Stop pretending over welfare cuts

In practice because of the funding straightjacket, welfare is not devolved to Holyrood, Cardiff Bay or Stormont.  So are the objections to the new universal credit in both Holyrood and Stormont any more than political grandstanding?  Differential welfare payments make little or no sense without extensive tax raising powers. And there is no sign of Stormont wanting the responsibility of creating a small tax base apart from Westminster. Not even from Sinn Fein.

, , , ,

  • redstar2011

    In the case of SF it underlines that they are in Stormont to do nothing more than administer British rule. Ah for the days of them as a revolutionary party- long gone now as they implement Tory cuts on the Irish pop in the 6 counties.

  • Barnshee

    The English taxpayer has “subvented ” enough. If you want more raise it yourself.. “Tory cuts ” ?? Cuts are inevitable regardless of the party in power .Labour is simply posturing ( and insulting our intelligence)
    “If you know a better ‘ole go to it”

  • GEF

    Does SF believe that its only the under 25’s from their neck of the woods who will suffer by these welfare cuts”

    “And, in Northern Ireland, it is a very short step from that prejudiced view to the ready sectarian stereotype that the ‘feckless’ tend to be doing-the-double ‘Fenians’.”

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/assembly-out-of-its-depth-dealing-with-jobs-crisis-16222161.html#ixzz28zW3oRJV

  • Would things be different if, instead of referring to “benefits”, we spoke of “entitlements”?

  • BluesJazz

    Malcolm

    Would things be different if, instead of referring to “claimants” we spoke of “spongers”?

    At least Harold Wilson was plain speaking when referring to the dependency culture of NI.

  • No, BluesJazz @ 8:37 pm, Harold — I met and talked with Harold — wasn’t talking of the people of NI. Nor even of its law-abiding politicians. He was pointing at a particular group, at the time of the UWC strike. Why not answer his question:

    “The people on this side of the water – British parents – have seen their sons vilified and spat upon and murdered. British taxpayers have seen the taxes they have poured out, almost without regard to cost – over £300 million a year this year with the cost of the Army operation on top of that – going into Northern Ireland. They see property destroyed by evil violence and are asked to pick up the bill for rebuilding it. Yet people who benefit from all this now viciously defy Westminster, purporting to act as though they were an elected government; people who spend their lives sponging on Westminster and British democracy and then systematically assault democratic methods. Who do these people think they are?”

    Currently we have, across the UK, over two-and-a-half million out–of-work, actively seeking work. There are just two hundred thousand or so vacancies. Yet those unable to find work, because they don’t get on their bikes, are the vilified.

    Our lords and masters redefine a few hundred thousand jobs from the public sector to the private. This is claimed, not to be sharp practice, but to be “creating jobs”.

    A job is a job, in this definition, even if a full-time one disappears, and all that’s available is eighteen hours a week part-time. By no accident, it’s women workers getting the treatment.

    The terminally sick are categorised “fit to work” by a corrupt, incompetent and bribed screening process.

    Tenants are decanted from “nice” (and therefore expensive) read to find shelter miles and hours from any places of work.

    Parents are fined for having too many children. But then their only “plebs”.

    Employees are invited to trade in their redundancy rights — legally-defined and earned by loyal service — for notional “shares in the company”. Even the Spectator columnist, Martin Vander Weyer reckons this amounts to sending boys up chimneys and offering them shares in the cleaning company.

    The Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson (for whom, until now, I had some time) deplores 88% of the Scottish population as drones and state-suppliants. Ms Davidson is hardly one of the 12% great wealth-creators — her pay-cheques have come courtesy of the Territorial Army, the BBC, the Tory Party itself and now the Scottish Parliament. Yet, here we have, in Alex Massie’s fine headline, Scottish Tory Leader to Scots: Drop Dead.

    So, what’s it all about? It’s not deficit-cutting: they’re actually increasing it. Nah: it’s just the Nasty Party playing its old game of divide and rule.

  • I see the great spell-corrector intervened.

