Sunday 3 March 2013

A Government of Imbeciles

OK, first up, I am a supporter of the benefit cap, OK?  But it has to be done properly, or It Won't Work.

Instead, from our government of imbeciles and Civil Service of dumb-insolent gits (Oh Yes, Minister!  - *heh heh*) we get the following.

The cap is to be piloted in 4 London Boroughs, one of which is Croydon.  Readers will know that I am quite well tapped in to the civic affairs of said Borough, and I present you with what is going to happen now.

(a) in general:  landlords across the whole of South London now ask of prospective social tenants being housed under Homeless Persons provisions (not necessarily in their home borough): which Borough is paying your Benefits?  If the answer is 'Croydon' they say - on yer bike: and they wait for someone being housed by (and paid for), say Lambeth or Lewisham instead.  This of course includes Croydon landlords ...

(b) a specific actual case:  Mr & Mrs X with 10 children, paying £480 rent per week, receiving just under £1,000 per week in benefits, now to be capped at £500.  What happens next ?  Well maybe they move to Hull of their own free will and accord, but probably not.  So something will have to give: either the rent or the food or some combination of these, in which case, yes, at least some of the said 10 children will be taken into care.  Foster Care ?  Costs £50,000 per annum. Residential Care ?  Costs £80,000 per annum.  Paid for by LB Croydon.

Oh, and on the subject of foster care; under the soi-disant 'bedroom tax', anyone using a bedroom for a foster child is deemed to be keeping it as a spare bedroom (becuase not being occupied by a member of the family) and will be penalised accordingly.

Anyone see a flaw in these arrangements ?  Croydon likely to be staying in Tory control come in 2014 ?

I might almost be driven to swear-blogging.



Timbo614 said...

It may be temporarily more expensive to put the children in care but surely that this is meant as a "lesson" a "there are limits" lesson. It will put people off have 10 or 11 children if they get taken away and with them, the benefit money....

The bedroom tax on people fostering seems an unintended consequence, there's always one. Will probably be amended to take this anomaly out.

Alan said...

All political parties today are acting as if they are living in the 1960's.

The world has changed in many ways. The most obvious change is increased complexity. The benefits system in the '60s was understandable, today I doubt any one person fully understands the system.

Simplification of the system would certainly help, but that alone is not sufficient. Citizens expectations of the system have also changed. There is the expectation that the system should work for a multitude of use cases.

Private business is slowly adapting to the changes around us.

A lot of the complexity is being offloaded to computer systems. Take modern aircraft; they have been "flown" for 1000's of hours in a simulator before any manufacturing takes place. The same has to happen in government. The benefits system is so complex it has to move into a computer model. (As should the tax system)

There are also secondary changes in business, which we are seeing (mainly) in new start ups. The traditional pyramid with the boss at the top, and workers at the bottom is changing. Forward looking companies are moving towards an upside down pyramid. Employees are the innovators, managers are the facilitators.

In summary, today's politicians are dinosaurs and can only think in prehistoric ways.

Conservatives, by definition, are stuck in the old ways and are too old to understand, or accept new ways of thinking. Socialists are addicted to the faux promise of living in their perfect little "green animal farm".

Any decision made by today's politicians will always result in worst possible outcome for the UK. Trading using that assumption is the path to profit.

andrew said...

Alan : +1
Society lags the legislature just as the legislature lags real life viz 'the war on drugs '

What surprises me is that you (Not Alan) are surprised at their incompetence.

in Russia the masses hope for a strong Man (it is always a man) who will bring order and purpose.

On a sort of right wing blog I think we hope for a reasonable set of rules and asking for more is a bit unreasonable.

andrew said...

Changing the subject - I enjoyed Farrage's comment ' if the cons had not split the vote we would have won ' democracy in action Even though I do not support them.

Blue Eyes said...

I thought the benefits cap was a done deal. I had no idea it was only at the "trial" stage. FFS. And you are spot on you can't bring it in in half (or 4 32ths) of a city. FFS.

Roll on the apocalypse.

rwendland said...

Another strategy for Mr & Mrs X would be to seperate and/or divorce splitting the kids 5 each - then each of them would have a £500/week benefits cap, largely solving the financial problem for them. Another win for Tories?

