Universal credit and better incomes

Yesterday Labour organised another debate on Universal Credit.

The idea behind the reform is to simplify the complex benefits system, ensure financial support for those who need it, and to make it easier to get into work. Labour used to support the general aims of the reform, but they now want to slow down its implementation.
The government reports that people find faster routes into work from Universal Credit which is designed to make it always worthwhile working. They estimate another 250,000 getting into work as Universal Credit is rolled out.

Universal Credit provides a basic income for those out of work, and tops up incomes of those in lower paid work. It gives people more if they have children, if they are disabled, and if they need help with housing costs. The aim is no-one in our society should be unable to afford normal living costs, ending up homeless or cold or hungry.

Promoting work helps people achieve higher incomes. Benefit is withdrawn in a way which leaves people better off as they work more hours or take on better paid work. There is every incentive to get a job, get a better job and move to full time working from part time employment. Labour are right to speak out for people who are stuck in low pay employment or in underemployment. The government shares their wish to help people move into something better, and supports the aim of giving them benefit to top up inadequate incomes.

The best way to raise living standards is to help, mentor and train people so they can get into better paid work. Quite often it is easier to get into better paid work from less well paid work, or into a full time job from a part or contract job. That is why we need a benefit top up system that is flexible and helps people when they have need of financial support. A growing economy, and an economy that is thriving with growing companies in new and advanced areas of work, is the best ally of getting people higher living standards.

Meanwhile there have been some welcome improvements in the scheme following lobbying and consultation. More money will be made available earlier for claimants, with the 7 day waiting period going in February. Claimants will be told the housing component in any benefit they receive can be paid directly to landlords if they wish. Interest free advances of credit will be available to new claimants, as it is paid monthly in arrears.


  1. Lifelogic
    December 6, 2017

    You say – “Benefit is withdrawn in a way which leaves people better off as they work more hours or take on better paid work.”

    Well perhaps, but not by very much at all. Perhaps not at all if they have addition travel or child care costs (that are not tax allowable). Unless perhaps you are in Parliament or the Lords where they are paid tax free in addition to salary.

    Many people pay circa £5K PA in travel costs, so someone on say £40K PA might actually make a net income from work after costs, tax and NI, lunch out, childcare, different clothing and childcare of far less that half of this sum. Some of these cast should be tax allowable as they are clearly only incurred by working.

    1. jerry
      December 6, 2017

      @LL; Much of what you say are additional costs should be the responsibility of the employer, if specific clothing is required to do the work then that should be supplied by the employer. Also, even today, a Suit is not only worn for work.

      As for travel costs, that is a known-known when someone applies for the job, if an applicant will not be able to afford the cost of travel they should not apply in the first place, or at least not accept the job offer! If a company relocates during the persons contracted employment that is a different matter, with far to many variable’s to list here.

      In the past it wasn’t unusual for employers to offer nursery/play group at the place of work where the need arose, for others there were tax-payer funded provision by way of LA provided day-care for children of working parents – also not forgetting that most working mothers used to do part time work that fitted in with primary and junior school hours.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 6, 2017

        Indeed but there are real additional cost of getting to and from work and of working and indeed the substantial additional costs in having far less time to shop efficiently or do your own house/car repairs.

        These are real cost of working and are not even tax allowable so even on a low wage you can often keep less than 50% of your earnings. Then you pay a further 20% on VAT when you spend it and have to buy very overpriced green crap energy on top. The basic problem is the UK is very over taxed and for very little in the way of public services of any real value or quality.

        Many are quite rationally given the system choosing not to work or to work rather less.

        Pay someone to fix you car it might cost many times more than doing it yourself due to all cut for the government in the loop. Even if you do it rather less efficiently.

        1. Hope
          December 7, 2017

          May agree, before being scuppered by the DUP, to allow EU citizens to continue to export their benefits now and in the future and for future children not born in the UK! Also family members allowed to come here, presumably with the same rights attached! While May tells British citizens she cannot afford adult social care! Yet those from he EU she can! JR please explain how this could be possibly viewed as not being a bad deal? The Uk must walk away. Unlike Grayling and Hammond stated the UK should not borrow and pay £50 billion to the EU to walk away. Idiots.

