Iain Duncan Smith’s credit system doesn’t benefit anyone

York Press: The food bank at the Gateway's Centre in Acomb, York The food bank at the Gateway's Centre in Acomb, York

HOW ironic that the Press should carry two news articles, adjacent to each other in the edition of December 23.

One reporting that Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), the Work and Pensions Secretary, had accused leaders of a major food bank charity of “scaremongering” and denying that benefit reforms were linked to the rocketing number of people turning to food banks for assistance.

The other from the charity Action for Children, stating that British society must not revert to the “times of Charles Dickens” and leave the nation’s poorest families in desperate need of food and clothes.

Readers surely, will need no reminding that IDS is the head of the same department that has just been found guilty of wasting over £40,000,000 of taxpayers’ money on a computer system that has failed to bring in his claim to fame (Universal Credit) and over the next five years could possibly cost the tax payer another £90,000,000 and that the Liberal Democrats in the coalition government are allowing this to happen.

Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics.

Howard Perry, St James Place, Dringhouses, York.
 

• I TAKE exception to comments in Gavin Aitchison’s column of December 31, headlined Demonising the poor.

He claims critics are calling for no further improvements to society. This is not true. No one has said anything of the sort. I would have more justification in accusing a columnist of demonising anyone who dares to question the Stamp Out Poverty campaign.

References to personal priorities including cigarette and alcohol consumption are not cruel but honest observations. These are legitimate concerns which must be addressed in any proper debate.

Unfortunately it does not suit the mindset of those in the campaign, and so anyone who raises such an issue is immediately branded a wicked uncaring individual. There are, of course, many poor people struggling through no fault of their own and who need and deserve help.

However, it is also true that lifestyle choices and individual responsibility are valid points which cannot simply be dismissed.

The campaign may have good intentions, but it has a political undertone and is naive and simplistic. Even if a definition of what constitutes poverty in Britain in the 21st century could be agreed, any idea that it can be totally eradicated is without credibility.

So far the only solution put forward is that employers should miraculously create more jobs and pay massively higher wages. Just like that. Regardless of the fact that this would further push up the cost of living and result in bankruptcy of enterprises no longer viable.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York (Sent from: Warrugal, Victoria, Australia).

Comments (13)

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10:50am Thu 2 Jan 14

Zetkin says...

Mr Laverack is not making an honest observation about food bank clients' alcohol and tobacco consumption.

He simply hopes that parroting the line of the Mail, the Express, and their Tory masters often enough will eventually mean it being accepted as truth.

We're back to the vile Victorian notion of the undeserving poor. If anything Mr Aitchison was too charitable in stating that certain people want no further improvements to society; it seems to me that those individuals are actually taking us backwards, and I can't help wondering when the Tories & Liberals will come up with proposals to resurrect the workhouse, euphemistically rebranded as career development hostels.
Mr Laverack is not making an honest observation about food bank clients' alcohol and tobacco consumption. He simply hopes that parroting the line of the Mail, the Express, and their Tory masters often enough will eventually mean it being accepted as truth. We're back to the vile Victorian notion of the undeserving poor. If anything Mr Aitchison was too charitable in stating that certain people want no further improvements to society; it seems to me that those individuals are actually taking us backwards, and I can't help wondering when the Tories & Liberals will come up with proposals to resurrect the workhouse, euphemistically rebranded as career development hostels. Zetkin

1:57pm Thu 2 Jan 14

CaroleBaines says...

Mr Laverack cannot believe what he says, surely? It is almost childlike in its simplicity and over-generalisations
.

What about the wealth gap growing to Victorian proportions? What about genuine poverty for those in work as well as out of work? What about Mr Laverack's poor hard done to employers who do not pay any tax unlike the rest of us? Why are Starbucks allowed to negotiate their own tax, why are millionaires STILL allowed to use crooked schemes like the Flim Company scam to avoid paying their dues to society when those genuinely disabled are fed through the unfair machinations of ATOS?