    For “nice” read, read “area”.

    For, in one case “their” read “they’re”.

  • Jack2

    Over the past few days we have seen two representative’s on TV lecturing about welfare cuts & jobs in NI.

    Alex Maskey: (Nolan)
    Using a DLA car to drive to the assembly in 2000.

    Its abuse of the system like this that is causing the more stringent tests.

    Ian Paisley Jnr (Spotlight).
    Son of a Lord, gifted a well paying public position with a gold plated pension lecturing about jobs and how we have to work harder to find them.
    The poster boy for nepotism.

  • Old Mortality

    Malcolm
    You’re missing the point on welfare reform. Nobody is claiming that all benefit recipients will find work as a result: the objective is to make employment more attractive (or less unattractive) than it is. The essential problem with the system is that it meets perceived needs in a way that paid employment cannot: a single man and a man with dependent children receive the same pay for the same job. The presence of thousands of migrant workers in areas commonly regarded as depressed is a symptom of the malaise.
    What was most alarming about the protracted sham debate at Stormont was the absence of any party or individual MLA willing to concede that something should be done to reduce dependency culture in Northern Ireland.
    Ruth Davidson’s figures for Scotland sound a touch exaggerated but they wouldn’t be far off the mark for Northern Ireland which is why no political party will dare to suggest that a shrinking state might not be a bad idea. That is a dangerous place for a democratic society to be.

  • Old Mortality @ 4:02 pm:

    To which the stock response is that it’s amazing how the over-paid and overprivileged only respond to squoodles of extra cash, but the underprivileged need kicks and ha’pence.

    Are you suggesting the employer, or state entitlements, should reward differentially the family man and the single man (strange how such formulations never include the family woman and the single woman)? Of course you are: so — since this is all about salami-slicing the entitlements budgets — whom are you going to penalise and why? Since clearly, under the present dispensation, when governments no longer believe in “full employment” (and unemployment is the best way to depress wage-rates), there will never be enough jobs to go round, how are you going to ration employment?

    What have migrant workers got to do with it? I thought the whole point about “liberalising” employment was to encourage mobility, and “getting on your bike”. To that extent we are all migrant workers, or likely to be. Unless, of course, your point is covert xenophobia. Since rent allowances are now capped, how can you possibly take a family out of low-employment, low-rent Strabane and inject them into high-unemployment, stratospheric-rent Kensington, Chelsea or Brighton — or, indeed, any community within commuting range of those employments? Wait a minute: I’ve got it! — persuade all those bankers and Byelorussian billionaires to move to Strabane, and all their amenities, demands and consequent employments will follow them!

    As for Ms Davidson, her offering was crass, innumerate and plainly very, very wrong-headed. Even those on “benefits” pay taxes — 20% VAT, council tax, and all the other little items. Indeed those at the bottom of the heap pay proportionately more than the better off. Tim Worstall (of the Adam Smith Institute, so no pale-pink pasty liberal) did an article for the Torygraph recently, showing how the system bears down on the lower-paid. Don’t waste time on little ol’ me: answer that.

    Finally, if you want to “shrink the state”, advocate euthanasia. Save bundles. And it would merely terminate us old crusties who’ll freeze in the next winter or two anyway, when you’ve cut the entitlements.

  • BluesJazz

    “how can you possibly take a family out of low-employment, low-rent Strabane and inject them into high-unemployment, stratospheric-rent Kensington, Chelsea or Brighton ”

    Malcolm. can you clarify, I didn’t realise Kensington and Chelsea were areas of high unemployment.

    Last time I was in Brighton though, it had plenty of welfare dependent opiate addicts with a relatively carefree lifestyle. A little socialist utopia by the sea.

  • GEF

    MIGRANTS MUST GET BENEFITS, ORDERS EU

    BRUSSELS is threatening to take Britain to court unless the Government gives in to demands over benefits for migrants.
    There was fury last night that EU meddling could scupper bids to cut the UK’s huge welfare bill.