    2. Hope
      December 6, 2017

      JR, we need to wean people off the welfare test and stand on their own feet. However, if EU citizens have a right of redress to the ECJ on any issue the EU controls the U.K. Because the govt will not let EU citizens here be better off than their own! This therefore applies to all aspects of life. Davis now admitting regulatory alignment which in English means staying in the single market without a say how decisions are reached! Or how an EU official an EU protectorate without a say how rules are made! Has he and May lost the effing plot?

      Your readers reflect the public mood, no deal walk away. May is trying to keep us in the EU by another name with the civil service using clever words and phrases to disguise the reality. Regulatory alignment is staying in the single market which means it effects our ability to make trade deals with the world or too expensive for business to have two sets of rules! Is Davis that stupid? Perhaps his ego or sight for PM blinds him. He is not and will never Be PM, that boat sailed years ago.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 6, 2017

        Brexit means Brexit in name only it seems to this government, not in reality.

      2. jerry
        December 6, 2017

        @Hope: “we need to wean people off the welfare test and stand on their own feet.”

        Fine, then let’s scrap all corporate, employer and employee tax allowances etc, after all they are simply in-work “welfare” by another name…

        1. libertarian
          December 6, 2017


          Totally agree, simplify the tax system, make it all one tax, dont offer any loopholes , stop in work benefits.

        2. Narrow Shoulders
          December 6, 2017

          Tax allowances allow the retention of retained earning through legal means.
          Welfare is a handout of someone else’s or borrowed money.
          NI based state pension is not a benefit (indeed it can even be taxed which other benefits are not).

          1. jerry
            December 7, 2017

            @NS; No, tax allowances etc. are just in-work welfare by another name – in the same way as Philanthropy is simply charitable giving by another name.

          2. Narrow Shoulders
            December 7, 2017

            @Jerry wrong.

            Keeping your own money is not welfare

          3. jerry
            December 7, 2017

            @NS; Fine, but by that same rational it means that almost all welfare payments are the recipients (or parents/partners) own money being returned, having been previously lent to the govt. via direct or indirect taxation.

        3. Edward2
          December 6, 2017

          Fine as long as the State allow companies to charge hourly costs for acting as free tax collectors for NI PAYE Statutory Sick Pay Maternity Pay and many other obligations the State gets companies to to their admin for free.
          It works both ways.

  2. Duncan
    December 6, 2017

    I for one am only concerned with how your leader is abusing our democracy vis a vis Brexit. I am not concerned with how Labour abuse welfare as part of their victim-based political strategy. They’ve been doing this for years and the Tories continually fail to expose their scams simply because they’ve have become a gutless political entity

    When my party play’s Labour’s game of ‘garner the victim for he owns a vote’ I start to lose interest in politics

    Get us out the EU. Hit back at Labour’s tactic of cultivating fear and abusing the idea of compassion and concern for your fellow man for political gain. Then expose Labour for trying to turn human beings into political capital.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 6, 2017

      Indeed it is depressing to see how many of the youth were taken in by Corbyn’s worthless, magic money tree, promises that would destroy the economy in very short order. But then the Tories do nothing to counter or make the case, under May they just copy Corbyn’s policies a little bit.

      1. Hope
        December 6, 2017

        May wants to slyly slip off and tie the U.K. to the EU. Giving the ECJ control over every aspect of life here. If it applies to EU citizens the U.K. Will follow for its own citizens, regulatory alignment means staying in the single market without being able to comment on how the rules are made! As an EU official puts it, an EU protectorate without a say how the rules are made!

        Get May back and oust her, she is an embarrassment to the country. May has become untrustworthy as well as incompetent. Davis and the chief civil service negotiator need to be sacked.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 6, 2017

          More to the point May is a huge electoral liability that will lumber the country with disaster of Corbyn and his appalling shadow cabinet.

          But replaced by whom and how could it be done?

        2. Hope
          December 6, 2017

          Good piece in Guido about civil servants Hayward and Robbins, May being too reliant and too trusting with them or using them to bypass to slyly get stay in by another name with Hammond to dupe leave ministers?