Amazing, I am aware political bias can be an insidious blinder to the truth, but honestly, Mr Laverack excels as one who cannot or will not see!
Mr Laverack cannot believe what he says, surely? It is almost childlike in its simplicity and over-generalisations . What about the wealth gap growing to Victorian proportions? What about genuine poverty for those in work as well as out of work? What about Mr Laverack's poor hard done to employers who do not pay any tax unlike the rest of us? Why are Starbucks allowed to negotiate their own tax, why are millionaires STILL allowed to use crooked schemes like the Flim Company scam to avoid paying their dues to society when those genuinely disabled are fed through the unfair machinations of ATOS? Amazing, I am aware political bias can be an insidious blinder to the truth, but honestly, Mr Laverack excels as one who cannot or will not see! CaroleBaines

3:38pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Micklegate says...

What I don't understand is the whole article was about how there will always be poverty and because it's not as bad as it used to be doesn't mean we shouldn't act. That may be fair enough but the Press campaign is to 'stamp out poverty' which means eliminate it and yet then an article stresses it will always be here in some form.
What I don't understand is the whole article was about how there will always be poverty and because it's not as bad as it used to be doesn't mean we shouldn't act. That may be fair enough but the Press campaign is to 'stamp out poverty' which means eliminate it and yet then an article stresses it will always be here in some form. Micklegate

5:52pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Buzzz Light-year says...

I find it hard to believe that Matthew Laverack could genuinely be so childishly simplistic.
I find it hard to believe that Mr Laverack could be so hard of understanding to have completely missed the main point of Gavin Aitchison's balanced, thoughtful piece.
I find it hard to believe that Mr Laverack would put pen to paper or fingers to keys without first reading the article despite what his letter leads us to think.

No. I believe Mr L is being deliberately contrary and specious in order to further his own political ends.
The claim that there needs to be debate about "cigarette and alcohol consumption" is ridiculous - the article addressed that thoroughly. It was the main topic.

Did the Press "Stamp out Poverty" campaign get a mention in the article? No. So why does Mr Laverack bring it up?

Mr Laverack is having a fine old joke with us when he says "The campaign may have good intentions, but it has a political undertone and is naive and simplistic." - The man does simplistic political overtones in spades! Hark at the kettle!
But that's what he wants us to say.


Gavin Aitchison's article was the most reasoned and thoughtful I've seen on this topic around here, regardless of whether you agree with his sentiments. He wrote without the usual sensational knee-jerk and it was a breath of fresh air.
I find it hard to believe that Matthew Laverack could genuinely be so childishly simplistic. I find it hard to believe that Mr Laverack could be so hard of understanding to have completely missed the main point of Gavin Aitchison's balanced, thoughtful piece. I find it hard to believe that Mr Laverack would put pen to paper or fingers to keys without first reading the article despite what his letter leads us to think. No. I believe Mr L is being deliberately contrary and specious in order to further his own political ends. The claim that there needs to be debate about "cigarette and alcohol consumption" is ridiculous - the article addressed that thoroughly. It was the main topic. Did the Press "Stamp out Poverty" campaign get a mention in the article? No. So why does Mr Laverack bring it up? Mr Laverack is having a fine old joke with us when he says "The campaign may have good intentions, but it has a political undertone and is naive and simplistic." - The man does simplistic political overtones in spades! Hark at the kettle! But that's what he wants us to say. Gavin Aitchison's article was the most reasoned and thoughtful I've seen on this topic around here, regardless of whether you agree with his sentiments. He wrote without the usual sensational knee-jerk and it was a breath of fresh air. Buzzz Light-year

7:03pm Thu 2 Jan 14

Teabag1 says...

Are people donating cigerettes and booze to the food banks now?
Are people donating cigerettes and booze to the food banks now? Teabag1

8:36pm Thu 2 Jan 14

York Fox says...

My family live in a seaside town, where out of the holiday season a huge percentage of people are claiming JSA or other benefits, and I can tell you they are always in Wetherspoons, or outside it smoking, and happy to discuss their benefits life. Same with the many, many bookies in the town.

There are many genuine benefit claimants, at present I come into that bracket myself, but there are also a large number of claimants who don't want to work, and enjoy the lifestyle they can take from taxpayers and the state. They must be stopped and the psychology of entitlement must be ended for Britain to start working again. Safety net, yes. Lifestyle choice, no.
My family live in a seaside town, where out of the holiday season a huge percentage of people are claiming JSA or other benefits, and I can tell you they are always in Wetherspoons, or outside it smoking, and happy to discuss their benefits life. Same with the many, many bookies in the town. There are many genuine benefit claimants, at present I come into that bracket myself, but there are also a large number of claimants who don't want to work, and enjoy the lifestyle they can take from taxpayers and the state. They must be stopped and the psychology of entitlement must be ended for Britain to start working again. Safety net, yes. Lifestyle choice, no. York Fox

1:18am Fri 3 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

York Fox wrote:
My family live in a seaside town, where out of the holiday season a huge percentage of people are claiming JSA or other benefits, and I can tell you they are always in Wetherspoons, or outside it smoking, and happy to discuss their benefits life. Same with the many, many bookies in the town.

