £40k per annum). Imagine what a dent that would make in your pension contributions.

      67% of the DWP’s budget goes to pensioners. Section 2.8 (p11 of the pdf), shows how much expenditure on this cohort is expected to continue growing. For instance, in four years spending is forecast to increase from £110.2bn to £126.9bn.

      Source (for 2nd para): http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06354
      (fingers crossed a link to Parliament will not fall foul of Mr Redwood’s phobia about urls)

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:32 am | Permalink

        I doubt John either hates or fears URL’s but why cannot you see he cannot possibly read all that stuff–he has a measure of responsibility?

  2. Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    A big story which the media seem to ignore is the huge level of abuse in the disability system of people who were clearly not due those payments. 878,000 chose not to renew their claim and 837,000 were deemed fit for work. I’m sure there are a few errors with the large numbers involved but it shows the huge extent of abuse in the system.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Jon–I remember talking to the disability people having been advised to do so when I had to go off long term sick. We had gone through what was wrong with me and at one stage I said, “But surely I cannot claim (and never did BTW) just for that”. The lady’s reply was, “You’d be surprised”–and she was right I was.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      “A big story which the media seem to ignore is the huge level of abuse in the disability system of people who were clearly not due those payments.”

      A further additional detail would that this practice was actively encouraged by the administration of Sir John Major-Ballsup MA DPhil (honarary IQ in the top 0.01%). Bearing in mind that this involved doctors having dishonestly to certify patients who clearly were not disabled, fit people being encouraged to lie to obtain higher benefits, government lying to the populus about the level of unemployment, and an ongoing and entirely unnecessary burden on taxpayers to fund the additional and ongoing cost, although quite within the compass of British governments generally in terms of short-termism, it was just another reason why the benefit bill is not directed exclusively at those genuinely in nee and moraly entitled to English taxpayers’ support.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Given that two thirds of the people ATOS declared fit to work had this decision overturned on appeal it’s clear that the abuse is being perpetrated by the DWP to reduce welfare, rather than the disabled.

      I also suspect that legal aid was stopped for people who wish to challenge these decisions so the Government’s plan to abuse the disabled isn’t hampered by things such as justice or medical evidence.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        What about the 800,000 who dropped off prior Uni?

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Are you claiming that 800,000 people stopped claiming benefits before the Government started trying to reduce the welfare bill using ATOS? If so please provide evidence that prior to 2010 800,000 people stopped claiming disability benefits.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            Uni
            It has been widely reported on tv radio and in all newspapers that over 800,000 decided to stop claiming prior to having a check on their status.
            Are you saying all these reports are wrong?

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            The Sun, April 2 2013:
            “New figures show 878,300 people on incapacity benefits stopped claiming when told to have a medical assessment.
            Many were getting handouts for headaches or sprains.
            Another 837,000 who took a test were found fit for work. Just 232,000, one in eight of those tested, were deemed too ill to work.”
            http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4868287/george-osborne-challenges-ed-balls-to-name-which-cuts-he-would-reverse.html

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            unanime–One of your more inane posts–They stopped claiming because of course they knew they’d fail the tests–Only you could see it (or say that you see it for I can hardly believe that you do) any other way.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:37 am | Permalink

        unanime–One thing that is clear is that your thinking is unencumbered by anything resembling any kind of judgement of what the Country can afford. The Country knows better.

  3. Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Further evidence of the failure of your party in coalition to get to grips with the parlous state of the economy. It shows that they are spending junkies just like Labour and the LibDems. The only difference is the size of the ‘fix’!

  4. Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    If I had a God I’d be asking him why he made so many people so stupid. They actually think benefits help them when in fact they’re the padlocks on their slave chains.
    None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed many need to learn how to stand on their own feet. How will they every learn if the state system encourages them not to bother.

      When will this government finally start doing the right things, if ever?

      When it can find no one else to lend to it one assumes, and no one else to tax. Only then will Cameron’s tax, borrow and waste stop, it seems.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        How exactly are people going to “stand on their own feet” when they’re disabled, sick, or the only jobs available don’t pay enough to live on due to the high cost of living? All your right wing fantasy will do is throw millions into the gutter.

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “pay enough to live on due to the high cost of living”

          Which is directly caused by the governments inflationary policies.

          Most recently QE, inflating imported goods by 30%.

          But assistance for rents simply means rents go up.

          The housing bubble – encouraged by the governments* low interest policy – simply drove the price of property skyward. Now they are desperate to stop the bubble deflating – viz the so called assistance to ‘first time buyers’ announced in the budget.

          All that measure will do is trap anyone who takes advantage of it in negative equity.

          *Both parties are responsible for pulling this trick.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Ed West’s article in the DT hits the nail on the head.

      Google:Opponents of welfare reform might win if they weren’t so blinded by political correctness

      ” the Tories are helped by the fact that the opposition is so politically correct, and political correctness is mentally constraining because it is focused on protecting perceived victims. Opponents have hitched their argument to the idea that there is no such thing as an “undeserving poor”, but because almost everyone knows individuals whose behaviour does reinforce their problems, they lose the argument.”

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        The problem with that argument is that if people know someone who is being harmed by the Conservatives’ benefit cuts that they don’t consider “undeserving poor” they’re still going to oppose these cuts. Thus the Conservatives will lose the argument because people will be fighting for the rights of the “deserving poor”, rather than praising them for punishing the “undeserving poor”.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        As pointed out to you before Bob if there is an undeserving poor than by default there must be an undeserving rich.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:51 am | Permalink

          Bazman–As so often, your (lack of) logical rigour is manifest. The poor and the rich are opposites and what you say is simply untrue. It could be (I am not particularly here saying it is) that the rich are rich precisely because they deserve to be so. It is for you to prove to the contrary if you can rather than simply begging the question.