          Either way May broke the trust of 17.4 million people and two political parties, DUP and Tories, she needs to be ousted. Ask her to leave quietly in the national interest and impose a leave PM Leadsome. She appeared to be the only one with guile and wit to voice concerns over the EU’s Florence speech. Which paved the way for Monday’s shoddy slimline back hand deal thankfully stopped by the DUP.

          Reading the text in Guido, who in their mind could believe this would not tie the U.K. To the EU without a voice. Leaving the way open to return to get our alleged voice back!
          Like her dementia tax, slimy underhand behaviour.

          1. cornishstu
            December 6, 2017

            To me it is starting to look more like associate membership in sheep’s clothing which is not what we voted for. A free trade deal would be nice but not essential and definitely not at the expense of our sovereignty and taxpayers wallet.

    2. Ian Wragg
      December 6, 2017

      Labour relies on a client state for its support.
      Much as the job centres don’t find anyone jobs as they would be out of a job.
      So now we have it. Prime Minister and Chancellor siding with Brussels to keep us within their grasp.
      Regulatory alignment being a euphemism for staying in the EU without representation.
      Government by fax it think it was described.
      Traitors is too good a word for them.

      1. hans chr iversen
        December 6, 2017


        lots of emotions and views but no facts or constructive ideas for a good alternative.

        You would be served well by being more factual and constructive and it might even help your mood?

        1. libertarian
          December 6, 2017


          We already democratically decided the alternative. Leave, walk away, pay nothing. We want hard borders, out of the internal market in goods, out of the customs union and protectionism.

          On the jobs front, no more welfare without work, there should be minimum hours worked for the state handout.

        2. NickC
          December 6, 2017

          Hans, You should apply your strictures to yourself.

      2. stred
        December 6, 2017

        What the hell is this stuff about the need for regulatory alignment and being a protectorate? We already send stuff to the EU which complies with their regulations and will have to anyway. Fact4EU has shown that only a small proportion of trade goes between North and South and they will have free movement just as since 1921. What more do they want to talk about trade, put stars around the Union Jack or send Verhofshat a new Aston Martin? Is May ok?

    3. JoolsB
      December 6, 2017

      Well said Duncan!!!

    4. Bob
      December 6, 2017

      Well said Duncan, hear hear!

    5. Chris
      December 6, 2017

      Another supporter here, Duncan. I am ashamed of the sort of Party the Conservative Party has turned into. Who does it think it is representing – left Liberal/Labour lite?

  3. Mark B
    December 6, 2017

    Good morning

    I think it is important that work is seen to pay. Lower taxes and NIC’s for those on low incomes is a must. But better paid jobs can only come when demand for certain skill are needed. Getting cheaper people from elsewhere helps no one except the employers. We do not need Eastern Europeans serving in shops. All well and good if the have skills and education that we cannot easily get ourselves. It is a simple case of demand and supply. So thanks to the freedom of movement there clearly has been over supply in the lower skill Labour market. Hopefully the government will one day recognise this and actually do something about it.

    1. behindthefrogs
      December 6, 2017

      I agree that those on low incomes should not be paying NICs. The priority should be to raise the lower limit for NICs rather than the lower level for income tax. The objective should be that anyone earning the minimum wage should pay neither NICs nor income tax.

      The employer’s NICs limit should be raised to support rises in the minimum wage

  4. Iain Gill
    December 6, 2017

    There are quite a lot of sound recordings on YouTube capturing conversations between claimants and jobcentres and DWP. It would be worth listening to some of these before claiming that the system works.

  5. jerry
    December 6, 2017

    “Labour used to support the general aims of the reform, but they now want to slow down its implementation.”

    Many people support the general aims of the reform, the problems only started with the detail and implementation! For example six weeks without claimants being able to pay their rent for example was nothing but devoiced from reality, incompetency on the part of the DWP (never mind lumping in all those who have been denied PIPs).

    “The government reports that people find faster routes into work from Universal Credit which is designed to make it always worthwhile working.”

