Calling this bunch of idealogues a government is increasingly absurd, so I’m calling them “The Management” from now on. While any multi-trillion value commercial business would be managed by professionals – our management learn on the job. Every 5 years (if you don’t count interim reshuffles) they start all over again. Of course we have the civil service (and other) advisers, but they evaluate policy ideas from the management, they don’t develop policy.
So the latest nonsense is the plan to “simplify” (a.k.a cut) the benefits system by introducing something called “Universal Credit”. That doesn’t mean the Zorgons can get pensions or housing benefit in the Gamma Quadrant, though it means ordinary Earthlings have about as much chance of surviving on them as flying to Mars in a Nissan Micra. You have to have a bank account, be computer literate, and be able to manage your finances month-to-month. Only a totally out of touch, upper-middle class, public school educated rich boy would think that was remotely fit for purpose or appropriate. Oh, by the way, the whole thing is underpinned by a new, Management inspired, “real time” IT system. Remember the shambles when the tax system got “upgraded”?
I know this is a huge generalisation but doesn’t anyone in the Management understand that people who really depend on state benefits are, almost by definition, likely to be less able with IT, or have limited acccess? It’s just assumed that you’ll have a computer, a broadband account and a telephone line – after all, doesn’t everyone? You are less likely to have an operating bank account, more likely to be in debt and living day-to-day, to have pay day loans, be more likely to be in housing stress and fuel poverty? At the moment you can have your state pension paid weekly; is that to be paid monthly too? Those in receipt of housing benefit will have it paid to them, rather than direct to the landlord. The predictable consequence of that is increasing rent arrears, more evictions, and private landlords pulling out of the market leading to a further depressed property market (buy-to-let having been about the only property transaction growth area in recent years). I can’t believe that, somewhere, someone has done a risk analysis of these changes, so I can only assume the intent is politically motivated, which is where this post started. GRR.