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Iain Duncan Smith announced yet another slowdown of the rollout of universal credit to the Conservative conference yesterday, but managed to make it sound like a success by omitting just two vital words from his speech. Whether he actually lied or was just deeply misleading is for the reader to decide.

In a speech that verged at times on the messianic, but failed to refer at any point to massive waiting times for PIP and ESA medicals, Iain Duncan Smith announced that the roll out of universal credit was to be accelerated.

He told conference that:

“Universal Credit has now rolled out in the North West of England – to couples, shortly to families, to more than 1 in 8 jobcentres by Christmas – safely and securely as we always said.

“But, Conference, today I can announce more.

“I can announce that we are going to accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit…

“… from the New Year, bringing forward the national roll-out through 2015/16 to every community across Great Britain.”

The only problem with this was the two vital words missing from IDS’ speech, but present in the DWP press release – the roll out will only be for ‘single jobseekers’.

In other words:

  • not for couples;
  • not for families;
  • not for people in work;
  • not for people too sick and disabled to work.

In fact, only for the smallest and simplest group of universal credit claimants for whom no complex software is required at all. This is not a rollout or universal credit at all, it is the rollout of ‘universal credit lite’ to a fraction of the 8 million people who are supposed to be going to be moved onto it.

IDS went on to say:

“Secure national delivery… yet at the same time, delivering life change at a local level:

“strengthening community partnerships, helping vulnerable households…

“… getting people into a job quicker and staying in work longer…

“… not just helping the economy but reducing child poverty as well.

“Bringing up to £35 billion in economic benefits to Britain over the next decade…

“… making a lasting difference to people’s lives…

“… now and for generations to come.

“Friends – Universal Credit is going nationwide – we are going to finish what we started.”

In truth, the national rollout will not affect ‘vulnerable households’ because it’s only for single claimants.

It also won’t reduce ‘child poverty’ because it’s only for single claimants.

And ‘universal credit’ isn’t going nationwide, only a small fraction of it is.

So, was this a straightforward lie or just weasel words? We leave you, the reader, to make up your own mind.

But here’s one final piece of evidence.

In his ministerial statement on 5 December 2013 – which has mysteriously disappeared from the parliament website - IDS announced the revised timetable for the rollout of universal credit, which was itself a massive slowdown from the original plan. The document is deliberately vague about the timetable, but it does state:

“Meanwhile, we will expand our current pathfinder service and develop functionality so that from next summer we progressively start to take claims for universal credit from couples and, in the autumn, from families. Once safely tested in the 10 live universal credit areas, we will also expand the roll-out to cover more of the north-west of England. This will enable us to learn from the live running of universal credit at scale and for more claimant types, including the more vulnerable and complex.

“These steps continue our progressive approach—test, learn, implement—as we deliver this flagship programme.

“Our current planning assumption is that the universal credit service will be fully available in each part of Great Britain during 2016, having closed down new claims to the legacy benefits it replaced; with the majority of the remaining legacy case load moving to universal credit during 2016 and 2017.”

So, the most recent plan was to run full versions of universal credit – including for ‘the more vulnerable and more complex’ claimants - in the north west of England and then expand out across the country.

Now, it seems, only the simplest of claims will have been rolled out across the country by April 2016. There is then absolutely no possibility whatsoever of a ‘test, learn, implement’ rollout of the massively more complex full universal credit across the whole country by the end of 2016.

So what IDS was announcing sounds very much to us like another setback for the rollout of universal credit. The reality is that there is absolutely no evidence that IDS, Freud and their wealthy friends are ‘going to finish what we started’ in 2017, or indeed at any time in the next decade.

Comments  

+2 #11 Lone warrior 2014-10-08 15:56
This is not benefit reform , it is the beginning of the destruction of the welfare state.
The pity is no one in Labour is trying to stop it .
This man is supposed to be a Christian but sits back and watches his policies leave part of this nation in abject poverty.
their own figures reveals fraud to be barely significant , people have to jump through many hoops to obtain benefit, its hard enough for people now with the system as it is , never mind one that is , totally geared up against the claimant.
Duncan Smith has failed and failed miserably to deliver anything but poverty.
Every claimant in this country has his or her own specific needs, all are different , that's why they cannot get a computer program to take away the human element of benefits.
We are not all the same in our needs or disability.
Austerity is being used to destroy the welfare state, the peoples greatest creation, the thing millions died for in two world wars.
We go backwards, to disability discrimination in its cruellest form.
to be locked away and forgotten, to be starved out of existence , and no longer socially included in this society of the healthy, and strong.
We forget the promise , we turn our backs on the weak , the poor , the disabled, and call it reform.
Social exclusion is openly revered by government, by a man who in having a disabled son should have realised how hard it is for people who are not millionaires, and as for using his son in his speeches, that is downright disgusting, using his dead disabled son for political gain. The man should be totally ashamed.
Not only fore the use of his son , but for the discrimination, poverty, starvation and discrimination his government openly creates. Is this the best, that the best education in Britain creates, I sincerely hope not.
As for Labour , they have fallen into the trap of continuing austerity, so the Tories win , even if they loose.
#10 tintack 2014-10-06 23:45
Quoting Paul Richards:
I for one, think that I know why he has stood up and fired off some salvos now - he is afraid that they are going to lose many of their seats at the next General Election, that the LibDems will lose their ill-gotten (secret deal) POWER and be destined to many, many years in the political wilderness.


