Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Kindest (And Most Rational) Cut

On my Work Programme letter it says the scheme/scam is partly funded by the European Social Fund. A bit of digging found this to be a tad misleading- the ESF only applies to very few areas of our isles. Most of the £7 billion is from the DWP budget.

I was looking at the benefit expenditure tables yesterday to see how the cuts reflect in the forecasts. The target is to cut £18 billion from the projected expenditure by 2015 and most of this is going to happen between now and then. Only a small bit of that £18 billion has happened so far, mainly from the index change for uprating. The cuts come to an average of almost £6 billion between 2012/13 and 2014/15 and it shows up in the real terms forecast for working-age DWP benefit expenditure.

It's a point that has been made by others but I've only just unscrambled my brain on: cancelling the Work Programme would mean about a third of the cuts wouldn't have to happen. Soon the detailed Work Programme statistics which Chris Grayling had been making a lot of claims that were impossible to disprove because we couldn't see the data. will finally come out. I'm expecting the success of the contractors and therefore their payments up to now to be very poor. Definitely more than £6 billion of the allocated funds will be left untouched. If this turns out to be the case when the figures are published, they will have confirmed everything critics and committees have warned about: that the Work Programme is worse than nothing. Any rational minister would halt this nonsense. They'd even have had the foresight to not include allowances in the service contracts where they have to compensate the contractors, like the Flexible New Deal idiotically did.

One of the early gambits Grayling got in when he saw these in-house figures was that a substantial number of attached claimants are no longer on benefits. The question of whether they were actually in jobs was very carefully not at all asked by journalists in the slightest. They'd best at least make a start on his successor when the data is published.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Wrong Man In The Right Place

Some questions(also known as 'things') about the News items which have appeared over the weekend in regards to the Social Security Advisory Committee criticising the proposals for Universal Credit. 

The first thing: what proposals? The Welfare Reform Act became law in March. The white paper for Universal Credit was published two years ago.

The second thing: when was this criticism made? I can find no release for this month on their website. The only document which mentions the phrase 'unworkable and unfair' is the committee's response to the white paper and this was published in February 2011.

The third thing: who briefed the press? Seriously- when something is not actually News it is when the 'news' reporting on it fails to mention how old it is when it is rather old and they couldn't be bothered reporting it when it mattered. So it looks like the work of a briefing. Few newspapers have it covered on their sites at the moment, but this story officially broke on this Sunday so we still have some time to go before Monday's pages go online and hit the presses tomorrow.

I will have a good rant about how the mainstream media fail utterly to take any interest in social security matters as they are happening only to cover them months or years later when bloggers have already covered them and taken any libel risk, but right now I want answers. Iain Duncan Smith's ideas are wrong-headed and even downright suspicious but there is a right way and a wrong way to oppose them. If journalists are now only doing their job because someone in government opposed to the Secretary's policy has told them to, then that is the wrong way.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

I've Met My Match..light

I have received a response from Matchlight who made The Future State Of Welfare With John Humphrys.

I am not impressed.

I have to read through it a couple of times and then consider what to advance back to Stage 2 so our friend Mr Bell can stall further. Due to the mental resources this always exhausts, it will be a while before I can post further on what the response consists of. I do wish to say though that despite feeling stupid most of the time, I can't come to terms with the fact that whilst I am without gainful employment, there are people who are well-paid to fall far short of the standards expected of them and that I hold myself to.

I'll take each day as they come.