M503 – Universal Credit Motion 2018 Watch

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M503 – Universal Credit Motion 2018, TSR Libertarian Party
This House recognises the merits of the Universal Credit system, which is currently being phased in and which was introduced in place of six benefits which were previously claimed for separately. However, this House also acknowledges that the system as it stands suffers from flaws and from unpopularity.

To aide those who are receiving Universal Credit, this House calls on the government to create a money-management education scheme. This will help those on welfare to understand how to budget well and how to make the money that they receive from the taxpayer to go that extra bit further. This House believes that this will help the families who are ‘just about managing’ and will help to alleviate the daily struggle that some of these people face.

This House also calls on the government to review the draconian sanctions that can be and are levied against those receiving Universal Credit. At present, if a person receiving Universal Credit fails to meet certain responsibilities they are subject to a reduction in their payments for a set period up to a maximum of 3 years.

Reasons for sanctions being imposed include failure to increase earnings from work, reducing working hours (either voluntarily or due to misconduct) and failure to be available to start work where the person must meet the ‘work availability requirement’.

While it is obviously important to incentivise those on welfare to find paid work which means they no longer need depend on the taxpayer, this House believes that having sanctions which potentially last up to three years is excessive and often does more harm to a family or to an individual than it does good.

The full list of sanctions can be found here.
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ns_2
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I see the merits of this, and wholeheartedly agree with the more general introduction of enhanced financial education for all, not least those for whom it will be the most beneficial.

The sanctions element is where I am torn. We need to strike a balance between helping those in financially vulnerable positions and incentivising work for those able to do so. Although the motion cites sanctions with 'three years' of duration, this is rarely the case and only happens on a claimant's third 'higher level' infraction in any 364 day period; infractions which, without good reason, include failing to turn up for mandatory work activities, failing to apply (let alone actually get) a job when required to do so, refusing a job offer, or reducing employment (again without good reason). If a claimant consistently fails to engage with the requirements bestowed upon them, especially requirements which may help them unshackle themselves from the burden that is living off the state (for no-one truly wishes to live off the state, and given the choice would prepare to be productive and active), the sanctions must be imposed and imposed in such a way as to reflect the gravity of the situation.

Hence, whilst I support the first half of this motion, I have trouble supporting the second. Overall, I will likely abstain.
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I more or less have the same view as the Education Secretary, ns_2. The first half of the motion is fine but the second half is where I have some issues. I'm genuinely quite surprised to see the Libertarians take that sort of approach with the sanctions bit though...
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Rakas21
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Unlike my colleagues i have actually more issue with the first half than the second.

With regards to the first half of the motion i question whether a significant increase in budgeting will result from education and also (ironic given my general positions and the proposing party) whether the state should really be providing such knowledge rather than a charity or community groups.

We live in a country where people rarely change bank accounts or energy suppliers not because people dont know how but because they are materialistic, entitled and do not always act rationally with their money.

The second half i actually agree with. Although there must be some form of sanction the current regime is somewhat perverse and questionable.

I shall vote Aye.
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DayneD89
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Too right Mr. Speaker!

If people who subside on the measly income the state dishes out to then are not able to survive on no income for the mandatory 6 week wait to receive the first UC payment then it must be due to poor money management! I thought I would suggest a few classes;

1) Skipping, the art of getting free food from bins,
2) Just how 'essential' is toilet paper?
3) Managing further: What to do if you're in the 20% of cases that go over this and you're waiting 10-12 weeks.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by ns_2)
I see the merits of this, and wholeheartedly agree with the more general introduction of enhanced financial education for all, not least those for whom it will be the most beneficial.

The sanctions element is where I am torn. We need to strike a balance between helping those in financially vulnerable positions and incentivising work for those able to do so. Although the motion cites sanctions with 'three years' of duration, this is rarely the case and only happens on a claimant's third 'higher level' infraction in any 364 day period; infractions which, without good reason, include failing to turn up for mandatory work activities, failing to apply (let alone actually get) a job when required to do so, refusing a job offer, or reducing employment (again without good reason). If a claimant consistently fails to engage with the requirements bestowed upon them, especially requirements which may help them unshackle themselves from the burden that is living off the state (for no-one truly wishes to live off the state, and given the choice would prepare to be productive and active), the sanctions must be imposed and imposed in such a way as to reflect the gravity of the situation.

Hence, whilst I support the first half of this motion, I have trouble supporting the second. Overall, I will likely abstain.
I do understand the points you are making, but my take on it is that three years is a long time. A person may have made a mistake (or a small series of mistakes perhaps) which then haunts them for up to three years. A lot can happen in that time period and certainly after a while of suffering sanction I'd imagine the person will have learned their lesson, yet must endure harsh sanctions for a lot longer.

I just think it's excessive, not that the sanctions in themselves are a bad idea.

(Original post by Rakas21)
Unlike my colleagues i have actually more issue with the first half than the second.

With regards to the first half of the motion i question whether a significant increase in budgeting will result from education and also (ironic given my general positions and the proposing party) whether the state should really be providing such knowledge rather than a charity or community groups.