If they could then find a landlord that would split a house into 2 apartments, landlord & tenant could both be happy!

Of course, if the new accomodation involves a significant change of location, all the kids will also have to change schools, which will help them all no end, I'm sure!

Blue Eyes said...

Rwendland, that is basically what one of my cousins did during the early 90s recession. He had only casual work and his partner described herself as professionally unemployed. They got two housing association flats in the same building, refused to get married even though they wanted to, and lived fairly happily in two flats!

Complex systems drive perverse outcomes...

CityUnslicker said...

Mr ND, the cynic in me says the Tories will not be losing many votes by doing this. The actors involved I doubt vote at all and if so vote with the Red team.

The extra costs burdened onto the council will be a pain, but made up for somewhere else or with a rise in the council tax - the latter of which is (sadly) not very well correlated with councils changing hands.

Anonymous said...

Between here, The Slog, The Guardian and The Telegraph the only common denominator I can find is 'Change is bad because [insert political case here]'

No wonder politicians are accused of being spineless - every solution or proposed solution brings out a raft of homeless lesbians or bankrupt orphans - each one making the politician look like a fool/heartless bastard.

Well this is what happens when you engineer a boom whereby you dont build any social housing and allow Darren from Essex to build up a portfolio of 50 buy-to-let hovels on interest-only payments.
Now we have a 40% increase in 25-40 year olds living in rented accommodation while pensioners knock around in 5 bed houses and their pensions are decimated.
Well done Labour for causing it, well done Tories for doing nothing about it.
Youth unemployment is 3rd in OECD after Spain and Greece ( so not only will they never afford their own houses, they cant even afford to rent. Graduate unemployment is high and rising with many expected to work in Pound shops it seems.
Now, when you have an deprived class who have shown themselves capable of rioting and you add to that a cohort of educated, unemployed people what you have is an 'officer class'. Add to that the idea that together they see themselves as victims of deliberate government policies ('financial repression')and what do you have?
You have Northern Ireland circa 1969.
......So Good Luck with that.

Blue Eyes said...

One problem is that politicians never say "right, here is what the welfare system SHOULD look like" they tinker with what already exists. So instead of getting a well-design simple system we get a byzantine machine that throws out stupid results (shoe woman) and huge numbers of victims every time a change is proposed.

Let's start again.

Nick Drew said...

CU - it's not your non-voting 'actors', it's your apoplectic Tories who usually vote, but won't in 2014

the number of activists we've lost over gay marriage alone is material

Anon - these are not sophisticated observations I'm making, and I don't pretend otherwise: it's highlighting bread-and-butter political cock-up of a truly crass, and mostly avoidable nature

if you imagine at this stage in the cycle that a Tory government can blithely play trial-and-error with its measures, I beg to disagree

you can only get away with that when you are a Thatcher in 1985 or a Blair in 2002

Ryan said...

Hmmm, you have neglected to consider that perhaps the "trial" was set up to fail? Cameron is clearly in thrall to the LimpDems and it is obvious that the Tories are even less likely to win an outright majority at the next election than last time. He needs to keep the LimpDems on board to keep himself in office. So he's giving them what they want whilst at the same time appearing to give the Daily Mail readers what they want.

I suspect the following scenario will play out - trial will end in embarrassing failure and Daily Mail readers will be made to feel guilty about the negative outcomes for struggling single mums in central london. Policy will then be brought to an abrupt end. Seems to be the way all Tory policy is going at the mo. They say the right things for the Daily Mail but somehow they never manage to actually do the right things. Hence the cuts don't transpire to be cuts, the immigration controls aren't really controls at all, education reform doesn't actually get off the ground. The Tories are seen to be running the country but actually there is no change.

Farage is on to a winner I think, and UKIP is suddenly going to look much more credible after 2014. I expect mass defections.

Bill Quango MP said...

Ryan: I disagree that they aren't trying, or even that they aren'y succeeding.

There IS welfare reform
There ARE cuts {local theater just just for good to the surprise of everyone. Half the libraries are gone or going..etc}
There have been a surge of free schools and changes {mostly paper name changes, granted, } to schools.

The real problem is where they started from.