    In to work, real work, or just a UTR number and perhaps fake self-employment or even simply off the radar completely, relying (hopefully) upon family or their partner’s income, and lets not forget the more sinister and socially problematic alternatives, from simple dossing on the streets to active criminal activity.

    “Promoting work helps people achieve higher incomes.”

    Great, but there needs to be real jobs to take, not just some vague promise in a (zero hours) contract, and this all forgets that people need to be in a position to take such jobs, hence why people kicked off PIPs so often have problems, anti (disability) discrimination laws can only go so far.

    “Quite often it is easier to get into better paid work from less well paid work”

    Assuming that it is a part-time job, otherwise getting time off to go to interviews might be a problem…

    “That is why we need a benefit top up system that is flexible and helps people when they have need of financial support.”

    From what I said at the time, the system was plenty flexible enough in the 1970s, indeed perhaps to flexible, and that was before mass-computerisation of the system, claimants could sign on and off almost at will. All that the DWP needed to do was to tweak the rules on hours, as applied to part-time work (and adult education courses), not a complete rewrite as the ex Secretary of State chose.

    “Interest free advances of credit will be available to new claimants, as [UC] is paid monthly in arrears.”

    In this day and age it should take no more than a 7 days to process any but the most complex of claims, meaning that the DWP could carry on paying no more than two weeks in arrears – much as the previous system. Also does DWPs rational for monthly payments (in arrears), that most people are paid monthly, actually cut any mustard, plenty of people are still paid weekly.

    If the government doesn’t start listening fully, UC (not Brexit) is going to be their “Poll Tax” moment.

  6. Fedupsoutherner
    December 6, 2017

    Duncan, I’m glad you feel the same. Universal credit might be important but not as critical as Brexit is at the moment. If it is true that May has tried to force through a soft exit without the approval of the ministers that are for leaving then she HAS to go for the integrity of the party. What was the point in going through the expenses of court cases versus Gina Miller if this government is going yo go against what we were promised when we voted in the referendum? On the government’s own leaflet it clearly stated what we were voting for. We are not idiots. It looks like we are going to get the worst deal imaginable now. Paying to belong to a dinasoar club for trade and having no say in how its run. Well done! If I’m not mistaken, you got the most comments ever yesterday John. Surely that tells you something. Are any of you going to stand up and tell Parliament just what the mood of the people is?? We are furious that we have been betrayed. Mr Farage spoke more truth than the whole of your party’s cabinet are at the moment. Sickening is the only way to describe it. How will the rest of the democratic countries look at us now?

    1. Nig l
      December 6, 2017

      If you think Brexit is more important than universal credit, try telling that to a family with no/low income, no savings etc potentially not knowing where their next meal is coming from because of rules, system glitches, the ludicrous 6 week waiting time etc.

      Frankly you are out of touch as has been much of the Tory party, hence being known as nasty. Fortunately matters are being put right, what a pity that it needed Corbyn to shame Theresa May into taking action.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        December 6, 2017


        Sorry if you feel like that. I am fed up with my husband working all the hours God sends for a mediocre wage while our neighbours husband works 16 hours and has a great lifestyle because of tops ups all because he has two children. When we brought up our children we either earned the money we needed or we went without. Simple. So yes, I do consider Brexit to be more important at the moment for all our futures!

    2. Timaction
      December 6, 2017

      Mr Farage and UKIP are, have been, will only ever be the party to tell the truth a represent the people of THIS Country. I hope that’s sinking in now. It has probably taken treacherous events like now to show the electorate once and for all we need to clear the swamp of Westminster and its Civil Servants who are all infected with the same anti English, pro EU federalist sentiment!
      Its time for those who claim to be anti EU to remove May!!

    3. oldtimer
      December 6, 2017

      It looks like a sellout. May , Heywood and Robbins have, it seems, sought to stitch up the Cabinet and the rest of us by agreeing to wording that keeps the UK in the EU in all but name (see Guido Fawkes on the wording of the draft text). My suspicions have been confirmed.