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            Then by default the poor must deserve to be poor. Must I also prove this to the contrary?

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      So you believe that if people weren’t given benefits then they’d all magically be able to work; even though there’s 2.5 million able bodies people who can’t find a job, many disabled people who can’t work, and many people who can only afford to work because they receive housing benefit and tax credits.

      All your plan will do is throw vast numbers of people into levels of poverty not seen since the Victorians times. Along with a dramatic increase in crime.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:00 am | Permalink

        unanime–The Welfare bill has become too enormous, it’s as simple as that. Maybe some of the able bodies you mention might become a little less choosy as to the jobs they would be willing to do if suitably disencouraged to stay at home.

  5. Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Never mind the welfare system, what about your spectacular April Fools joke of putting millions into fuel poverty and shutting down large swathes of industry.
    yes I’m talking about Cambornes CARBON TAX.
    Despite no warming for 15 plus years and the coldest March for 50 years we are set to lose 10% or more of our generating capacity and tax the rest into submission.
    The chances of winning or coming second in the next election is but a pipe dream for a party that is so spectacularly stupid.
    Forget wefare and concentrate on keeping the lights on.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right. Where are the CAGW sceptics in the Tory back benches? We were promised loads with the 2010 intake. I have noticed about five.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Peter Stroud: “Where are the CAGW sceptics in the Tory back benches? ”

        Where are the Eurosceptics, wasn’t George Eustace going to be the anointed one? He seems to have sunk without trace.

        But there was never much chance of Cameron’s former press secretary putting up any significant opposition to Cameron’s administration on, anything at all really!

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is hard to think of anything much dafter the the AGW religion and carbon tax – the pointless, and counterproductive, war on a blatant lie perhaps?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Coal power stations are being closed down because of their Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen Oxides emissions, not Carbon dioxide emissions. So even if the carbon tax was removed these power stations would still close.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        Depends what random limits you impose as to whether these power stations are deemed to be unusable.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:03 am | Permalink

          Edward–Random is far too kind a word in this context–Haphazard at best.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        According to the EU DIRECTIVE 2001/81/EC , the UK was required to meet the following in 2010:

        SO2 – 585kt, NOx – 1,167kt, VOC – 1 200kt, NH3 – 297kt

        In practice, it reached

        SO2 – 407kt, NOx – 1,107kt, VOC – 771kt, NH3 – 286kt

        Of that, power stations accounted for

        SO2 – 236kt, NOx 330kt, VOC 5kt, NH3- 1kt

        Sine these targets were easily met, it is safe to say that the additional targets were aimed at closing down stations, not meeting pollution standards.

        • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Note: the national total figures included memo items outside the target measure of

          SO2 – 94kt, NOx – 341 kt, VOC – 104kt, NH3 8kt.

          Memo Items are reported but EXCLUDED from national totals. Memo items include: International & National Aircraft (cruise),International Shipping, VOC emissions from forest fires and NH3 emissions from wild animals and humans, Natural Emissions (Volcanoes!)

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Do these figures include all the power plants that were opted out of this directive? If not then they’ll still need to be closed.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Not in Germany they’re not. The Germans are building new coal fired power stations and ones that use dirty coal lignite at that

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Yep but they generate 770g co2/mWh .

          The UK’s limit for new power stations is 450g co2/Mwh .

          German powerstations wouldn’t be allowed in the UK .

          I seem to remember you are opposed to hydraulic fracturing for some reason but given that the risks can be managed perhaps it’s time to start producing some of our own to offset gas imports .

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          Do these coal power stations contain devices to reduce emissions from these power plants? If so then they’re complying with EU law.

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:10 am | Permalink

            unanime–Even if you are right (and needless to say I suspect you are not) I say a pox on EU Law–We should never have submitted ourselves to this posturing and OTT nonsense in the first place–It’s all the fault of the egregious “Heart of Europe” rubbish, where we agreed to God knows what just to stay friends.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        There is no rational reason to close them down whatsoever, indeed it is counterproductive to do.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        It was the Margaret Thatcher in the 80’s that instigated the whole process of sulphur, nitrogen and ozone emissions reduction and compared to the 1950’s there has now been a 90% reduction in sulpur emissions [1].

        I note that you have never acknowledged the leadership that achieved these significant emission reductions in any of your comments, wonder why….

        [1] Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, July 2012

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Well it’s very rare that there are any blogs about sulphur, nitrogen and ozone emissions. They seem to be mostly about CO2.

          Who knows maybe in 20-30 years people will be praising Cameron for trying to reduce CO2 emissions.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “Who knows maybe in 20-30 years people will be praising Cameron for trying to reduce CO2 emissions.”

            No they won’t, they will be cold, subject to electricity rationing and hungry. They won’t be praising anyone!

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

            unanime–That is one very big “maybe”.

  6. Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    As usual, scary headlines.

    The problem we have John is that a huge number of people believe it is their right to choose not to work, and to let the State (taxpayers) compensate them with endless and increasing sums of money, to fund that alternative lifestyle.

    The fact that some of the people who make such claims would never ever have the ability to earn anything like the sums given to them, just compounds the issue and breeds ever more the must have someone else can pay claim culture that now exists in this Country.

    How should someone on taxpayer support be able to afford packs of dogs, or horses !

    You perhaps cannot blame those who make claims, they have worked out what is best for them, it is the system that is at fault, and it is politicians who have put that system in place.

    The sad fact is that those who really need help, becaue they are genuinely disabled, rarely get the help that they deserve, and those who have attempted to help themselves get automatically excluded from the system. So why bother other than for personal pride reasons.

    The simple fact of the matter is, as a nation we have become soft, we have for years allowed people not to have to make any sort of contribution at all in return for taxpayer funded payments, which seem to have no time limit, we have funded oversized houses, which hard working people could never aspire to, which are paid for by those hardworking people in the form of ever rising taxation.