We live in a country where people rarely change bank accounts or energy suppliers not because people dont know how but because they are materialistic, entitled and do not always act rationally with their money.

The second half i actually agree with. Although there must be some form of sanction the current regime is somewhat perverse and questionable.

I shall vote Aye.
Thanks for your support. I do agree that charity and community groups can be useful in such circumstances, but no doubt they are already happening if they are. A national scheme would ensure that everyone who wishes to access such education can, not just in the areas where groups exist or via online services which I deem to be inferior to actually being taught by a person who can give tailored advice.

(Original post by DayneD89)
Too right Mr. Speaker!

If people who subside on the measly income the state dishes out to then are not able to survive on no income for the mandatory 6 week wait to receive the first UC payment then it must be due to poor money management! I thought I would suggest a few classes;

1) Skipping, the art of getting free food from bins,
2) Just how 'essential' is toilet paper?
3) Managing further: What to do if you're in the 20% of cases that go over this and you're waiting 10-12 weeks.
It seems the honourable member is not a fan of UC! I view the mandatory wait as another issue, the education scheme would be to help those manage while receiving UC. I already had two issues in one motion, so wan't going to write about a third. I'd also need to do more research into this aspect to get a better understanding before I write about it.
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I do understand the points you are making, but my take on it is that three years is a long time. A person may have made a mistake (or a small series of mistakes perhaps) which then haunts them for up to three years. A lot can happen in that time period and certainly after a while of suffering sanction I'd imagine the person will have learned their lesson, yet must endure harsh sanctions for a lot longer.

I just think it's excessive, not that the sanctions in themselves are a bad idea.



Thanks for your support. I do agree that charity and community groups can be useful in such circumstances, but no doubt they are already happening if they are. A national scheme would ensure that everyone who wishes to access such education can, not just in the areas where groups exist or via online services which I deem to be inferior to actually being taught by a person who can give tailored advice.



It seems the honourable member is not a fan of UC! I view the mandatory wait as another issue, the education scheme would be to help those manage while receiving UC. I already had two issues in one motion, so wan't going to write about a third. I'd also need to do more research into this aspect to get a better understanding before I write about it.
On the contrary, I'm a huge fan of the ambitious aims of the UC scheme. Simplifying our benefits system is a worthy aim. There have just been gapping flaws in it's execution. I agree with this motion when it comes to sanctions, but telling people with no income that they need to manage their money better is simply the wring way to go about this though. The issue doesn't come from poor money management and this pushing the blame onto those most in need sends completely the wrong message.
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CatusStarbright
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(Original post by DayneD89)
On the contrary, I'm a huge fan of the ambitious aims of the UC scheme. Simplifying our benefits system is a worthy aim. There have just been gapping flaws in it's execution. I agree with this motion when it comes to sanctions, but telling people with no income that they need to manage their money better is simply the wring way to go about this though. The issue doesn't come from poor money management and this pushing the blame onto those most in need sends completely the wrong message.
I too am a great fan of the attempt to simplify the system, allowing people to make one claim where before they may have needed to make multiple. I don't see this motion as blaming those in need for poor money management (indeed, that was not my intention when I wrote it), but more a push to help these people in need by giving them the tools to make the money go further.
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
I too am a great fan of the attempt to simplify the system, allowing people to make one claim where before they may have needed to make multiple. I don't see this motion as blaming those in need for poor money management (indeed, that was not my intention when I wrote it), but more a push to help these people in need by giving them the tools to make the money go further.
Then I urge you to edit the tone of that section and focus in the real problem. I can see how money management would help some people, but for most these won't help, while focussing attention on the long delays will make a dramatic difference.

If you are hesitant to reduce the time taken to start a benefit claim and invest money in making the system faster an alternative would be the reintroduction of something similar to the social fund, where claimants can essentially borrow, without interest, against the claims first payment (which is backdated so includes the original 6-12 weeks) while waiting for the claim to start. I'm sure that I would want this fund more freely available while you would want more restrictions on accessing it, but that would address the issue rather than ignoring it.
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Aye, I am supportive of a simple, single means tested payment to replace the 6 or so benefits that UC replaces. for to long the welfare state has been far to big and bureaucratic.

I agree that the welfare state needs to be reformed which is why I want the introduction of state sponsored credit cards that can only be used in certain retailers and on certain items. This could then gradually replace means tested benefits all together and the DWP would be abolished.
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(Original post by Hazzer1998)
Aye, I am supportive of a simple, single means tested payment to replace the 6 or so benefits that UC replaces. for to long the welfare state has been far to big and bureaucratic.

I agree that the welfare state needs to be reformed which is why I want the introduction of state sponsored credit cards that can only be used in certain retailers and on certain items. This could then gradually replace means tested benefits all together and the DWP would be abolished.
Hear, hear!
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04MR17
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Agreeing with the second half considerably regarding sanctions.

Money management education requires funding. That is the sticking point of this issue and if it passes will affect the Governments planned budget allocations.
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This motion is in cessation.
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Division! Clear the lobbies!
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