There are many genuine benefit claimants, at present I come into that bracket myself, but there are also a large number of claimants who don't want to work, and enjoy the lifestyle they can take from taxpayers and the state. They must be stopped and the psychology of entitlement must be ended for Britain to start working again. Safety net, yes. Lifestyle choice, no.
Yes... but the current system penalises ALL benefit claimants as if every single one of them is a "lazy feckless workshy layabout". There are ways and means of filtering out the genuine from the dossers... just for Jobseekers alone, for example, a system could be introduced where if a person has done a small amount of work for somebody (ie helping to lay a driveway, cleaning an old person's house... etc) and the person they have worked for has provided evidence, that goes onto the persons record as them 'actively seeking work' as they have actually done some work, and the person then gets a bonus of let's say £10 on top of normal dole money.... this would encourage genuine jobseekers as they'd get little boosts to their JSA whilst trying to get stable employment, and their record would show it as such so the jobcentre then aim more help at those people (assistance in getting a driving licence, interview technique help, help to get training for industry qualifications such as CSCS/SIA/CPCS/FLT/17
th Edition + Part P... etc) - whilst those who simply don't lift a finger would be more targeted into unpaid work placements and the like....

Whereas the current system is set up so you have to declare all work you've done, even voluntary work, and then your benefits are reduced as a result.
[quote][p][bold]York Fox[/bold] wrote: My family live in a seaside town, where out of the holiday season a huge percentage of people are claiming JSA or other benefits, and I can tell you they are always in Wetherspoons, or outside it smoking, and happy to discuss their benefits life. Same with the many, many bookies in the town. There are many genuine benefit claimants, at present I come into that bracket myself, but there are also a large number of claimants who don't want to work, and enjoy the lifestyle they can take from taxpayers and the state. They must be stopped and the psychology of entitlement must be ended for Britain to start working again. Safety net, yes. Lifestyle choice, no.[/p][/quote]Yes... but the current system penalises ALL benefit claimants as if every single one of them is a "lazy feckless workshy layabout". There are ways and means of filtering out the genuine from the dossers... just for Jobseekers alone, for example, a system could be introduced where if a person has done a small amount of work for somebody (ie helping to lay a driveway, cleaning an old person's house... etc) and the person they have worked for has provided evidence, that goes onto the persons record as them 'actively seeking work' as they have actually done some work, and the person then gets a bonus of let's say £10 on top of normal dole money.... this would encourage genuine jobseekers as they'd get little boosts to their JSA whilst trying to get stable employment, and their record would show it as such so the jobcentre then aim more help at those people (assistance in getting a driving licence, interview technique help, help to get training for industry qualifications such as CSCS/SIA/CPCS/FLT/17 th Edition + Part P... etc) - whilst those who simply don't lift a finger would be more targeted into unpaid work placements and the like.... Whereas the current system is set up so you have to declare all work you've done, even voluntary work, and then your benefits are reduced as a result. Magicman!

1:24am Fri 3 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

Howard Perry:
Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics

I've got a better one...

Immense Dip Sh*t

- he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list)
Howard Perry: [quote]Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics[/quote] I've got a better one... Immense Dip Sh*t - he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list) Magicman!

2:40am Fri 3 Jan 14

Tug job says...

Safety net, yes, but made secure against those who would wish to repeatedly defraud the system by making multiple false claims on it.
Safety net, yes, but made secure against those who would wish to repeatedly defraud the system by making multiple false claims on it. Tug job

2:42am Fri 3 Jan 14

Tug job says...

Magicman! wrote:
Howard Perry:
Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics

I've got a better one...