    Ian Duncan Smith has tried to get to grips with it, but I see from recent press reports that he has almost given up in frustration at the constant largess of some politicians, who will it would seem, never agree to any sort of real cut in the welfare budget.

    Some time soon someone will have to bit the bullet, because the cost is now far exceeding the ability of the taxpayer to fund such schemes.

    Constantly printing more and more money is not the answer as it destroys the savings and spending power of those who have worked and saved all their lives.

    The media has to get real, but our politicians have to spell out the real financial facts in very simple terms to support their message.
    So far, other than your site here, we have seen little information or even sensible Public argument to hammer home the true financial situation.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it is the system at fault.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      The way to reduce the levels of welfare is to provide more jobs that pay a decent wage so that people no longer need to claim welfare. Punishing people they need benefits just to survive while working in low paid jobs or punishing them because there aren’t enough jobs available will always creates more problems than it solves.

      IDS is not getting to grips with the problem.
      – He has introduced workfare, which the courts declared illegal because if forced people to work for free. Then tried to change the law so that people who had their benefits illegally sanctioned didn’t have to be compensated.
      – He introduced the Work Programme, which has been repeatedly shown to be useless at helping people get a job. However he still supports it because anyone on the Work Programme isn’t considered unemployed.
      – He is trying to introduce Universal Credit which is needlessly complex and will mean that those on low incomes will see little benefit from increased personal allowances due to the amount of benefits they will lose.
      – He has introduced the “bedroom tax” on everyone with spare rooms, even when there isn’t anywhere suitable these people can move to. He isn’t providing any help moving so even those who are willing to move cannot.

      IDS’s plans are failing because they’re designed to hurt the unemployed and poor rather than help them. It is not the media that is at fault but politicians who refuse to accept that you cannot have third world wages and low welfare costs.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5

        I will not bother to reply in detail, but suffice to say on one of your points raised.

        THERE IS NOT A BEDROOM TAX OF ANY KIND IN EXISTANCE.

        We have spare bedrooms in our house, and I am not being taxed on them.
        Our friends have spare bedrooms in their houses they are not being taxed either.

        Do you know why, because there simply is no such thing as a selective bedroom tax being imposed on anyone.

        We paid for the spare rooms in our house from our own money, it was not done with taxpayers money.

        If those who get support from the taxpayer for housing, and they want spare rooms, then they can pay like me and our friends out of their own money for as many spare rooms as they like as far as I am concerned.
        But they should not get help from my taxes, when so many other people are living in overcrowded accomodation.

        Please look at the bigger picture, if the State took all of the money off of everyone and no one worked, we would all be worse off, including existing claiments.

        The State has no money it only has what it takes off of people in the form of taxation.

  7. Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    People are always saying something like “The Government (or the Council) should do something about it”, where “it” is the subject of the moment or their pet idea.
    I make a point of telling them that the don’t really mean “the Government” but actually mean that “everybody” should contribute whether they like it or not as the Government does not actually have any money of its own. Funny, but most people don’t look at it in that manner!

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Wrong, the government has more money than you could dream of. 99.9999 percent of which it hasn’t yet spent into existence.

      On the wonk web-sites you need a pass-word to get in, this little chart is raising a sigh. I doubt it will get past moderation as we are getting closer to the next election and JR will put his own brain away and use the old party one. http://delong.typepad.com/.a/6a00e551f080038834017c31c4fb04970b-pi . Can you spot the Q2-2010 election and the GDP result?

      Reply I do not censor criticisms of the Conservatives or of the Coalition government. I delete links from unknown sources which take too long to access and read. I publish links to known sources like HM government, Bank of England, US Treasury etc.

  8. Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives are clearly still trying to match the Brown spending plans. Just beacause vested interests do not like the thought of decreases does not make it right to listen to them.

    Perhaps the Conservatives cannot hear what the people want because of the noise or maybe they are simply scared of moving away from Brown policies. Cameron really does need to get a grip and stop doing exactly what got us into trouble in the first place.

    If, after a massive devaluation of the pound and a massive money printing exercise, they can still not see the present policies are not working then perhaps it is only right that they too should be considered a party incapable of managing the Nations finances.

    Maybe UKIP, who at least have totally different policies, will win through. It will take only some big hitters to jump ship and a big backer to adopt them to at least give them a try.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Today also marks the carbon tax introduction by Osborn and the Lib Dumbs which will put thousands of people into fuel poverty, business will be forced to move abroad because of a nonsensical EU directive and Cameron’s love for ineffective and very expensive wind mills. Quite ironic when you consider JR’s previous post about the EU. Cameron and Co equally love the EU superstate or they would have done something about it. £1.3 billion increase in contribution this week and there is nothing Cameron can or will do about it- this is our money, taxpayers’ money. I note he is not in the press crowing about it. Stop trying to tell us differently JR is does not wash. Look at Cameron’s action to date, his record, U-Turns and failed cast iron guarantees. Empty words JR, pure empty words.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        pure empty words indeed – his actions speak far louder alas all in the wrong direction.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Just beacause vested interests do not like the thought of decreases does not make it right to listen to them.

      I take it you’re referring to all the people on low incomes who are going to be made homeless because they Government suddenly decided that it was immoral to have too many empty bedrooms.

      I take it you’re not referring to all the millionaires with a vested interest in lowering the upper tax rate.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        I note as usual Uni you are carefully avoiding tackling the real question which was posed by Mr Redwood:-
        “Those who say they do not like Coalition attempts to reduce the pace of increase in benefit expenditure should tell us how much more than £209bn they wish to spend on benefits and tax credits, and where this money would come from”

        • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5 won’t answer the question because it would mean taking tough decisions. It’s far easier to print money and pay danegeld….

          zorro

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            It only means tough decisions if you have to cut. If you raise this money through taxation the decisions are far easier.