    4. Doug Powell
      December 6, 2017

      What many people are forgetting (especially the PM) is that the Vote to leave the EU was a National decision, not a Party one. The Nation owns Brexit, certainly not the Conservative Party! Once it is seen as a Party issue, it is doomed!
      Many, many Labour supporters voted LEAVE. If the Tories fail to remember this they will rue the day! They have the duty to deliver a Peoples’ Brexit so often well-expressed by JR, then there would be many grateful former Labour supporters who would no doubt show their appreciation at the ballot box.
      70% of constituencies won by Labour voted LEAVE. Former ship builders of the North East, former textile workers from the North West, and engineering workers from the Midlands have nothing in common with the Hampstead, Islington and Camden PC mafia. Many votes are there for the taking once, what might be called the Peoples’ Brexit, is delivered to make good the Democratic Will of the People. These votes could well be loyal for elections to come – by that time the PC mafia will have been rumbled!
      If May is allowed to deliver what she wants – A Brexit for the Tory Corporations – then it is Adios Conservative Party!

      Brexit for the People!

    5. BOF
      December 6, 2017

      @Fedupsoutherner I was going to say something about Universal Credit but in the current climate of betrayal by Mrs May et al, I can only agree with your post.
      I fear that incremental changes to what we voted for will ultimately mean we will remain in all but name and I will never forgive any of the perpetrators.

    6. Chris
      December 6, 2017

      I echo this Fedupsoutherner. I think it is quite beyond belief that Tory Brexiter MPs have allowed this to happen. Words on their own are no good. Action is required and swiftly.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    December 6, 2017

    Universal Credit provides a basic income for those out of work, and tops up incomes of those in lower paid work. It gives people more if they have children, if they are disabled, and if they need help with housing costs

    A fine aim but the bar is too high. I, as a married father with three children would be awarded £36K take home under Universal Credit if I worked full time on minimum wage. Given that is equivalent to £50K before tax is that not overly generous with tax payers’ money? Should a shelf stacker take home as much as a manager (or train driver)? The £50K earner has to compete in the housing market with the Universal credit recipient. Is that fair?

    Universal credit is available to Eastern European immigrants just arrived with however many children who will also need educating at £5K a pop. How is that economically viable?

    One last thought. The level of Universal Credit I could receive (if only I as a worker could get on the benefits gravy train) is the equivalent in gross pay to the amount at which Child benefit begins to be removed from rich workers. Should that not be reviewed if £36K take home is deemed to be acceptable for a benefit recipient?

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      December 6, 2017

      Hear,hear narrow shoulders. There is not much point in aspiring to do better and get a well paid job if a street cleaner or bar worker with 3 children can earn the same wages. Just ask yourself the question. Who is funding this nonsense?

    2. Hope
      December 6, 2017

      The amounts being offered are staggering. These people could not command such wages. What incentive is there to succeed still school or in work if you get rewarded in this way. We have a mass Immigration crisis and the welfare and housing allocation is the source. If you earned less in a month than a person receives in child benefit and get a free hous as well, why would you not come to the U.K.! Farage warned the govt of this and was derided, his figures were wildly under estimated! The same when Blaire deliberately did not allow a transition and falsely claimed more Polish arrived than expected. It is too ridiculous to believe when the facts were clear. Good system wrong amounts.

    3. Derek Henry
      December 6, 2017

      Narrow shoulders,

      A well thought out arguement but you spoil it all by saying “tax payers money.”

      There is no such thing since we have left the gold standard. If you are going to build an arguement around taxes then you need to study what happens to your taxes after you’ve paid them and where they go to die. They fund nothing they just help the BOE hit its overnight interest rate every night of the week in the overnight interbank market.

      May I suggest you study the actual accounting between HM Treasury and the BOE. Then your arguements in the future would be more accurate.

      1. libertarian
        December 6, 2017

        Dear Derek

        May I suggest you actually go away and find out what the overnight rate is and how and why it works.

        That or get a new tin foil hat

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        December 6, 2017

        @Derek dress it up how you like but money is taken out of my wages, presented as income for the government and the offset against the much greater expenditure that the government spends, much of which goes towards in work benefits.

        I think my indignation is justified when ( migrants can do better on benefits ed)

        Even for recipients born and bred in this country I think it a little unfair unskilled workers who do not do overtime can afford the same housing as me who needs to stay at work until the job is done.