Immense Dip Sh*t

- he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list)
I understand that IDS overstated his qualifications when seeking approval as a Conservative Party candidate.
[quote][p][bold]Magicman![/bold] wrote: Howard Perry: [quote]Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics[/quote] I've got a better one... Immense Dip Sh*t - he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list)[/p][/quote]I understand that IDS overstated his qualifications when seeking approval as a Conservative Party candidate. Tug job

2:40pm Fri 3 Jan 14

Zetkin says...

Whether or not some claimaints can afford to drink at Wetherspoons is irrelevant.

These "reforms" are not about weeding out a few false claims (and remember according to the government's own figures, of every £1000 spent on benefits, just 7p is claimed fraudulently) it is about - in the words of Gavin's article - "demonising the poor".

By whipping up a moral panic, mistrust, and hatred, the government hopes to distract attention from the fact that far from us all being in it together, society is more polarised than at any time since Victoria was on the throne. The poor are most certainly getting poorer, but most people seem unaware that the the rich are getting richer at a phenomenal rate by cashing in on the recession.

Last year, directors of the top companies in Britain awarded themselves an average 14% pay rise. How many of us got one-tenth of that? recent figures showd that the average wage in our region has in fact fallen by 15% in the last five years.

It's laughable to call the benefits sysem a safety net, when recipients can have their benefits suspended for four weeks because in one given week the recipient has applied for nine jobs instead of ten, as reported recently in the Press.

If the government wants to save money, how about making a serious attempt to rake in the estimated £120 billion unpaid tax that's piled up in banks around the country? How about demonising the rich who are accumulating wealth at the expense of the rest of us?

Don't hold your breath.
Whether or not some claimaints can afford to drink at Wetherspoons is irrelevant. These "reforms" are not about weeding out a few false claims (and remember according to the government's own figures, of every £1000 spent on benefits, just 7p is claimed fraudulently) it is about - in the words of Gavin's article - "demonising the poor". By whipping up a moral panic, mistrust, and hatred, the government hopes to distract attention from the fact that far from us all being in it together, society is more polarised than at any time since Victoria was on the throne. The poor are most certainly getting poorer, but most people seem unaware that the the rich are getting richer at a phenomenal rate by cashing in on the recession. Last year, directors of the top companies in Britain awarded themselves an average 14% pay rise. How many of us got one-tenth of that? recent figures showd that the average wage in our region has in fact fallen by 15% in the last five years. It's laughable to call the benefits sysem a safety net, when recipients can have their benefits suspended for four weeks because in one given week the recipient has applied for nine jobs instead of ten, as reported recently in the Press. If the government wants to save money, how about making a serious attempt to rake in the estimated £120 billion unpaid tax that's piled up in banks around the country? How about demonising the rich who are accumulating wealth at the expense of the rest of us? Don't hold your breath. Zetkin

5:38pm Fri 3 Jan 14

York Fox says...

Zetkin wrote:
Whether or not some claimaints can afford to drink at Wetherspoons is irrelevant.

These "reforms" are not about weeding out a few false claims (and remember according to the government's own figures, of every £1000 spent on benefits, just 7p is claimed fraudulently) it is about - in the words of Gavin's article - "demonising the poor".

By whipping up a moral panic, mistrust, and hatred, the government hopes to distract attention from the fact that far from us all being in it together, society is more polarised than at any time since Victoria was on the throne. The poor are most certainly getting poorer, but most people seem unaware that the the rich are getting richer at a phenomenal rate by cashing in on the recession.

Last year, directors of the top companies in Britain awarded themselves an average 14% pay rise. How many of us got one-tenth of that? recent figures showd that the average wage in our region has in fact fallen by 15% in the last five years.

It's laughable to call the benefits sysem a safety net, when recipients can have their benefits suspended for four weeks because in one given week the recipient has applied for nine jobs instead of ten, as reported recently in the Press.

If the government wants to save money, how about making a serious attempt to rake in the estimated £120 billion unpaid tax that's piled up in banks around the country? How about demonising the rich who are accumulating wealth at the expense of the rest of us?

Don't hold your breath.
Zetkin - claimed 'fraudulently' as recognised by those statistics is not the point here. There are lots of people claiming without genuinely needing it, without it being fraud. They aren't breaking laws, just abusing the system within the law as they have decided that even with the jumping of hoops, they would rather be on benefits than have to go to work.