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          I did answer that question in one of my posts. I recommended reducing tax avoidance and evasion, maintaining the 50% tax rate, and cutting the benefits MPs get.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

            Uni
            Your manifesto wouldnt make much of a dent in the deficit let alone pay for all your spending plans

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            @uanime5
            How much extra money did the 50% tax raise?

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “reducing tax avoidance and evasion, ”

            Caught again, deliberately conflating ‘avoidance’ which is legal and only what any sane person should do, and evasion which is illegal.

            How would you ‘reduce’ avoidance?

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        It’s not immoral to have too many empty bedrooms.

        It may be immoral to ask other people to pay for them.

        • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Your comment shows a lack of understanding regarding this issue. What happens if someone has spare bedrooms but the only alternative accommodations will cost the taxpayer more money? Is it still immoral for this person to have empty bedrooms, even though it will save the taxpayer money?

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Your comment shows a lack of understanding regarding the meaning of the word “may”.

          • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            It is possible to get a lodger into that unused room Uni, even in rented and housing association property.
            A number of people I know have rented out their spare room giving someone a much needed home and getting a bit of extra money in the process.
            At a time there are many homeless and many unable to afford their own home this is a decent thing to encourage I would have thought.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:15 am | Permalink

        unanime–To describe 40% > 50% > 45% in the way that you do is a straightforward disgrace.

  9. Posted April 1, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I think your numbers are a bit short JR. In 11/12, according to PESA, the total across the seventeen departments that make payments or transfers that constitute “social protection” (COFOG 10 function of government), is £242.3 billion. The biggest lumps coming from the DWP at £160 billion; the Chancellor at £36.7 billion and the Health department at£15.8 billion.

    Tables 5.1 – 5.6 in PESA 2012, tell you the whole sorry mess of government spending; particularly 5.1 shows how there are always multiple departments all spending on any one function of government. This is where you need to start finding waste and duplication to improve efficiency IMHO.

  10. Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    ‘The forecast for 2013-14 is £180.4bn on social security benefits and £29bn on tax credits, an increase of 12.2% in cash terms. This is after the creation of many more new jobs and a small fall in the unemployment benefit claimant count….’

    Perhaps this might tell you something about the quality of all these jobs that are being created. Mostly low paid, state subsidised, and not high tech, qualified jobs which could help boost our economy rather than increase the waist size of most Britons……

    zorro

  11. Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    We are still being taxed at penal levels to pay for all these benefits but getting less and less in return. And all the while middle and upper management salaries and perks in the public sector continue to rise. Look at the adverts for highly paid non jobs which still proliferate. We pay these people the highest salaries in the world yet get very poor value for money. Why, for instance, do we pay Doctors £110,000 then allow them to sub out contracts to firms they own? Germany pays Doctors £50,000 and they have an excellent system which gives them real value for money.

    It’s the same right across the board with Town Clerks on up to £450,000 to sub out the bin collections, no other country on earth would countenance this yet all we hear about is some poor sod in Wakefield or Scunthorpe who is getting hammered and villified because he is on £57 per week benefits while the real villains become richer and richer at our expense.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      We have to pay doctors £110,000 because there’s a shortage of them. If it was more affordable to train to become a doctor, the working conditions were better (especially when an intern), and politicians didn’t keep blaming them for everything that goes wrong they might be willing to work for a lower salary.

      Also Parliament could easily place a cap on councillors wages but have chosen not to. make of that what you will.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        We pay doctors the salaries you have quoted because the last Government made a mess when negotiating their contracts, not because there is a shortage.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

          Edward–Dunno how anyone could argue with that–Well known that the Doctors’ negotiators thought Xmas had come early.

  12. Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    While in general I support the welfare changes I do think that there are a number of people on the fringes who will suffer as a result of them.

    However I also feel that the government missed a number of opportunities.

    1) Winter fuel allowance. This should as a minimum be taxed. Everyone living in a household where WFA is being claimed should declare that on their tax return. If this results in over taxation then it is quite simple to stop claiming WFA. More simple would be to get rid of WFA and adjust the already taxed state pension during the winter months.

    2) Similarly the free bus pass should be subject to income tax.

    3) The single person 25% reduction in council tax should be replaced by a fixed sum reduction equivalent to 25% of band C. This would create a small saving but more importantly give the allowance to those needing it most.

    4) National Insurance and other taxes that change their applicability with age should recognise the projected changes to the retiring age and only apply after the male retiring age. The bands of both types of NI should be raised and any loss recouped by increasing the higher 2% employees rate.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      1) What happens if people don’t fill out a tax return because they’re not self-employed? Also who would determine which are the winter months?

      2) How are free bus pass going to be subject to income tax when they’re not a form of income?

      3) Surely bands A and B are more deserving of a reduction than band C? I take it that you are in band C.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        1) You don’t have to be self employed to fill out a tax return. Most people in the 40% tax band complete one. If you worked my proposal through you would see that a household with three people paying 40% tax would actually lose out by having someone claiming the winter fuel allowance, although they can of course opt out. Believe me such families do exist.

        2) There is nothing to stop the government valuing a bus pass as having a particular value and asking on the tax return if a person has one.

        3) You have misunderstood my proposal. By every single occupant having a discount of 25% of the band C rate those on bands A and B would actually gain by having a bigger discount than currently. As to your accusation as to myself, my property is band D and I would lose out from my proposal.

  13. Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    At the general election, both the Conservatives and Lib Dems said they wanted to eliminate the deficit by the next election in 2015. George Osborne’s first budget had a plan to do exactly, based on the OBR’s forecasts. The OBR’s forecasts, however, were wildly inaccurate, yet Osborne won’t reduce spending any further as he says it will damage the economy, and the date for deficit elimination has thus been delayed by many years.

