Ouch Too

Forum => News and Current Affairs. => Topic started by: On the edge on 28 Jul 2021 09:37AM

Title: We're Rich!
Post by: On the edge on 28 Jul 2021 09:37AM
Boris is to invest millions in the disabled and their care, I wonder what that means in real terms?  It was said this week, £1.8 Billion is to go to the disabled, does anyone believe a word of that?  In Wales they were discussing a Universal 'wage' for all, including disabled a one size/wage for everyone, like that will work!  That is a lot of door widening and safety bars aint it?   Today the DWP minister (A complete stranger to me!), said welfare cuts enable, and lots of ex-criminals will get help, welcome to la-la land.
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Jul 2021 10:35AM
I thought universal wage was supposed to work like universal basic basic income, the trials of which around the world have varied massively.  There was a trial that seemed to involve also cutting the equivalent of PIP etc.  (I'm trying to remember where it was - I think Ottawa, but I'd need to check).  But it hasn't been done like that everywhere.  Introduced well in some areas, it has shown promise.

In some ways, it can be seen as being like a tax allowance.  After all, why should we have tax allowances?  Why allow us to earn a certain amount or get a certain amount of capital gain without paying for it?

Or what about use of public services?  There are lots of public services we get without having to pay for them, e.g. because of exemptions arising from age, disability, impoverishment, temporary residence etc.  (Though I'm sure there are plenty of politicians and profiteers who'd like to change that.)

There are places in the world where they provide collectively, without payment by individual, what one could call a 'ration' that could be seen as an equivalent of a bit of UBI.  Depending on where you are in the world, you might be able to benefit without payment unless you can afford to chip into collective taxation from 'free' water, wifi, education, healthcare, grazing land, foraged food, drainage, fire service, public transport, shelter, legal representation...

We have some of those, e.g. a lot of healthcare and emergency services, although successive governments have been privatising as many of those that they can.  

However, in relation to what could be done in the way of UBI or universal wage or similar, power to pay extra benefits is devolved, but to my knowledge power to cut existing benefits isn't.  So I don't see this Welsh proposal as being about cutting disability benefits.

That being said, if you asked me whether I thought Boris and his mob would introduce UBI if they thought it could be used to sneak in cuts to disability benefits/support, then I'd say yes, I think they'd do anything they could to pursue 'small state' and that I now, at the risk of being seen as melodramatic and paranoid, see them as eugenecist.

As for your scepticism about the £1.8 billion, I think you're mistaken.  I think he will introduce it.  Of course, he'll probably use it as an excuse to cut at least three times as much in other benefits...oh, I see what you mean...
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Jul 2021 11:55AM
I just checked, the Welsh proposal is UBI.

That being said, there have been quite a few variations on how it's been tried out.

The pros include reducing a load of bureaucracy in relation to making people out of work seek work, which trials show doesn't decrease the  number of people on UBI getting into work.  It can also reduce healthcare costs and various costs relating to homelessness and what I'll call 'poverty crime' (e.g. stealing basic food, sanitary towels etc., trespassing for shelter etc.)

The cons include the whole tangled issue of incapacity for work, disability etc., because either you don't give an uplift to pay for extra needs, or you have some form of assessment for them, in which case what have you saved as against incapacity benefits anyway? 

Well, apart from reducing the number of assessments, which our government is proposing in relation to PIP & UC.  But then they're proposing merging PIP with UC.  Hmm - making it means-tested, eh?  Surely not.  Well if merging with UC didn't mean means-testing, why have legacy ESA and legacy JSA?  Will we have legacy PIP?  If so, will it be NI based like legacy ESA & JSA, or not?  If not, what's the point in merging?

I'm not anti-UBI in principle, because I believe that when well-implemented, it can be a very positive thing, although I'd rather see more communal free basics provision instead, like free water, free milk for children, free basic first aid stuff, free basic nutrition such as vitamin pills or milk.

But I wouldn't trust Boris's mob (or recent governments of other political persuasions) not to use it as an excuse for cuts.

Sorry to sound so gloomy on yet another thread.  OtE - you and I may perhaps have different views on aspects of UBI as a concept, but I think we agree on the likelihood of its being used in some way as a use to cut support for disabled people.
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: ditchdwellers on 28 Jul 2021 12:05PM
I don't trust any of the bonkers bonkers ideas and proposed policies that Boris et al are spouting at the moment. 

This article in today's Guardian talks about disability support, including the idea of a Access to Work Passport that you can show an employer detailing what exactly, it doesn't say. Why not just tattoo my forehead with something derogatory or microchip me instead? 
Sorry, feeling got at today from all sides of bloody beaurocracy. 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/28/uk-ministers-lay-out-most-ambitious-plan-for-disabled-workers
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: On the edge on 28 Jul 2021 12:56PM
I don't trust any of the bonkers bonkers ideas and proposed policies that Boris et al are spouting at the moment.