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/351768&sa=U&ei=HKZ4ULQloq3RBaSWgNAL&ved=0CBwQqQIwAA&usg=AFQjCNG8pHS7IK3btq8ZbUZw7roUPGp0RQ

  • GEF

    Clegg: I’ll block the benefit cuts
    Tories’ £10bn reforms scuppered in a week

    Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4587270/Clegg-Ill-block-the-benefit-cuts.html#ixzz298h6GxiA

  • Yeah, sure, BluesJazz @ 11:30 pm, Kensington and Chelsea is an area of high unemployment for one of two reasons:
    1. because of my lamentable typo;
    or
    2. because of the propensity of the idle rich to congregate in self-greasing enclaves.

    Take your pick. Just don’t wet get yourself too excited.

    And, yes, Brighton is quite a nice joint, agreed. Might politically be something to do with having a progressive majority on the city council (23 Greens, 18 Tories, 13 Labour, O DUP, 0 UUP, 0 SDLP, 0 SF). Two Tory MPs, alas. You are also correct: as of the 2001 census, average wage-rates in Brighton were only 95.5% of the British average — however (and it might have something to do with that progressive local authority) average earnings increased over a four-year period by 26%, as opposed to a British figure of 21%. If that’s a little socialist utopia by the sea, I guess we’d all like one.

    Now here’s another funny thing: Lord Adair Turner, prime suspect to be the next Governor of the Bank of England, makes a “courageous” [© Guardian] speech to the City of London. In a throwaway aside he seems to suggest that the £375,000,000,000 we, the great UK public, have subscribed to the banks in QE to recapitalise them and the bankers’ lifestyles should be put into a pseudo-debt account, and quietly forgotten for ever.

    Now that’s a real “benefits” culture.

  • Old Mortality

    Malcolm
    Are you suggesting the employer, or state entitlements, should reward differentially the family man and the single man (strange how such formulations never include the family woman and the single woman)?’
    No. On the contrary, I was pointing out the fundamental distortion which arises because employers (even in the public sector) do not pay employees according to their needs whereas the social security system does. Consequently, it may be worthwhile for a person with no dependents to accept a job, it may well not be attractive to a person with dependents.
    ‘Since clearly, under the present dispensation, when governments no longer believe in “full employment” (and unemployment is the best way to depress wage-rates), there will never be enough jobs to go round, how are you going to ration employment?’
    Full employment is an elusive concept. The potency Keynesian policies to achieve it have diminished as the UK and other economies have become more open. The benefits of an expansionary fiscal and monetary policy will be felt in China. The most that government can do is remove obstacles to increased employment. If you define full employment as a surplus of vacancies over the number of unemployed, it has existed in some areas (the Thames Valley, for example) until fairly recently.You could, of course, just invent jobs in the public sector and solve the problem at a stroke.
    ‘What have migrant workers got to do with it?’
    When people uproot themselves from eastern Europe to find work in places of high unemployment (yes, even in Strabane!), you have to ask why those jobs were not filled by local unemployed people.
    ‘As for Ms Davidson, her offering was crass, innumerate and plainly very, very wrong-headed. Even those on “benefits” pay taxes — 20% VAT, council tax, and all the other little items. Indeed those at the bottom of the heap pay proportionately more than the better off.’
    I think she was considering the number of households which are in net deficit to the state: in other words, the income they receive from the state exceeds what they pay in direct or indirect taxes. This would include nearly all doctors and teachers as well as a substantial proportion of lawyers, not just those dependent on benefit.
    Is that all clear now?

  • Old Mortality @ 9:23 pm:

    Is that all clear now?

    No. Definitely not. You gave yourself away in that penultimate paragraph, all about net deficit to the state. It decries the whole notion of “good”, of social benefit. More specifically it ignores what Davidson said, the bases for her illogical, innumerate distortions, and lack of sheer common sense (remember: I’m previously on record as commending her earlier utterances). By your reasoning there, the monarch has been “dependent on benefit” this millennium. Fair enough: I’d agree with that. So let’s change things.