    I’d like to get Mr Redwood’s opinion on what Osborne would have done if the economic growth figures that have actually panned out over the past three years had actually been predicted accurately by the OBR in 2010. The Chancellor would presumably, to keep his election promise, have had to reduce spending much, much more. So, why can’t he do that now?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      This government were always unlikely to make any tough decisions once they climbed into bed with the Lib Dems. The OBR figures were fantasy when it was plain to lots of people on this blog that those growth rates were totally unachievable with the prevailing economic landscape mainly shaped by the debt overhang, bank restrictions on lending, over regulation, and submission to EU diktats. I do wonder why these people are paid so much money to churn out this economic propaganda…..oh wait.

      zorro

  14. Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    On the day I read of the German flee circus tragedy (500 killed by frost according to Ceefax) you lead so heartlessly with a comment on welfare reform.

    Shame on you, Mr Redwood.

  15. Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    It’s boring to keep saying this, but above all others George Osborne is to blame for the difficulties faced by the coalition government in cutting the budget deficit.

    In 2009 the Labour government was having to borrow about a quarter of all the money it was spending, and with private investors becoming wary about lending it more money it got the Bank of England to indirectly lend it £200 billion.

    The present government is still having to borrow about a sixth of all the money it is spending, it has already got the Bank to lend it another £175 billion rather than asking private investors to increase the total of their lending by that amount, and it may well need to do more of that.

    I don’t assume that anybody will pay much attention to anything I say, but in the late spring of 2009 I did warn on this blog that the Labour government’s use of this novel funding device would have political as well as economic consequences.

    Osborne’s failure to explain it to the general public and hammer home the message that the government cannot carry on borrowing vast sums forever, not even from the Bank of England, was not only the most important single reason why the Tory party failed to get an overall majority in 2010 but also left the public largely unprepared for what would need to be done after the election.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Once he failed to even present this very simple message, it was clear that the Coalition was going to be a disappointment…..

      zorro

  16. Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Ironic that Labour chose Liam Byrne, the ‘there’s no money left’ minister to tell us that the ‘tax’ was so harsh.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      It looks like he has to make his own morning cappuccinos and lunch time soups these days…..

      zorro

  17. Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you for detailing again the cuts propaganda nonsense.

    A few random points – a businesslike approach in 2010 would have been to freeze welfare payments for the Parliament and limit child allowance for future births to two children with payments frozen indefinitely. Of course the chance of this happening with Cameron and his Libdem Government was nil.

    A woman on the BBC recently was mantraing the benefits of immigration, regrettably the BBC interviewer failed to raise the indigenous unemployment arithmetic – probably 4 million totally, partially or involuntarily unemployed and probably 4 million legal and illegal immigrants since 1997. Certainly weekly, sometimes daily, there are instance of hundreds and thousands of job seekers queueing to be interviewed for a small number of mundane jobs. You do not have to be an economics professor to know this involuntary indigenous unemployment has a huge welfare cost. Roll on 2014.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      freeze welfare payments – including state pensions.

      • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        The basic state pension is not a welfare payment.

        Look, suppose that we phased out the compulsory collective state pension scheme and instead let each person keep their own money and invest it in their own personal pension scheme, would you then still claim that the pensions they received were “welfare”?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      John has previously suggested a one year freeze on spending with allied measures could have led to the Coalition spending £180bn less over the last three years. A two year freeze would have saved a lot more……This policy allied with more competitive banks and a looser money policy would have facilitated some more economic activity to create revenue to get the annual budget deficit closer to balance.

      zorro

  18. Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I have just been listening to the ‘quiet man’. The increase in welfare of course will be equal to the number of immigrants since then or will it?

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      The annoying thing is that these reforms do not appear to be saving much money….

      zorro

  19. Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    There is a great reluctance by non print media to highlight the abuses and excesses of the welfare payments. TV stations leapt with glee on the expression “bedroom tax” some without even qualifying it and featured sobbing claimants who would lose out without touching upon those kept out of housing by under occupation. Do you ever see it mentioned that teenage single mothers will have an “income” equivalent to £25,000 to £30,000 or more gross if housing benefit is included and that this is therefore a “career” option for some young girls? Do you ever see in a play or a soap a family where nobody works or has the slightest intention of ever working? Everyone is painted as a victim of the cruel state and no claimant is ever asked any difficult questions. They seem to approve and accept that it is OK for people to refuse low paid jobs and opt for life on benefits instead. The costs of this are to the Country are never mentioned.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      all typical “BBC think”.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Many people who aren’t working cannot work because they are disabled or have a disabled child. I’m guessing that you also feel that they should be punished for failing to live up to the standards of your right wing fantasy world.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Are you telling us people with disbilities or people who have disabled family members cannot work, Uni?
        Some of the best staff in our company have disabilities and or have children with disablities to deal with and still manage to work and support themselves.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:24 am | Permalink

          Edward–Absolutely right–My experience as a fellow director years ago watching a friend who owns his own company (and I admit I was at first surprised) was that without the slightest question disabled people worked twice as hard and didn’t know what time off sick meant. It is not difficult to understand that perhaps for obvious reasons they felt the need to overcompensate. Unanime gets the wrong end of every stick.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Problem being for your bigoted fantasy that there is in fact very few families like this. As in where none work. You think you can paint this picture to cut all benefits,

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Plainly you are wrong Baz
        The statistics show there are many hundreds of thousands of households where no one has worked for several generations.
        Its not their fault.
        If I was paid near enough what I earn after tax and getting to work costs to stay at home then I would be tempted to give up work.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          I think you will find this does not stand up whatsoever. Hundreds of thousands for several generations? Fantasy not worth going into.