        Benefits are supposed to be a safety net. Benefits are also not supposed to be an employer subsidy.

    4. Lifelogic
      December 6, 2017

      To get £36K net after tax, ni, commuting etc. you might need to earn rather more than £75K. You even lose your child benefit at that level.

      So for many with children why bother? So many don’t.

    5. a-tracy
      December 6, 2017

      Narrow Shoulders – is that correct you can top up your net income to £36k even if you earn £14,625 as a full-time minimum wage worker? Blimin heck don’t tell everyone that!

      1. hefner
        December 6, 2017

        You can check on the gov.uk web site, search for Universal Credit, start a simulation, read carefully all the exemptions and make your mind. Things might not be as simple as claimed here.

        1. hefner
          December 6, 2017

          And by the way, the median annual salary is £26,884, I.e. £517/week.

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            December 7, 2017

            Median which takes account of all skills @hefner

            That relative poverty is used to measure how much benefit should be paid does not make the sums available fair to those who work in higher paying roles.

            We do not live in ‘to each according to his needs and from each according to his means’ times but when we do I am stacking shelves locally and not commuting an hour and a half each way.

          2. a-tracy
            December 7, 2017

            hefner Gross or Net?

            Does this include footballers, tv personalities, entrepreneurs like Dyson, vice chancellors (like the lady from Bath Uni – why on earth didn’t they just leave her to work if they had to pay her off, and make sure they were getting value for money – this is wasting our taxes and our poor students paying back tuition fee taxes money!)?

            If the top 1% were removed what would the median be.
            If you take out the public sector workers what would the median be.

        2. Narrow Shoulders
          December 7, 2017

          My case (as per the simulator which I have previously pointed you too hef) is simple and as stated if I could just access the benefits gravy train.

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        December 6, 2017

        It applies to London housing costs but a claimant with more than three children would be able to claim more.

        As often with government good intentions, poor implementation.

  8. Duncan
    December 6, 2017

    This line in the draft text apparently agreed by Number 10 has caused genuine fears among all Brexiteers:

    “In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment with the internal market, customs union…”

    Copied from a website that genuinely believes in British democracy and the will of its people.

    Come on John. Do you find this acceptable from your leader, your Chancellor and Heywood?

    I care not one jot for articles about the issue of welfare. We are being openly betrayed and it is the duty of you and your colleagues to bring this leader to her knees. A failure to do so will shame my party for decades to come

  9. The Prangwizard
    December 6, 2017

    If there are no calls for May’s resignation from the Tory benches today the party will be destroyed at the next election. Believe it and act.

  10. Bob
    December 6, 2017

    Guido Fawkes reporting that Mrs May is trying to convert Brexit into what amounts to virtually remaining under the influence of the Civil Service.

    I always suspected something like this would happen.

  11. Epikouros
    December 6, 2017

    There are criticisms that can be leveled at universal credit but not the ones Labour are levelling( as you have succinctly pointed out) but then that is true for most of the left’s criticisms as they do not have the intellect or maturity to pick the real ones. For the left that does not matter as long as they can pick ones that attract popular reactions and cause problems for those who they oppose.

    As labour are no longer restrained by having to cater for a broad church of left wing opinion having been captured by the extreme left their mendacity, deceit and objectionable machinations have reached new heights. Now for them imposition of a socialist state is their one and only goal regardless of any hurt that it will do to the nation or her citizens and they will achieve that by any means necessary. Attacking Brexit even if Corbyn and Mcdonnell are actually broadly in favour of it is of course a manifestation of this disreputable behaviour.

  12. Kenneth
    December 6, 2017

    Universal Credit is a step in the right direction but we are still stuck with a very high benefits bill along with a high-tax and interventionist government.

    Part of the reason in my view has been the constant brainwashing by the education system and the BBC.

    What I find very alarming is the following report:


    The BBC intends to go into schools “teaching” our children about “fake news”.


    The BBC obviously has too much money as it can afford to spend some of it on activities that are beyond its remit.