Exactly. I think the only Lib Dem MPs who have any chance of surviving the next election are those who are well regarded on a personal level (such as Charles Kennedy, maybe Vince Cable) and/or have a reputation as a good constituency MP. The rest have no chance.

Quote:
Well, I hope that they are because they have done NOTHING, or next to nothing for the unemployed, the sick and disabled of Britain.
It' not just that they've done little or nothing for the sick, disabled and unemployed, it's worse than that: they've actually made things significantly worse, despite being repeatedly warned about the effects of their policies. Of course, the cabinet consists of mainly very privileged people who are immune to the negative consequences of their own policies, which no doubt explains why they're happy to carry on with those policies.
#9 Paul Richards 2014-10-06 22:00
Hi tintack, carruthers and Jim,
I find myself agreeing entirely in all of your very interesting comments.
Going slightly off this particular subject, I was disgusted today in the comments made by Nick Clegg that the 'Conservatives are the party with no compassion' - or words to that effect. We all know that this is very much the case, but WHY has Nick Clegg at this moment in time, at the start of the LibDem Conference, suddenly jumped up and suggested this - this man and his cronies have been in close Coalition with this rotten, uncaring and vindictive Tory Government for over 4 years now. During that time they have largely supported the Tories in such unfair policies as the Bedroom Tax - they have stood idly by, often listening to Cameron and his band of rich 'brother and sister' ministers, but not (publicly at least),
directly opposing them, just for the most part being cowardly lapdogs casually licking the feet of their Tory masters, in return for condescending pats on their heads to keep them sweet.
They must know of IDS's disastrous, cruel and expensive (for the taxpayer) 'welfare reforms' and again they have said nothing to bring this out into the public domain. Perhaps they thought that if they did, they would be kicked down by the arrogant Tories, but,
anyway, if they had had any guts at all they'd have done it anyway.
I for one, think that I know why he has stood up and fired off some salvos now - he is afraid that they are going to lose many of their seats at the next General Election, that the LibDems will lose their ill-gotten (secret deal) POWER and be destined to many, many years in the political wilderness. Well, I hope that they are because they have done NOTHING, or next to nothing for the unemployed, the sick and disabled of Britain.
The LibDems had 23% of the vote at the 2010 Gen. Election - and now they are down to 5-6%. They are going to be destroyed next time around. Justice will be done at last.
#8 tintack 2014-10-06 00:04
Quoting carruthers:
First it is a benefit which is not means tested. That means that it is paid regardless of income - even when that income is large and also that DC was as entitled as everyone else to claim that benefit. If we start saying that DC should not have it, then we are trying to enforce a "moral" means test - deciding, perhaps that your neighbour has too "nice" a house and shouldn't claim. Perhaps you know a banker with severe RA - does his profession mean he shouldn't claim DLA?

The other reason for DC claiming DLA HRM is because it is a "passport" benefit - it establishes the fact that someone is severely disabled simply and conclusively. For example, I see no reason why little Ivan should not have had a blue badge. His access needs were as real as anyone else's.


That's fine, but the fact remains that Cameron's government is snatching away from others the very support from which his own family directly benefitted. He's had direct experience of how DLA can help people, yet he's denying it to others anyway - and, to add insult to injury, it's being "justified" with the argument that money has to go "to those who really need it". That, in effect, amounts to the "moral means test" that you're rightly concerned about, since the implication is that those who are denied the support they need are not sufficiently deserving, since they don't "really need it". I find that repugnant.

If he had the slightest scrap of empathy, it might have occurred to him that others who need that support would struggle very badly without it - especially if, unlike Cameron, they don't have significant wealth to fall back on. No such luck though; the man is apparently an empathy-free zone.
#7 carruthers 2014-10-05 12:35
Quoting tintack:
Speaking of Cameron, am I the only one who found it utterly nauseating when he used his disabled son to claim that he'd protect the NHS? It might have been more convincing had he not claimed DLA for his son, despite being very wealthy, while his government is now snatching that same support away from people whose lack of money means that their need for it is far greater. Shameful.

I'm not usually driven to defend this government or this PM. On this occasion, I feel I must. But let me start off by agreeing you that it may have been in poor taste (at least) to bring young Ivan and DC's family's suffering into the political arena - not least because the courtesy of others makes it hard to call him on this one.

I am, however going to defend DC application for DLA on Ivan's behalf.

First it is a benefit which is not means tested. That means that it is paid regardless of income - even when that income is large and also that DC was as entitled as everyone else to claim that benefit. If we start saying that DC should not have it, then we are trying to enforce a "moral" means test - deciding, perhaps that your neighbour has too "nice" a house and shouldn't claim. Perhaps you know a banker with severe RA - does his profession mean he shouldn't claim DLA?