          • Posted April 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            Well Baz, I had a look in The Guardian, so it must be right, and they quoted in a recent article, a piece of research done by Bristol University on long term unemployment.
            They said there were approx 3.7million working age households in the UK
            They said there were 18% of these homes where no one in them had a job
            This is 666,000 homes
            They also said there were 1% of households where more than one generation in them had never worked.
            Which is 37,000 homes
            But they added that in many multi generational unemployed families the younger and older generations may have moved out into multiple different homes eg teenage daughters with children living in their own home nearby or older family members moving out to live on their own.
            Just quoting.

          • Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

            Don’t try to use the Guardian for Daily Mail propaganda. A quick Google soon tell the facts of workless Britain. Most benefits are paid to people and families that work.

  20. Posted April 1, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    In today’s Telegraph Bruce Anderson puts this in a sensible and realistic light. The benefits issue is one where the left led media is most at variance with the public. The general public dislike the dependency culture. If people are suddenly thrown onto welfare though they find it is anything but generous to those who do not know how to work the system.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Given how many people claim benefits because they’re unemployed, claim benefits because they work in low paid jobs, or have relatives in these circumstances it seems that the left is more in touch with people than the right. Which is why this decision has become a major problem for the Conservatives.

      • Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        So why, if they are so much more in touch with the poor, did the “Left” spend all the money so there was none left? And why did a Labour minister choose to boast about it? They must have known that there would be negative consequences for all, especially the more vulnerable in our society.

        Are you saying they have made peoples lives so much more difficult on purpose, for purely political reasons?

  21. Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Expanding the welfare state will lead to the destruction of that state.

    “Simples”.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Given that lack of evidence to support your claim and the fact that many Scandinavian countries are able to function with far larger welfare states than the UK it’s clear that you’re wrong.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        It might work in one or two low population nations where the majority have high average income levels.
        But the figures don’t seem to add up in any of the major industrialised nations like the UK where even with high overall levels of taxation added to borrowing £130 billion per year , the State is spending one pound in three on welfare which is rising every year.

  22. Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a Liberal Democrat saying what Osborne should have been saying, again and again and again, in 2009:

    http://playpolitical.typepad.com/liberal_democrats/2013/04/the-lib-dems-steve-webb-on-todays-welfare-reforms-all-governments-would-have-to-be-making-these-sort.html

    “When the government spent four pounds for every three pounds it raises in tax, you simply can’t go on like that”

    “The equivalent of half of all what we spend on welfare at the moment is borrowed money”

    But why didn’t Clegg say anything like that during the TV debates before the general election?

    It’s a pity that even now Steve Webb can’t go on and tell the rest of this unpalatable truth, that to fund its massive budget deficit the government has had to resort to borrowing from the Bank of England under the guise of “quantitative easing”, and that because it has failed to reduce the deficit fast enough it may well have to do more of that in the future.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      The truth that dare not speak its name………(My forecast of just north of £500bn by 2015 still stands)

      zorro

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        £500 billion would only be another £125 billion, and that sounds quite plausible, especially now that Osborne has allowed the Labour party to move their argument on from:

        “It’s not about monetising the debt, it’s about stimulating the economy”

        to

        “It is about monetising the debt, but that’s OK and let’s do more of it”

        and even it ends up with the Bank of England going bust.

  23. Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Sir. If your figures are correct, and I have no doubt they are, why not get your illustrious leader to broadcast the truth.
    I am totally sick of their innuendo, half truths and downright lies, in support of their secret paymasters, the Unions.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, left a phrase out but cannot edit it.

  24. Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Sir. If your figures are correct, and I have no doubt they are, why not get your illustrious leader to force the BBC to broadcast the truth, on pain of having their charter removed.
    I am totally sick of their innuendo, half truths and downright lies, in support of their secret paymasters, the Unions.

  25. Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for pointing out the true figures so very clearly.

    The big question is this: nobody likes spinning by politicians, but someone in touch with the press who can actually hand over the truth (not lies) would surely be a good idea?

  26. Posted April 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    John most people object to the “bedroom tax” because it punishes the most vulnerable for having spare rooms even when they’re unable to move because there aren’t any properties available with fewer rooms. They also object to the Government pretending that this only effects “scourgers” when it harms many people who are currently working in low paid jobs.

    Your attempts to pretend that predicted increases in welfare spending by the Government shows that the Government cares about the least fortunate is fooling no one. Welfare spending is going up because the number of unemployed people able to claim benefits is rising, the number of people able to claim benefits because they work in a low paid jobs is rising, the number of people claiming housing benefit because property prices are unaffordable is rising, and the number of unemployed people hidden from the unemployment statistic using the work programme is rising. In other words welfare costs are rising because the Government has turned a blind eye to falling salaries and rising property prices.

    Regarding how the Coalition could raise more money how about not cutting the tax rate for millionaires, introducing a mansion tax, and not giving MPs £100 per week to spend on food. You could also lower MPs’s salaries to £53 per week, which the millionaire Ian Duncan Smith claims he can live on.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9964767/Iain-Duncan-Smith-I-could-live-on-53-per-week.html

    Reply Unemployment is falling and employment is rising. Many people who used to claim disability benefit no longer do so.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Maybe if they really are unable to move or there are special circumstances then they should be given permission to use the spare room for a lodger and so recoup their loss through the so-called “bedroom tax”.

      I say that as somebody who as a student lodged with a council house tenant, with the knowledge and consent of the local authority.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      ‘In other words welfare costs are rising because the Government has turned a blind eye to falling salaries and rising property prices.’……There is some truth in this.

      zorro

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      John here is an article about unemployment from May 2010 which states that unemployment is 2.51 million.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10109965

      Here is an article from March 2013 which states that unemployment is 2.52 million.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10604117

      So unemployment hasn’t fallen at all in 3 years.

      Also fewer people are able to claim disability benefit because the criteria was made more onerous, not because they magically got better.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21006365

      Reply Claimant count unemployment – the opne that matters for the welfare bill – fell from 1.62 m 2009-10 to 1.57m this year (Red Books)

  27. Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Further to my earlier comments, yet to pass moderation

    I see we had another report in The Sunday Times yesterday about a claiment subletting a paid for Benefit property.