    Beyond those quibbles, why deny that “full employment” (defined as >200,000 seeking work in my 1950-60s younger days) has been trashed as a prime aim, indeed one of national essential peace-and-security, of UK Corp? Therefore other, more “directive” (i.e. oppressive) means must be applied.

    Anyway, what’s essentially wrong with public sector employment? Or do you just prefer private armies, private policing, etc.? I’m just waiting for you to tell all of us that privatisation works. Just remember, when the nation is really, REALLY endangered, it transforms to a corporate state. Thank goodness, circa 1940-45, we did just that better than our enemies.

  • So OM. Employers pay such low wages that the only people who will work for them are poor immigrants. So, kill two birds with one stone. Reduce social benefits to force the local bums off their arses and the pesky immigrants will have no work and will go home.

  • DC

    @Joe

    You almost hit on something I was thinking about, namely that immigrants have helped to keep wages down – and I think that that is a fact that even the Tories are picking up on and are using against Labour, who they blame for this almost open door policy.

    But the flip side isn’t acknowledged in that why should benefits be cut even further whenever in fact wages should have been higher in the first place, the race to the bottom is on and those on benefits are being forced to pick up the tab.

    The appropriate thing to do would be to make work pay and lift up the minimum wage a notch or two to make work pay and force multi-national corporations to dip into their pockets a little bit more.

    But the Tories have no stomach for that kind of approach neither in fairness did/does Labour.

  • DC,

    That’s it in a nutshell. And isn’t it a wee bit odd that there seems to be no limit to the “welfare” benefits that the filthy rich bankers are able to get at the expense of us “plebs”.

  • DC

    The malaise in the UK is the republic of London in that it appears to do what it wants, is culturally and socially unrecognisable to the rest of England, not to mention it houses bankers that foul the nest then don’t pay up, has vast amounts of billionaires, Russians etc, buying up land in and around London, making properties unaffordable for those on average salaries. The long standing English folk are being forced out into Kent etc for a tedious commute in to their place of work.

    A shit storm is brewing, above are the thunderclaps.

  • Old Mortality

    Malcolm
    I’ll try one more time before I give up on you as an irredeemable old leftie.
    ‘No. Definitely not. You gave yourself away in that penultimate paragraph, all about net deficit to the state. It decries the whole notion of “good”, of social benefit.’
    IT’S ABOUT HOW MANY CAN BE SUPPORTED IN THIS WAY. THE LOGIC OF YOUR ARGUMENT IS THAT THE MORE PEOPLE WHO RELY UPON THE STATE FOR A LIVING, THE GREATER THE SOCIAL GOOD. SHOULD EVERYONE BE EITHER EMPLOYED BY THE STATE OR RECEIVE BENEFITS IN ORDER TO MAXIMISE IT? IF NOT, WHAT IS THE OPTIMAL NUMBER?
    ‘Beyond those quibbles, why deny that “full employment” (defined as >200,000 seeking work in my 1950-60s younger days) has been trashed as a prime aim, indeed one of national essential peace-and-security, of UK Corp? Therefore other, more “directive” (i.e. oppressive) means must be applied.’
    THIS IS A COMPLETELY INCOHERENT RANT.

    ‘Anyway, what’s essentially wrong with public sector employment?’
    NOTHING, BUT THEIR MUST BE SOME LIMIT TO ITS SCALE AND COST. EVEN ‘THE RICH’ ARE NOT AN INEXHUASTIBLE SOURCE OF REVENUE. WAR IS NOT AN ACTIVITY IN WHICH THE POPULACE ENGAGE WITH GREAT ENTHUSIASM, THEREFORE RESTRICTION OF THEIR LIBERTY IS NECESSARY TO PURSUE IT.