How could a woman be allowed to have her own super shoe house for her many many offspring. Why is the welfare budget larger than defence and education and business combined?
Who decided increasing very, very expensive and expensive to remove public sector workers to be larger than the private sector was a good idea?
Why did we encourage 2 million immigrants to come to the country but not build anywhere for them to live, and allowed a housing boom, talked about as peaking in 2003, to run for another 5 years?
Why was the FSA introduced? Who signed that off?

And on and on and on.

The problems are almost of an insurmountable Greecian size.
Made worse by the country being skint.

IDS said it would cost MORE short term to implement his cuts. We don't even have the money to spend to save money.

So, Tories are doing lots. But its not enough. Not seen to be enough and not going to work in time for them anyway.

Blue Eyes said...

BQ you are right. But the government has been fairly incompetent about they way that these reforms have been brought it. As ND notes in the post the way these welfare changes are being implemented guarantees howling from various quarters. And why are they only being put in place as a trial so far into the parliament? What has taken them so long?

Where is the sense of urgency required to stop the country from going spectacularly bust? Where is the urgency required to get some of the reforms working by the time of the election? We've collectively been pretending that we are not Greece or Spain, but deep down we know we aren't that far behind.

I think that these fools sat around the cabinet table in May 2010 and told themselves that all they had to do was talk the talk and wait for a boom to arrive.

Ryan said...

I'll believe what you say, BQ, when there are no more government information films on the TV paid for by the taxpayer and telling us to kerb our tendency to show expressions of free will such as drinking and smoking.

I'll believe it, BQ, when the taxpayer is no longer paying to dig up the M4, yet again, to replace the central crash barriers.

I'll believe it when the government aren't wasting more money on a fast train from Birmingham to London that nobody wants or has asked for.

Wake up, BQ, your PM is lying to you, has been lying to you since Lisbon and intends to lie to you all through the next election. Unfortunately for him too many hard-core Tory voters like myself have woken up to him and will not, under any circumstances, be voting for him again. So you better consider giving him the knife, BQ, because continuing to support this lame-duck do-nothing limp-dem in sheeps clothing waste of space of a government isn't doing the Tory party or the nation any long-term favours. You'd better do it before he taints the rest of the party with his poison and the whole lot are seen as limp-wristed charlatans. I'd rather put Labour back in power and see them screw up properly than see us limp on like a zombie nation. Brits deserve better.

Ryan said...

Oh and BQ, don't try and pull a fast one. Local libraries and local theaters are not paid for by central government. Those closed because central government refused to provide local government with enough funding to cover local government debts, even though local government is significantly m ore efficient than centreal government which has done nothing statistically to reduce its deficit.

So the local councils closed the libraries and theaters that were not part of the great Labour expansion in public services. Meanwhile the teaching assistants that did appear under Labour continue in their jobs despite the fact that even Blair had to admit they weren't achieving anything. Consequently Tory voters that continue to pay their taxes find that they are getting less and less back as Cameron diverts what money there is to the least deserving. There is nothing different under this government that would not be the case under Gordon Brown, forced as he would have been to confront the curtailment of public spending by the realities of the current economic situation - but unfortunately we don't have the delight of watching Labour crushed by the weight of their own shortcomings because that idiot Cameron was so eager to get into the driving seat.

Blue Eyes said...

Ryan, at least under the Tories-led we don't get economic planning, winners picked and widespread micro-management of the economy from Whitehall.


Bill Quango MP said...

Ryan: I'm aware of local funding and government funding.
but if the money the government gives to local councils being reduced isn't a cut, then what is?

HMG still takes in all that local revenue. Just doesn't dish it out so forcing councils to make cuts to their budgets.

I'm with CU and Blue. The cuts are going ahead. The public sector payrol HAS shrunk. Hospitals get less. Every department except Foreign aid gets less.

Now why money continues to trickle into Quango's , junkets, MPs pockets, civil service bonuses, the BBC, diversity and eco scams, train companies, utility companies or flows offshore via Starbucks type tax avoidance schemes is a mystery.

Its probably that these are small beer.
A million quid on an office refurb at DOSAC sounds scandalous to us, but in budget terms its a hundredth of a penny. Far easier to make everyone work to 70 and scrap the military and save the needed billions at a stroke.