    Apparently the £2 million Apartment (yes the taxpayer actually pays to subsidise this sort of property) in Central London, was able to sub let it for £4,000 per week to tourists.

    John, I do not know how much of this is going on, probably not much, (or is it the tip of a giant iceburg) but this just sums up how completely and utterly out of control the system has become.

    Questions:

    Why on earth are we even considering subsidising and paying for this sort of property for anyone, no matter what their circumstances.
    What financial checks had been completed on the claiment.
    What checks had been made on their previous residential state.
    Did anyone check for any past references.
    Why did anyone even consider granting approval for this property.
    Were any regular visits to the property completed.
    For how long would the claiment be allowed to have this sort of subsidy.
    Is there any sort of time limit on such a claim.

    If further investigation proves the above report is correct (I give the benefit of doubt to the claiment here until it is proven without question)
    Will there now be any income tax investigation on the claiment.
    Will they be banned from any future taxpayer subsidy.
    Will they be prosecuted.

    What will it take before someone gets a grip with this absolutely chaotic, overcomplicated, financial mess and farce of a system.

    This is not a safety net were people are in dire need to help them get over short term problems, it seems to be just a money pit for those who simply want and seemingly can, manipulate and abuse the system.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      And what would a taxpaying working citizen have to earn to be able to afford such a property without the landlord subsidy?

      May I suggest the adoption of the term “Landlord Subsidy” to describe HB, I’m sure the unbiased BBC will quickly adopt this description of HB as such in all their reports of matters relating to it. Because they are so scrupulously unbiased you know, they never tire of telling us.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I believe that if you work in a low paying job in a high cost area you’re eligible for housing benefit if housing costs are a certain percentage of your salary. You can claim this benefit as long as you’re working. This was allowed so that low paid workers, such as cleaners, would be able to work in large parts of London that would be unprofitable if they has to pay travel costs.

      Regarding financial checks they’re carried out but as I said if the rent on this apartment is likely to represent a large part of your income it’s likely that you’d be granted housing benefit. You don’t need references to get housing benefit and it would be difficult to visit the house of every person claiming housing benefit. This is why giro drops are rarely discovered.

      Regarding the law it will depend upon the facts of the case and the DWP’s policy regarding what you can do with this property.

      Finally if people are going to have their benefits reduced for having empty rooms expect more subletting to occur.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Why would subletting be such a bad idea? The government says it is trying to fill the empty bedrooms. We just need people who sublet not to claim housing benefit on the rooms they sublet and where necessary to declare any income above the minimum allowed.
        I know two families who are planning to move in with parents thus freeing up two three bedroom council houses as a result of the “bedroom tax”. Another way of acheiving the governments objective.

  28. Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I think if we brought back tax relief on private healthcare that Labour abolished it would ease the strain now and in the future of the NHS. The NHS will have to decide what it won’t cater for in future, we are in a lala land where that is concerned and also public sector pensions.

    There should be a nominal employer contribution there of say 12% which is a desirable private sector funding, the accrual rate can be based on aggregate collective fund performance. It would give all workers the same focus rather than the public sector demanding the private sector pay their pensions no matter what the economics and growth. It would engender common purpose when it comes to economic growth rather than 6 million being sheltered from it.

    I think it can be done, the messages from the unions are that the pension is bad anyway, they would jump at a chance of a 12% employer nominal contribution.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Given that under the new system private treatment can be paid for by the NHS there’s no reason to bring back tax relief on private healthcare.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Uni,
        There is because a good reason to bring back tax relief to encourage people to have private health insurance, because using your example, if you had private health insurance cover your treatment would be paid for by the insurance company rather than the State.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:31 am | Permalink

        unanime–Except that it is obviously morally correct and makes all the sense in the world to encourage people to be independent of the State.

  29. Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The answer, John, is that the increase is almost entirely due to dramatic increase in spending on pensioners. The state pension and additional freebies are rising and rising in cost.

    The other way you could make a real dent in welfare is actually get the unemployment rate down. 1/2 a million fewer unemployed would do wonders for welfare spending.

    How about limiting child benefit and tax credits to the first 3 children for all future claims. Cancel additional freebies for pensioners. Reorganise council tax so it’s not regressive. Abolish working tax credit (and use the money to push up the tax allowance).

    Try Taking steps that aren’t mean-spirited and target the poorest the worst.

    Reply: The 5.2% increase in a previous year applied to all benefits, not just pensioner benefits and pensions.

  30. Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Tory cuts, even when they are increasing expenditure, are very bad things, as you ought to know.

  31. Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Chancellor and IDS have written a puff piece in the Telegraph about wanting the system to encourage those who wish to provide of themselves. Perhaps you could ask Mr. Osborne why, if this is the case, he is continuing to penalise those who have wished to provide for themselves by saving.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      You could also ask why the “bedroom tax” applies to those who are working if this benefit cut is meant to make those who work better off.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Because Uni, there are many people looking for a home who could find one if these spare rooms were brought into use.
        Quite a decent thing to encourage I would have thought.
        Lodgers can also be a profitable extra income for the householder.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 4:34 am | Permalink

        unanime–It is plain and simply ridiculous to give people Council houses bigger than they need, and that’s apart from the question whether the State should be paying additionally for uncontrolled numbers of children in this way.

  32. Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    No expansion in the welfare state is acceptable, justifiable, or even possible. This is a monster which must be slain. When the bath tub is overflowing, and the house is flooding, the first thing you need to do is turn the blimmin tap off. Then you pull the plug out. Why are politicians so incapable of running a bloody bath?

