Let’s play a game today!
The UK Government has three core aims behind its current Welfare Reform agenda:
To make work pay; to target help at those most in need; and to deliver a system that is fair.
The game is for you to come up with three cogent reasons why you think these aims have been/have not been or will be/will not be achieved.
…And, just because I’m the helpful sort, I’ll start you off with three little reasons of my own:
1 The Government’s narrative has been framed around strivers and shirkers, or people on benefits, and those who work hard for their living. This is a totally spurious distinction since – as we all know – many housing benefit claimants are in work (work that clearly doesn’t pay!)
2 The Government’s reform of disability benefits clearly intend to raise the eligibility criteria. Take, for example, the decision to raise the bar for Personal Independence Payment – when the transition from Disability Living Allowance is completed – from an automatic payment to those claimants who cannot easily walk 50 metres to those who cannot easily walk 20 metres. This could, in a narrow, technical sense be described as ‘targeting help at those most in need,’ but it will certainly leave many people who are ‘in need’ without the help they deserve.
3 The Government’s IT project to deliver Universal Credit is reportedly in deep trouble. Reports consistently emerge about the ‘glitches’ that have hit this ‘Digital by Default’ programme.
My colleague Kate Kasprowicz played the game, too.
Her three reasons were:
a That the Government is designing its new Welfare system around ‘outlying’ examples of very untypical cases (for example of people receiving £100,000 in housing benefit,) rather than the majority.
b That the very people who are expected to use the ‘Digital by Default’ system are likely to be those with the poorest computing skills.
c There are simply not enough One-Bedroom properties available in the Social Rented Sector to accommodate all those people who would be expected to downsize because they under-occupy their (Two-Bedroom) properties.
These are just a few reasons why some might well think that the Government’s programme of Welfare Reform is in A Right State.
What are yours?
Join the debate at our open and inclusive ThinkSpace event on Thursday 18th April, from 0930 to 1300 at the Calton Centre on Montgomery Street. Join us on Twitter, too, using #ARightState
Please register by emailing Dianne.Morrison@evoc.org.uk or phoning on 0131 555 9100 by Friday 12th April. Places will be confirmed by Tuesday 16th April.
If you’ve booked already, you don’t need to book again. We will confirm places by Tuesday 16th April.