UKIP is only worth voting for if they can pull off a Grillo. I don't think they can. The system we all {and i do mean all, apart from Islington} voted to keep, by rejecting AV, means UKIP cannot get any meaningful numbers of MPs. But we shall see how close they can come in the Euro elections and council elections.

Anonymous said...

Either way it's going to be "interesting". If the cap is applied and thousands of unemployed Londoners are decanted to the cheapest areas of the country then suddenly Byker and Barnsley are going to find they've been 'enriched' overnight. Not to mention Burnley and Nelson - pretty cheap rents, but how will the 'faithful' of those towns react to chunks of Stockwell and Tottenham arriving?

And if it doesn't happen ? Bust budgets all round - and they're already bust because, as Tim Morgan forecast two years back, growth has failed to materialise.

Just one cheerful bit of news - chatting last week to an engineering software guy - CAD/CAM stuff for design and machine control. Orders from UK firms are apparently not falling off a cliff - far from it, he was quite content.

Ryan said...

"The system we all {and i do mean all, apart from Islington} voted to keep, by rejecting AV, means UKIP cannot get any meaningful numbers of MPs."

We were all voting in favour of AV until Tory party sponsors funded a disgraceful leaflet campaign at the last minute claiming that AV would cost everybody £10 per vote and as a result babies in incubators would DIE. That in itself should be a good reason for wise men to vote for UKIP or indeed a demagogue comedian.

As for "not getting any meaningful numbers of MPs" consider that the same could once have been said for Labour, Plaed Cymru, the SNP, the Green Party and the DUP. Political change is coming to a seat near you.

I'm not a great fan of UKIP, because it doesn't dare go nearly far enough and is playing the game like all the others, but since I have come to utterly despise all the others it seems to me there is only one way to vote. I'mn not convinced that the Tory party can expect to retain the continued support of the Telegraph or the Daily Mail while Cameron is in charge. They have both made it pretty clear they have no time for him at all.

Bill Quango MP said...

I agree re the papers. The right wing press have no time for the Cameroons.

But, on political betting, they expect UKIP to manage zero seats. The bookies expect zero too. UKIP former best was 17% in Bercows seat.

Eastleigh is ther best result by far. They would have to replicate that and more across 100 seats to even be a force in politics.

I can't see it . I can see a couple of MPs, maybe a defection or 2. But no more than that.

Don't get me wrong. I'd like a third force, a real force instead of the piddly labour-lite lib Dems, to shake up politics and force debate on the undebatable.

I just don't expect it anytime soon.

Ryan said...

"They would have to replicate that and more across 100 seats to even be a force in politics."

Well that definitely isn't true. They are alrready big enough to keep the Tories away from an outright majority, and at the next election they will be big enough to prevent the Tories even getting a look in at a coalition. They are already a force in politics. The Tories are doomed as long as they can't bring themselves to meet UKIP demands. In theory meeting UKIP demands shouldn't be too much of a problem - UKIP want out of the EU and genuine immigration controls. Whats wrong with that? Many Tories claim to want the same things. The fact that they WONT EVEN CONSIDER meeting UKIP limited demands totally gives the game away. The Tories DON'T HAVE ANY INTENTION OF EVER WITHDRAWING FROM THE EU OR EVER CONTROLLING IMMIGRATION. All public claims to the contrary are an outright lie, designed to keep the Daily Mail happy (except the Mail has got their number now so it will never work).

The penny has dropped with the smartest voters and consequently the Tories will never be in power again. UKIP at least have the momentum behind them, so they have a chance of government. Maybe not in 2014 but for 2018 they are looking good, because after 2014 the Tories will tear themselves to shreds.

Agence communication said...

this is interesting "" (b) a specific actual case: Mr & Mrs X with 10 children, paying £480 rent per week, receiving just under £1,000 per week in benefits, now to be capped at £500. What happens next ? Well maybe they move to Hull of their own free will and accord, but probably not. So something will have to give: either the rent or the food or some combination of these, in which case, yes, at least some of the said 10 children will be taken into care. Foster Care ? Costs £50,000 per annum. Residential Care ? Costs £80,000 per annum. Paid for by LB Croydon.""