  • Old Mortality

    Joe
    ‘So OM. Employers pay such low wages that the only people who will work for them are poor immigrants. So, kill two birds with one stone. Reduce social benefits to force the local bums off their arses and the pesky immigrants will have no work and will go home.’
    I don’t think you live in NI but if you did, you would see that immigrants are capable of surviving on ‘low’ wages with some left over to remit home. They bring up families with children who look far more healthy and wholesome than the locals. If the fallacious choice you offer was to become a reality, I’d prefer to keep the immigrants and get rid of ‘the local bums’. They’re a lot pleasanter to look at, if nothing else.

  • Old Mortality @ 6:10 pm:

    No need to bellow all the time, thank you.

    You do need, however to wriggle out of your declaration: I think [Ruth Davidson] was considering the number of households which are in net deficit to the state: in other words, the income they receive from the state exceeds what they pay in direct or indirect taxes. This would include nearly all doctors and teachers as well as a substantial proportion of lawyers, not just those dependent on benefit.

    She wasn’t quite that daft. You seemingly are.

    The notion that the source of a pay-cheque puts one “in net deficit to the state” is nonsense. A private sector medic is not therefore more productive than one in the NHS — just a lot better paid (and quite likely to have more means oftax-avoidance means to hand). Consider the OECD survey of 2008 (sorry: don’t know of more recent ones) which compared ten advanced economies. UK expenditure per capita on health was eighth out of the ten, less than half that of the US, and ninth as a proportion of GDP — yet results (life expectancy, peri-natal mortality, etc) out-perform most comparable systems. That suggests the “social good” of an NHS medic is no “net deficit to the state”. By the way, when the patients at the private clinic are terminal, they get delivered to the nearby NHS hospital, lest they upset the statistics. And staff found unfit to work in the NHS are likely to be clocking on at the private clinic. Strange, especially in terms of “being in deficit to the the state”.

    Similarly public-sector education in the UK is “cheaper” than most comparable nations. Are you arguing that the £13,800 for private school day places is somehow better value — rather than just “more privileged” — than the £6,199 per pupil in English state schools (it’s £600 a year less in Wales)? And therefore that the state school teacher is somehow “receiving benefits”?

    Why is recalling the post-War aim of “full employment” a “completely incoherent rant”?

    Or is it all just a bit of trolling?

  • Old Mortality

    Malcolm
    ‘You do need, however to wriggle out of your declaration: I think [Ruth Davidson] was considering the number of households which are in net deficit to the state: in other words, the income they receive from the state exceeds what they pay in direct or indirect taxes. This would include nearly all doctors and teachers as well as a substantial proportion of lawyers, not just those dependent on benefit.’
    She couldn’t possibly have arrived at a figure of 80%+ otherwise. Evidently, her colleague thinks the same.
    ‘Lord Forsyth, speaking on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, said it was an “unfortunate” way to present her view.
    He said Ms Davidson’s suggestion that those on the public sector payroll were dependent on the state could have been “phrased a bit better”.’

    ‘NHS blah blah blah’
    I wish you’d read more carefully Malcolm. You see what you want to see, an easy fully formed target for left-wing atack. I never made any judgment on the value of public vs private medicine except to point out the obvious that its practictioners are paid by the state and must form part of Ruth Davidson’s 80%. Ditto teachers.

    Why is recalling the post-War aim of “full employment” a “completely incoherent rant”?
    Largely because you don’t appear to have a very clear understanding of what it means. In the post-war golden area to which you refer, full employment at the top of the cycle meant that the only unemployed were those who happened to be between jobs. Long-term unemployment was statistically insignificant which might just owe something to the fact that unemployment pay was still part of an authentic social insurance scheme: what you received was related to what you contributed. As I have alluded to earlier, we now have a much more open economy which means that a far larger Keynesian boost (ie budget deficit) is required to deal with cyclical unemployment. So it’s all a bit more complicated than in the 1950s and if you can’t use the social security system to wean the long-term unemployed into jobs, it’s difficult to see any other way of reducing structural unemployment. You could, of course, create jobs for all of them in the public sector which paysthem more than they can receive from social security. Maybe, this is the key to full employment.
    Anyway, I’ve wasted enough time on you so please don’t bother to respond.