/ Universal credit

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girlymonkey 24 Mar 2020

Isn't it interesting that people didn't petition the government on mass about how shockingly low universal credit is until many of us are suddenly expected to live on it? It was fine when it was "them", but not now it's "us"?!

I know many of my friends and some people on here have been vocal about it, so not getting at anyone, but just feel that it's sad that it takes a national crisis like this for the reality to sink in at a population level as to how difficult it would be to live on universal credits. Here's hoping this produces a positive change for all!

3
wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

My wife was really upset by a noisy entitled woman on Radio 4 commenting on the income support promised for some people.

She said that the income she and her partne r had needed to be made up and they could "get by" if they got the maximum £2500 per month level.  She was sure that lower levels were all right for some people ...

I wanted to shout at the radio

Post edited at 13:04
Stuart (aka brt) 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey & wercat:

It would give me some hope right now, that in the future there is a major shift in the paradigm of what a fair society looks like, and how perilously close most of us live daily, on not managing. 

summo 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> My wife was really upset by a noisy entitled woman on Radio 4 commenting on the income support promised for some people.

> She said that the income she and her partne r had needed to be made up and they could "get by" if they got the maximum £2500 per month level.  She was sure that lower levels were all right for some people ...

There was also some bloke on r2 last week who at least said he was a relatively low earner, but the £93 a week he was offered in some benefit wouldn't even cover the cost of his car.

We have a friend in the dales who is wealthy / rich, or at least daddy is, she didn't believe that there would be anyone locally earning less than £25k/yr.

I think many folk at both ends of the spectrum have absolutely no clue. 

wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

I'd like to see a universal basic income with the proviso that the level of income provided comes with obligations - effectively the community has a call on your time (if able bodied) to the extent that UBI equates to an amount of work paid at a reasonable rate for that work.  Obviously that time is not due if you are employed and paying tax.

Effectively the non employed would be part time employees of the state/community and you would not need a load of benefit-fraud staff because people would be free to earn in that part of their time not due in return for their income.

For the able bodied that might eliminate the idea of permanent un-employment

Post edited at 13:44
summo 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

I think many would turn up for their community work and do bugger all, just sitting around on their phones. The willingness of people to adhere to simple rules now for the greater good of  a community or country, would indicate that folk either don't deserve ubi or are unable to understand the concept of collective good. 

9
IceKing 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

And it was/is especially weird and measly for the self employed and more so for seasonal work. I spoke to several people at the Job Centre who had received the universal credit "training" and no-one could explain why it works the way it did and it still baffles me.

It goes like this:-

What you are expected to earn is calculated by multiplying the minimum wage x the number of hours you are expected to work e.g. 37.5 hours x £8.21 £1231 per month, they call this the minimum income floor.

If you have become self employed within the last 12 months you are given a 12 month period where the minimum income floor is not applied. The 12 months begins from the date you first apply, that means you actually only have 11 months of opprtunities to receive payments not 12 as the 12th possible payment always falls outside 12 calendar months from the date you first apply.

When those 12 months are up the minimum income floor is applied. That means if you earn more than that you get nothing, it also means if you earn less than that you get nothing as they expect you to earn the minimum income floor regardless of whether you do or don't.

Each month you have to declare your earnings even after it is no longer possible to receive any benefit, and you cannot reapply for another five years. No-one could explain to me why I had to keep declaring my earnings despite zero chance of receiving anything until they struck me off for asking too much!

I created a business which was seasonal, winter was difficult and I sought help, throughout spring, summer and autumn I built up the business by next winter things slowed down and I needed a little help again, there wasn't any, I had two or three small payments throughout that period but when the year came around and I needed a small leg up there was nothing, and not another chance for five years. It is commonly understood that an employed person can receive £2500 more than a self employed person earning the same.

The system is incredibly inflexible for the self employed and seemed set up to discourage you after one year from continuing, when a few more months and some flexibility would probably result in a successful business that would require no more help. I wonder how many people gave up on setting up their own business save from a month or two of assistance?

mrphilipoldham 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

Plenty of loop holes would need to be closed. It'd be all too easy to register as self employed on top, and a few mates throw each other a bit of cash to register income and make it look like you're working. 

RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> Isn't it interesting that people didn't petition the government on mass about how shockingly low universal credit is until many of us are suddenly expected to live on it? It was fine when it was "them", but not now it's "us"?!

Most of the middle class has been saddling itself with massive mortgages to live like kings in houses they can’t afford, driving cars they can’t ford, don’t have any savings, and at the slightest problem they re now relying on government handouts, so that they can sit on their arse watching Netflix and ordering Deliveroo for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime those who did the right thing and saved instead of taking on debt will be expected to deplete their savings, and hit with zero rates

Post edited at 14:17
2
wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to summo:

perhaps the work would have to have measurable fair targets - no finish no go home

wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

undoubtedly it would need to be carefully implemented

wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

that seems to have been the pattern for the last 20 years or so

girlymonkey 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

Well, in order not to deplete my savings, I have applied to any feasible key worker job going. I am doing the paperwork now to start working in a care home. Not my dream job, but a very necessary one, getting a wage in and getting a bike commute each way. 

I still feel universal credit should be higher though, closer to what people really need to live on! Rents are so much higher than mortgage payments, so buying the house you can't afford actually makes sense if people can get a deposit together. Modern cars are more efficient and break down less often, so for some taking on debt for a car makes sense too. I don't think you can entirely criticise people for doing these things if it seems like the right long term option (not that I have done either of these. I have a beaten up van  which we bought outright and we have been fortunate to get very affordable rent). 

One thing is sure, I have never been more glad not to have kids than I am now!!

tom_in_edinburgh 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> In the meantime those who did the right thing and saved instead of taking on debt will be expected to deplete their savings, and hit with zero rates

If you can shut down somebody's business to protect the health of the country you can shut down somebody else's ability to collect interest.   If people can use a zero interest period to pay down debt and level things out a bit between borrowers and lenders it is no bad thing.

If it wasn't for tax, debt interest and rent there would be a lot less problem with living off 500 quid a month per person Universal Basic Income for 18 months.   You could give it to everyone, no questions asked and if folk go out to work they can make a bit more and start to get ahead.

Every other recession we have protected people with financial assets and property and people who work for government.  This time we should let the rich take the hit.

summo 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> perhaps the work would have to have measurable fair targets - no finish no go home

Not go home... your next UBI payment is stopped if you are not participating in some form of community activity. 

Post edited at 15:03
deepsoup 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Most of the middle class has been saddling itself with massive mortgages to live like kings in houses they can’t afford

Yes Rom - everybody with a big mortgage has been living like a king up to now, and it's absolutely outrageous that they didn't simply decide to buy a house they could afford instead! <facepalm>

RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

> Yes Rom - everybody with a big mortgage has been living like a king up to now, and it's absolutely outrageous that they didn't simply decide to buy a house they could afford instead!

What’s absolutely outrageous is that  people on decent wages who could save, have close to zero savings because they put everything in huge deposits and are unable to pay their huge monthly payment  as soon as they can’t work, and are having to rely on the state at the slightest bump.

There isn’t even any need for mortgages or personal debt, in other countries most people don’t take mortgages. They rent, and save, until they can buy, much later in their lives.

Post edited at 15:34
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girlymonkey 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

But rents in this country are so extortionate that many people struggle to even save for a deposit let alone buy a house outright. If you don't inherit money or have help from family, many people will never get close to buying as rents are so high.

1
wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

and then something like this comes along and you have to spend your savings living and paying rent as you've rubbed yourself out of being entitled to any help, either because you were saving for a deposit or because you had been brought up to save and thus have a bit of resilience.  Punishment.

I don't think the amount you are allowed to have in savings has changed in many years.

this crisis is going to flush out a lot of hidden worms and maggots in the system

Post edited at 15:42
RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> But rents in this country are so extortionate that many people struggle to even save for a deposit let alone buy a house outright. If you don't inherit money or have help from family, many people will never get close to buying as rents are so high.

You are absolutely right, but the answer to that is simply to build more homes, and have more social and market rented housing,  not to leverage people even more, which just inflates prices anyway.

And there is no need to own a home if you can’t afford it. Renting is fine.