Remember that there were 100,000 households taking home significantly more from benefits than the average person working their proverbial off on the average UK wage, let alone the minumum wage. That is plain wrong - work must always pay more than the state.

Society is more polarised than it was after the war, but that problem was never righted by Labour, and was made massively worse by the crash in 2008. Time will right this problem as newfound wealth filters down into new companies, new projects and new jobs.

As I have said, I am going through this process myself, and it is possible to stick to the jobseekers agreement assuming you are genuinely seeking work. Yes it is a pain, and at times you can spend time jumping through hoops rather than being focussed on getting the job you want and can get. Small price to pay for encouraging everyone back into work though, which surely is the result even 'the left' are looking for.
[quote][p][bold]Zetkin[/bold] wrote: Whether or not some claimaints can afford to drink at Wetherspoons is irrelevant. These "reforms" are not about weeding out a few false claims (and remember according to the government's own figures, of every £1000 spent on benefits, just 7p is claimed fraudulently) it is about - in the words of Gavin's article - "demonising the poor". By whipping up a moral panic, mistrust, and hatred, the government hopes to distract attention from the fact that far from us all being in it together, society is more polarised than at any time since Victoria was on the throne. The poor are most certainly getting poorer, but most people seem unaware that the the rich are getting richer at a phenomenal rate by cashing in on the recession. Last year, directors of the top companies in Britain awarded themselves an average 14% pay rise. How many of us got one-tenth of that? recent figures showd that the average wage in our region has in fact fallen by 15% in the last five years. It's laughable to call the benefits sysem a safety net, when recipients can have their benefits suspended for four weeks because in one given week the recipient has applied for nine jobs instead of ten, as reported recently in the Press. If the government wants to save money, how about making a serious attempt to rake in the estimated £120 billion unpaid tax that's piled up in banks around the country? How about demonising the rich who are accumulating wealth at the expense of the rest of us? Don't hold your breath.[/p][/quote]Zetkin - claimed 'fraudulently' as recognised by those statistics is not the point here. There are lots of people claiming without genuinely needing it, without it being fraud. They aren't breaking laws, just abusing the system within the law as they have decided that even with the jumping of hoops, they would rather be on benefits than have to go to work. Remember that there were 100,000 households taking home significantly more from benefits than the average person working their proverbial off on the average UK wage, let alone the minumum wage. That is plain wrong - work must always pay more than the state. Society is more polarised than it was after the war, but that problem was never righted by Labour, and was made massively worse by the crash in 2008. Time will right this problem as newfound wealth filters down into new companies, new projects and new jobs. As I have said, I am going through this process myself, and it is possible to stick to the jobseekers agreement assuming you are genuinely seeking work. Yes it is a pain, and at times you can spend time jumping through hoops rather than being focussed on getting the job you want and can get. Small price to pay for encouraging everyone back into work though, which surely is the result even 'the left' are looking for. York Fox

4:38am Sat 4 Jan 14

Magicman! says...

Tug job wrote:
Magicman! wrote:
Howard Perry:
Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics

I've got a better one...

Immense Dip Sh*t

- he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list)
I understand that IDS overstated his qualifications when seeking approval as a Conservative Party candidate.
I think one of the qualifications that won them over was "having a posh sounding voice"!
[quote][p][bold]Tug job[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Magicman![/bold] wrote: Howard Perry: [quote]Surely it must be time for IDS to be renamed as I Deny Statistics[/quote] I've got a better one... Immense Dip Sh*t - he has WASTED 40 MILLION POUNDS of money on a failed computer system, money which has now been written off, meanwhile countless peoples' lives are being wrecked because Cameron and his crooks are pulling all benefits money from people who simply cannot work because they are too ill or disabled, and people are dying as a result. Think of how many thousands of people could have been supported for several years had IDS not been foolishly given such a position of responsibility; instead he sits there refusing to live life for a month on Jobseekers allowance alone and nothing else whilst preaching that those who try to scrape by on benefits should just get a job, whilst pouring money down the toilet. If David Cameron wasn't around, then Ian Duncan Smith would be THE most incompetant person in government (but whilst Cameron's around, IDS is number 2 on the list)[/p][/quote]I understand that IDS overstated his qualifications when seeking approval as a Conservative Party candidate.[/p][/quote]I think one of the qualifications that won them over was "having a posh sounding voice"! Magicman!

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