    So what is the first thing you should deal with? Your own summer recess. Cancel it. Parliament has far too much prior delinquency to make amends for. Get the plumbing fixed. You can have last week of July, and first week of August for your happy holidays. Outside of that, parliamentary noses to the grindstone.

    What we need is a massive cut in the welfare system. And it has to take effect before we get overwhelmed by eastern European immigrants on Jan 1st next year. So. No welfare at all unless you are a citizen of the UK or the EU. Bring that in by the end of June.

    Next, no welfare at all, unless you have been continuously resident for at least 15 years. Bring that in before you break up end of July.

    Then we need to give notice to our own deadbeats, that pretty soon that 15 year qualification period will shift from continuous residence, to continuous residence plus cumulative full time employment. And if they can’t meet the criteria, we will turn off the money spigot. And make it clear that just getting pregnant and presenting us with helpless babies as hostages won’t work any more because we will take that baby away from you and have it adopted, and dump you back in your bedsit. By October please. To take effect before April in the following year.

    Finally, I am rapidly approaching pensionable age, having worked and paid tax and NI for best part of 40 years. During that span, rather too many of my cohort spent their entire lives idling at the expense of the taxpayer. They still are. Let us lose our notions of the “something for nothing” generation. We have something for nothing dynasties, going right back to the 60s and 70s. Lazy old men, and lazy old women. Now trading off our default condition of reverence for old age. Well that was predicated on the substrate of our veterans of two world wars and the great depression. But wise up, that generation of heroes is long gone. The pensioners of today can be quite sharply divided, between the contributors, and the parasites. Just because the parasites spent their lives luxuriating in the expectation of irrevocable state largesse, doesn’t mean they should get it forever. Nobody signed a contract with them for that. So among pensioners up to the age of seventy five, restrict the pension and all other benefits to those who have earned it. Leave the rest to the tender mercies of their offspring, and the charities. By April next year please, to take effect in April of the following year.

    Then you can have Good Friday, and Easter Sunday off. And I will give you a free Simnel cake. And an Easter egg.

    • Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      All your plan will result in is increased amounts of crime and homelessness. There are not enough jobs available for everyone to work so there will always be people who need welfare whether the state provides it or not.

      • Posted April 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I have to say Uni that I find your opinion that those who are not well off will turn and become criminals, is a dreadful and totally unfair slur on the 99.9% of honest decent working people I have ever met.

      • Posted April 3, 2013 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        uanime5
        Posted April 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink
        All your plan will result in is increased amounts of crime …
        ——-
        Translation: If you don’t give us the money we demand, we will attack the law- abiding public and steal their money.

        ( etc etc ed)

  33. Posted April 2, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    HE HE HE not going to even answer your question as it is a joke that you have to ask, DC and his party are where they are because they made us beleave they knew what to do. Hmmm how wrong we all are, would be typing all day to answer some of the dribblee on this thread. The change now needs to start right at the bottom and rebuild we all know there is only one way to do that. Bye Bye Europe we make our own rules and laws for example Prison sentences should not cost what they do this is and easy one to fix!!! (Prison now is a holiday for some Protection for others a joke to those paying for it.

  34. Posted April 2, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Most people know of benefit cheats. (Gives an example – I have removed words which might identify the people-ed) A couple with 2 children, the girlfriend/mother had a free housing courtesy of the housing association, child benefits for the kids, her benefits (claiming to be a single parent), her boyfriends benefits, a council house they sublet that belonged to her boyfriend. They were raking the money in – when she had her kids she claimed a cash amount available to new mothers, for both her kids in her name and her boyfriends surname (how the hell did she get away with that ?) worse – she was open about ti all, even giving people tips…

    What annoys me is hearing how fraud is only 1% of claims etc… sorry but no one believes that, and if they were able to pinpoint it so easily then they would have to know who is and who is not a benefit cheat… something that obviously is not the case.

    My gym, has fingerprint recognition systems to record people clocking in and out – if a private gym can afford this – why can the welfare system not pool together and ensure there are not multiple claims by the same person in different Job centres, or claiming 2-3 council houses by going to separate authorities and using different names ? The system is a joke.

    Reply: If you know of benefit cheating you can advise the authorities who can investigate if there is evidence.

  35. Posted April 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I would prefer a blog on ‘Contracting Welfare’ (see, for example, my response to ‘What do people do in retirement?’).

  36. Posted April 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    A fact often overlooked that welfare in whatever form especially incapacity benefit in high areas of unemployment is seen as a form of income. Rightly or wrongly this is the way it is and unless more jobs in these areas can be created either by the government paying for them or paying for benefits the result is the same. Some areas have historically relied on government contracts and are geographically isolated. Barrow-in Furness a prime example of this. Are all these ex shipyard workers supposed to go and live five to a room/car to compete with young East Europeans. Even the East Europeans are thin on the ground in this town due to the lack of work. Any work. Hence the high levels of incapacity and disability claims. Can’t find work gets depressed claims incapacity benefit. Like it or not that is the way it is. The shipyard made thousands redundant, being resourceful the men worked in call centers. The call centers shut. Then what? They became resourceful at surviving. The rest who were young enough left. Unemployment in London? A monkey could get a job there this is true. Other reasons for unemployment. Barrow? No work. I can easily find work in Cambridgeshire. Barrow? No chance. By the way is it irresponsible to have children when the shipyard is desperate to recruit and has a lot of work? No it is not. Now they have had the rug pulled out. You expect benefit cuts to incentive them to compete with Eastern Europe? Ram it.

    • Posted April 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      You make a very fair argument on this Baz and it needs a multi part programme by Government and local Councils and businesses.
      One part which reshapes benefits to make working worthwhile and one part which offers retraining and one part which gives incentives for companies to set up in areas you have described.
      Some old industry areas have improved greatly:- Dudley, Coventry Swansea etc where they have reinvented themselves, but otheres as you say are still languishing badly and need more joined up help

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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