4
RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to wercat:

> and then something like this comes along and you have to spend your savings living and paying rent as you've rubbed yourself out of being entitled to any help, either because you were saving for a deposit or because you had been brought up to save and thus have a bit of resilience.  Punishment.

Exactly, those doing the right thing are being punished, systematically. It was the same after GFC, same now.

What bothers me is that people feel so entitled. People on benefits are being take of the register if they are late by 5m to their jobseeker appointment, but cushy middle class families with maxed credit cards and big mortgage are given payment holidays, low interest rates etc etc.

We’ve built a system that punishes the weak, and protects the irresponsible, just so that the financial machine can keep going.

Post edited at 15:50
1
wercat 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> We’ve built a system that weakens the responsible and then punishes them for being weak, and protects the irresponsible, just so that the financial machine can keep going.

definitely

girlymonkey 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

The answer from the government should be to build more social housing, but they have failed to do so for many many years. So people have to work with the system they have. Don't blame people for buying houses on big mortgages because it is preferable to big rents, blame the government. Blame the same government that are destroying people on universal credit!!

1
BnB 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear and TiE:

> Exactly, those doing the right thing are being punished, systematically. It was the same after GFC, same now.

> What bothers me is that people feel so entitled. People on benefits are being take of the register if they are late by 5m to their jobseeker appointment, but cushy middle class families with maxed credit cards and big mortgage are given payment holidays, low interest rates etc etc.

> We’ve built a system that punishes the weak, and protects the irresponsible, just so that the financial machine can keep going.

Hang on, only half serious question. What if someone has led a lifetime of saving and acting responsibly, no debt, no mortgage, and, by some fortunate choices and presumably hard work, is now rather well off. In your and TiE's new paradigm do they get hand-outs or fleeced? ;-)

Post edited at 16:05
RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

> The answer from the government should be to build more social housing, but they have failed to do so for many many years. So people have to work with the system they have. Don't blame people for buying houses on big mortgages because it is preferable to big rents, blame the government. Blame the same government that are destroying people on universal credit!

No, It’s not just the government, although they are complicit in this rotten system.

People want to live in big flats or big homes early in their life, so they take big mortgages, maxing out at 90 or 95% LTV. When they are done they start again,

As a result households are permanently in debt, instead of having savings.

RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to BnB:

> Hang on, only half serious question. What if someone has led a lifetime of saving and acting responsibly, no debt, no mortgage, and, by some fortunate choices and presumably hard work, is now rather well off. In your and TiE's new paradigm do they get hand-outs or fleeced? ;-

Currently, they get fleeced.

They should get neither. You should be left alone.
The great thing about capitalism, is that if people have a bit of capital, then they have some freedom to do something else with their lives than worry about their immediate subsistence, and have enough to ride out the bumps in their lives. 

This was the way capitalism was supposed to work, but greed has completely destroyed it. People want to live like kings,  in houses they really can’t afford, so we built up a financial system to allow them to do so, problem is, this system has no resilience whatsoever.

Post edited at 16:36
1
Stuart William 24 Mar 2020
In reply to RomTheBear:

> What’s absolutely outrageous is that  people on decent wages who could save, have close to zero savings because they put everything in huge deposits and are unable to pay their huge monthly payment  as soon as they can’t work, and are having to rely on the state at the slightest bump.

> There isn’t even any need for mortgages or personal debt, in other countries most people don’t take mortgages. They rent, and save, until they can buy, much later in their lives.

Eh? Except if they rented, paying probably more than they do on their mortgage, they would still need the state support now. Because if they can’t pay their mortgage they would also be unable to pay rent. Or am I missing something?

RomTheBear 24 Mar 2020
In reply to Stuart William:

> Eh? Except if they rented, paying probably more than they do on their mortgage, they would still need the state support now. Because if they can’t pay their mortgage they would also be unable to pay rent. Or am I missing something

What is fine is to help people who don’t have a roof under their head.

What is not fine is to bail out people who took mortgages so big that they can’t afford to pay them at the slightest disruption in their income, so that they get to keep ownership.

Taking on debt is a taking a gamble on the future. And that is absolutely fine, as long as you don’t expect others to pay for the downside of that debt when you lose.

Post edited at 20:00

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