    I would urge readers here to write to their MP in order to:

    (i) stop these people being allowed in schools;
    (ii) have the BBC refund licence fee payers commensurate with the cost of this exercise

  13. Bert Young
    December 6, 2017

    Universal Credit is a very tricky area ; society has a responsibility to care for the weak – the trouble is many of the weak are not weak and abuse the system . An army of inspectors to investigate each case would also be a ludicrous expense hence other solutions have to be put in place . The working enviroment has to be light years ahead of any benefit system and a discrepancy such as this offers a viable solution .

    I have just spoken to someone who has previously been approached by Theresa for advice ; he agrees that she is too nice a person to be presently dealing with our crisis and should now go . I cannot see any way out of the present mess other than to change our leadership and to “walk away”. The EU have shown no sign in recognising the economic and political dilemma they face and there is little point in continuing the dialogue .

  14. Peter
    December 6, 2017

    The principle of universal credit might be sound but it’s implementation does not appear to be.

    Tales of claimants waiting for too long for what they should receive. Rents arrears ensues. People who have no savings then have nothing to live on.

    I am all for simplifying the system. I am also in favour of some form of workfare. There are many jobs that the unemployed could do – and eventually should do – if they wish to continue to receive payment from the state.

  15. Bob
    December 6, 2017

    If the Tories had increased their majority in the 2017 GE Mrs May would have used it to capitulate to Brussels. The DUP saved the day.

    I can understand the Tory’s reluctance to have a leadership challenge having lost so much support after the dreadful succession of weak leaders since Mrs T, but it will need to be done if you wish to prevent a sell out of our Brexit.

  16. Mike Wilson
    December 6, 2017

    Anyone else believe the magic employment figures? Moving millions of people into a country and letting them find work – on the basis that, by definition, people create demand – is hardly rocket science.

    And why the obsession with work. Boy, I hark back now to happier days when I’d say at least half the mums of my generation didn’t have to go to work – because our Dads earned enough money and we didn’t feel the need to go to Barcelona or Prague every other weekend.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      December 6, 2017

      So true.

      One earner per household would generally make for a better society.

  17. Chris
    December 6, 2017

    Another letter in the Telegraph which doesn’t mince words:

    SIR – Theresa May has failed in the latest talks with the EU. Of course she has, as she did not completely roll over, but just wait a few weeks longer and she will capitulate fully.

    I have followed politics for over 50 years and I can’t remember being so angry as I am now (and that’s saying something). We have a weak party led by one of the weakest leaders ever.

    No wonder radical parties gain members even when they are often viewed as being too radical. I could never consider voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and now it looks like Mrs May’s Conservatives are also unelectable. Ukip appears to have faded away.

    We should take (peacefully) to the streets and raise hell. Remember that once democracy dies – and we are close to that – radicals take over.

    David Pattenden
    Beverley, East Yorkshire

    Mr Redwood, there is huge anger, and Tory Brexiter MPs cannot ignore it. Nor can those other MPs who are interested in saving the country, and incidentally the Conservative Party.

  18. Pete
    December 6, 2017

    Universal benefits is just exactly what big government wants. They want everyone to be reliant on the state so that nobody will vote for less government. It’s a hugely successful policy that has halted the decline in poverty and kept millions poor for decades.

  19. ian
    December 6, 2017

    Seem a good goal for con party, that is to get the UK people what all other countries already have in the EU, flexibility on the rules.

  20. Trevor Butler
    December 6, 2017

    So now T. May is going to ‘have words’ with Donald Trump about Jerusalem – Maybe she should get some focus and patch up the UK before trying to fix Israel…..

  21. John
    December 6, 2017

    Its a very similar policy (the second last parr) to what needs to be applied to the 3rd world and Africa in particular.

    The EU block on refined and manufactured goods from Africa prevents them from being a growing and thriving economy. The aid payments that end up in the hands of despotic leaders and fraudsters are not the answer.

  22. Chris
    December 6, 2017

    It seems that Boris is the only one in Cabinet who is bothered about having the freedom we need on divergence. Apparently Gove did not support his colleague. What a shameful situation that apparently only one Cabinet minister is speaking up for Brexit.

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