This article in today's Guardian talks about disability support, including the idea of a Access to Work Passport that you can show an employer detailing what exactly, it doesn't say. Why not just tattoo my forehead with something derogatory or microchip me instead?
Sorry, feeling got at today from all sides of bloody beaurocracy.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jul/28/uk-ministers-lay-out-most-ambitious-plan-for-disabled-workers
There are two versions of this passport idea, one with regards to the funding of A2W, the other more general and 'inclusive' proposed by the TUC which is confusing more than anything as it is more a 'reminder' to your employer what they have to provide for you more than anything, it is no passport TO a job par se.  I am unsure waving this reminder in employers faces has much mileage. In fact the civil service has such a passport already.  Anyone who is assuming such a passport means plain sailing to support in getting a job or indeed keeping it, is I suspect, doomed to some disappointment.

As others have said Boris is very unlikely to give us anything without cutting something else, its juggling figures really.  The DWP will stop allowances elsewhere because they say the state is giving you money/support.  If you get a grant for a wider door or something then your DWP award goes down at the same time I expect, the DWP assuming your 'problem' has been solved..  UBI doesn't work for disabled because by default you need more than able-bodied do for basics.  Covid has hit my savings hard, e.g. I had to use taxis near everywhere when public transport locally  closed virtually, and we were/are still advised not to use them. There are no 'allowances' for deaf to get help with that.

I'd like to see an allowance for deaf or hearing loss help, to empower us to 'buy in' our communication support as and when we need it.  We become the 'employers' of our support, not the state direct.  The state only empowers our access to  THEM nowhere else, whereas we would want to use support to access more of society etc and social areas this would assist equality and more integration.  It was discussed many times, but our paid help has said no way do they want us to employ them, they said deaf would exploit it and make support impossible, 68% don't use professional help now, and could use any award, for pocket money or to pay relatives.  DLA did this at the start with deaf students claiming it was extra beer money to them.
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Jul 2021 02:39PM
Quote
UBI doesn't work for disabled because by default you need more than able-bodied do for basics.


UBI is a basic cost of living income.  It isn't of itself a maximum or excluding other forms of support, it's just that social security payment types and systems that aren't actually UBI can be called UBI and that can be used as cover for removing other support.

I want to explain this by illustration, apply the distinction to disability, then explain why I think the distinction matters in our fight.

The illustration - healthcare.  In some countries, healthcare is free, in some countries you pay for it, in some countries you pay for it but may get help if your income is low.

UBI of itself isn't a healthcare benefit or substitute for healthcare.  It's what I'll call a cost of living payment.  Thus if you live in a country where healthcare is free, then that's not an issue.  If you live in a country where you have to pay anyway, then giving UBI doesn't take away entitlement to healthcare, because you didn't have any. 

But if you live in a country where some people get free healthcare and some people don't, whilst in its pure form UBI wouldn't make a difference, because it's not a substitute for healthcare provision/cover, it can be used as an excuse by governments to take away healthcare provision for poorer people by disingenuously combining it with healthcare provision.  In our country, it could be used as an excuse to take away free prescriptions or free dental care.  But that would be distorting what UBI is for political purposes.

Applying this to UBI and disability.  UBI isn't a disability support payment.  It's a basic cost of living payment, and therefore disability costs are irrelevant to it.  However, UBI can be hijacked, and something which is not actually UBI labelled as such as part of the process of taking away different sorts of provision such as disability support.

Why the distinction matters.   I feel that it's important to make this distinction because I believe that when in future those of us that speak up on disability rights want to challenge what our government may try to do by way of introducing what I'll call fake or distorted UBI, we need to be able to challenge clearly.  It's not enough to challenge taking away our support and rights as disabled people, we need to be able to challenge any provision that's called UBI but isn't UBI.  Why?  Because if we don't, the government will be able to misuse statistics relating to the success of various UBI trials.  UBI that actually is UBI not pretend/fake UBI, can make a difference for the better for people. 

We all know our government is excellent at propaganda.  Look how they've sold the notion that only paying benefits for the first two children in a family is fair because it deters people from having too many children and expecting others to pay for them.  But it isn't punishing the parents, is it?  It's punishing the children.  I describe it as the only criminal offence in this country with an age of criminal responsibility of zero years minus nine months.  We have to fight UBI propaganda selling fake UBI as UBI.
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: ditchdwellers on 28 Jul 2021 02:47PM
Thanks for the insight OtE.

I am very sceptical of A t W being fit for purpose have received A to W assessments in the past when I was working, and they really didn't provide the support I needed. It felt like the bare minimum so they complete their paperwork rather than what was actually going to support me in my work. I can't see a 'passport ' making things any better. 

As far as a universal income is concerned, I think it has shown not to be a great success in those countries it has been trialled in. I wouldn't put anything past this government to reduce the welfare bill though and definitely think it could be a way of quietly introducing widespread cuts.
Title: Re: We're Rich!
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 28 Jul 2021 04:00PM
I think I could sum up AtW and most modern benefits thus:-

"[name of sort of help] was devised to help people and at first seemed really good.  But over time, the criteria shifted, it was underfunded, impossible targets were set for staff, the public were flooded with nasty propaganda about fake claimants, and the net result was people who genuinely needed help having their hopes raised and dashed."

Mind you, as an aside whilst I'm rambly, I can feel the steam coming out of my ears every time I type the word 'benefit' and try to find a substitute.  Essential support portrayed by a word that's used for things like perks of the job, extras, nice things, more than your entitlement etc.  Like many, many jargon-changes in relation to social security and the rest of the welfare state, fantastic propaganda by nasty politicians.