Thursday, January 03, 2013

More On Universal Credit - Stable Door Edition

When I wrote about the Universal Credit rules for the self-employed, which will do such damage to the self-employed handyman or the single mum selling her crafts at local fairs, I forgot about another target - the Big Issue Benefits Loophole :

"A Big Issue seller is claiming victory in a landmark case to have her work classed as a proper job and thus be eligible for extra benefits.

Romanian Firuta Vasile was refused housing benefit because a local authority judged that her job selling the magazine "didn't count".

But she has successfully argued that because she bought the Big Issues and sold them at her own profit or loss she was self-employed.

Speaking through an interpreter, Vasile, 27, said she came to the UK in 2007 to look for a job, but could only find work selling the Big Issue."

Romanians and Bulgarians aren't allowed to work here unless they're self-employed. And you'll have noticed the terrible shortage of Big Issue sellers which is crippling British industry. But it sounds as if the Big Issue is their flexible friend :

"The Big Issue exists to offer homeless people and those at risk of homelessness the opportunity to work and earn an income. This is offered irrespective of a person’s background or origin. Earning their own money reduces dependency on hand-outs from the state, charities and the public.. "
Even when the entire raison-d'etre of "earning their own money" is to get "hand-outs from the state" ? It's not surprising that Roma Big Issue sellers are an increasingly common sight.

The good news is that, come October, all this will stop and our self-employed sellers will be assumed to have an income of around £250 pw - whether they have or not.

The bad news is that, come December, the entire populations of Romania and Bulgaria will be free to move to the UK, self-employed or not.  

I do wonder if the aim of our rulers is actually to push immigration to the levels where the Brits will, of their own volition, call for the end of the Welfare State. Maybe that Grant Shapps isn't as stupid as he sounds, only as unpleasant as he sounds.

"I do think that it’s right for the taxpayer at large, who after going out, working hard, paying their taxes, should feel that they’re not having to pay for people who are in receipt of benefits to get a higher effective pay rise than the people actually working. So I think this is an argument about fairness."
As I've said before, benefits are meant to afford a minimum standard of living. Raising them by 1% a year for three years, when inflation on necessities is probably over 5%, will drop them a long way below that standard. Now maybe that standard was set too high. But that's not what he's arguing. He's arguing that it's "fair" that a minimum standard set by Parliament should be reduced because other, better-off people are tightening their belts.

I said he's not stupid. People working and still struggling to pay the electric bill aren't going to be overly sympathetic, to put it mildly. Good politics if lousy humanity.     
 

10 comments:

Ryan said...

I have come full circle on the welfare state thing. I now believe it is immoral to force working people to give up 50% of their working lives in order to fund those that have no intention of working at all. Who says that the lives of these people on benefits have any greater value than the life of the farmer working all hours to put the food on their table when they are contributing nothing? The farmer is giving up the equivalent of a third of the best years of his life to fund the lives of strangers who have no obvious worth at all. Socialism seeks to obscure this unpalatable fact by talking only in cash terms, but the reality is that socialism is about people of worth being forced to give up their lives to help people they don't know and get less than nothing in return.

BenSix said...

I do wonder if the aim of our rulers is actually to push immigration to the levels where the Brits will, of their own volition, call for the end of the Welfare State.

I doubt that this is true but it is the open ambition of some economists.

Anonymous said...

Ryan - "in order to fund those that have no intention of working at all"

But, thanks to the import of a lot of bright Eastern Europeans (as I keep repeating, little Bozenka after only a couple of months in Lidl gets the Deputy Manager badge), a lot of young Brits who DO want to work find there's a bright boy from Krakow in front of them in the interview.

Laban

PS - thanks for that link Ben.

Richard Brown said...

Anon 10.47

True but East Europeans claim benefits as well, just look at their birth rate.

Ryan said...

I think the East European immigration issue is separate from the broader question of benefits.

I'm simply pointing out that the supposed morality of paying out benefits to those that are not working is not so clear when you stop talking about "cash" and start talking in terms of days of ones life that someone is giving up to pay those benefits. In any case, the idea that we should be keeping whole families well fed and in good homes when they contribute nothing is crazy when you can see that the nation needs a lot of work doing. At the very least the bridges over the M4 could do with a lick of paint. Let's get on with brightening the place up and paying people for doing it rather than sitting on their backsides watching daytime TV. "Unemployment" just means the jobs that people were doing yesterday are obsolete today - it doesn't mean we have run out of things to do.

You are quite correct that immigration is pushing up unemployment, and pushing down wages. The government is one of the wrost offenders on this! It is frankly amazing that the UK has managed to expand sufficiently to absorb most of the new incomers, but it is not sustainable. A better approach would be to allow work permits during the good time but throw out the immigrants during the bad times to create a buffer of jobs for the natives. The fact the political elite have not taken this approach makes it quite clear they don't have their own existing electorate in mind while making these decisions.

There are no "bright boys from Krakow". It is a myth. If the Poles was some kind of highly trained, super-educated master race they wouldn't need to come here in the first place because Poland wouldn't actually be a shit hole dependent on EU largesse. In any case, listen more carefully to the accents - many of these "Poles" are Ukranians and Russians that have bought Polish passports on the black market. If they weren't then Poland would be empty of young people by now and I can assure you it isn't. Try not to be led by the nose into believing what the Guardian tells you - the truth is in front of you.

Anonymous said...

Ryan, where were the underclass (hereditarily speaking) in 1970? Married taxpayers working in factories. Salt of the earth they were! Not to mention 1940.

Anonymous said...

BTW, as a part time employee on £85/wk (masters degree, BA etc etc) working in a fluent foreign language (german) I would would hugely in favour of being given a uniform and taken out in a gang to do useful social work. However, the 'liberal' global capitalists will not countenence this not to mention the 'left'. The poor are not your inferiors.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It was very obvious, a few years ago, when all the local homeless and similar disappeared from selling the Big Issue, to be replaced by older Romanians and similar. So obvious, and so quick, that I assumed gangmasters were involved and stopped buying the mag forthwith. Those bastards don't need any more money and I'm damn sure the Romanians aren't getting it anyway.

It'll be interesting to see who appears in their place once the Romanians have legal right of residence and benefits here.

[Cross-commented here because the post about Big Issue seems to have commenting turned off.]

cheap hajj packages said...

t was very apparent, a few decades ago, when all the regional abandoned and identical vanished from promoting the Big Problem, to be changed by mature Romanians and identical. So apparent, and so fast, that I believed gangmasters were engaged and ceased purchasing the mag forthwith. Those bastards don't need any more cash and I'm really sure the Romanians aren't getting it anyway.

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