The other reason for DC claiming DLA HRM is because it is a "passport" benefit - it establishes the fact that someone is severely disabled simply and conclusively. For example, I see no reason why little Ivan should not have had a blue badge. His access needs were as real as anyone else's.

That said, I hope that DC makes regular donations to charities - not least as part of his "Big Society" initiative.
#6 tintack 2014-10-02 21:05
Quoting carruthers:
Quoting Paul Richards:
Jim - I think that you may well be right - another terrible coalition may well be in the offing - but I hope not!

Paul, you may find that the alternative is a full-blooded Tory government where IDS can do whatever he pleases for as long as he pleases. And on top of that they will be able to make a constitutional settlement combined with a re-drawing of electoral boundaries which will ensure that we have a Tory government, and one to the right of the current lot, for at least a decade.

They will get rid of all this "equalities nonsense" and get rid of "red tape holding back wealth creators" which will remove lots of protection in the workplace and probably remove duties like accessibility for businesses.


This is what worries me. While I'm inclined to think that the collapse of the Lib Dem vote will overwhelmingly benefit Labour - which will hopefully at least ensure that the Tories won't even be the largest party - the mere possibility of the Tories winning in May is too awful to contemplate.

I said a few weeks ago that the Tories would scrap the Human Rights Act if they could, as it's one of the few remaining obstacles preventing them from doing what the hell they like. Lo and behold, Cameron said in his conference speech that they intend to do just that.

Speaking of Cameron, am I the only one who found it utterly nauseating when he used his disabled son to claim that he'd protect the NHS? It might have been more convincing had he not claimed DLA for his son, despite being very wealthy, while his government is now snatching that same support away from people whose lack of money means that their need for it is far greater. Shameful.
#5 Jim Allison 2014-10-01 16:16
Quoting carruthers:
Quoting Paul Richards:
Jim - I think that you may well be right - another terrible coalition may well be in the offing - but I hope not!

Paul, you may find that the alternative is a full-blooded Tory government where IDS can do whatever he pleases for as long as he pleases. And on top of that they will be able to make a constitutional settlement combined with a re-drawing of electoral boundaries which will ensure that we have a Tory government, and one to the right of the current lot, for at least a decade.

They will get rid of all this "equalities nonsense" and get rid of "red tape holding back wealth creators" which will remove lots of protection in the workplace and probably remove duties like accessibility for businesses.

We are, in any case, going to have the wretched TIPP imposed, which will mean that any legislation which gets in the way of business can be overturned in court. So look for G4S running care services and Unum being handed the full administration of disability benefits on the US model.


There is absolutely no chance of Cameron forming a Tory Government at the next General Election. If I'm wrong, I'll donate £50 to a charity to be decided by members.
#4 carruthers 2014-10-01 11:11
Quoting Paul Richards:
Jim - I think that you may well be right - another terrible coalition may well be in the offing - but I hope not!

Paul, you may find that the alternative is a full-blooded Tory government where IDS can do whatever he pleases for as long as he pleases. And on top of that they will be able to make a constitutional settlement combined with a re-drawing of electoral boundaries which will ensure that we have a Tory government, and one to the right of the current lot, for at least a decade.

They will get rid of all this "equalities nonsense" and get rid of "red tape holding back wealth creators" which will remove lots of protection in the workplace and probably remove duties like accessibility for businesses.

We are, in any case, going to have the wretched TIPP imposed, which will mean that any legislation which gets in the way of business can be overturned in court. So look for G4S running care services and Unum being handed the full administration of disability benefits on the US model.
#3 Paul Richards 2014-09-30 23:18
Hi all,
Unfortunately - what would you expect? - this IDS - 'DWP Minister' has a lot to answer for - twisting all truth, - trying to save his and his boss, Cameron's sorry necks.
He 'knows the real truth' and he is doing a whole lot of spin to save his own position so that he is not sacked.
If he WAS sacked, he could come out with a whole lot of sh*t about Cameron, which Cameron definitely would not like!
I may be wrong, - but I think that I am probably right!

Jim - I think that you may well be right - another terrible coalition may well be in the offing - but I hope not!
+2 #2 Jim Allison 2014-09-30 16:49
As I've said for the last year or more, the benefits system with over 50 benefits needed reforming, but it cannot be done in a couple of years or so. It would take 10 years or more to provide a fair, just and 'fit for purpose' benefits system.

Sadly, this hasn't happened, and we have a megalomanic Sec of State,the Rt Horrible IDS who lives in a world of fantasy.

Whichever party gets in at the next General Election, and I predict it will be another coalition, they will do nothing to help the genuine sick & disabled
+1 #1 stuart52 2014-09-30 14:25
Quote:
yet at the same time, delivering life change at a local level:
yes he's got that one dead right!..it will be life changing all right, no pay rise for 2 years, little money to live on anyway, life WILL be changing but not in a positive way, I can think of 2 words he should have added..'i failed',
be under no illusion though be it a tory government next year or labour, it will be a case of do you want to be shot or hung?

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