Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “benefits”

Double-speak on Youth Unemployment

The Prime Minister speaking on the Andrew Marr programme (28 September 2014 BBC1) announced:

Unemployed 18 to 21-year olds would be given six months to find work or training.

Their jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) payments would be withdrawn unless they agreed to take part in “community projects” such as cleaning up local parks.

They would be entitled to a “youth allowance”, set at the same level as JSA – currently £57.35 for those aged 16-24 while carrying out the community work. …

“At heart, I want us to effectively abolish youth unemployment,” …

“I want us to end the idea that aged 18 you can leave school, go and leave home, claim unemployment benefit and claim housing benefit.

“We shouldn’t be offering that choice to young people; we should be saying, ‘you should be earning or learning’.”
BBC Website 28 September 2014 : Tories would tighten benefit cap to fund apprenticeships

I wonder if I hear a touch of double-speak? Read more…

Antisceptic re Demonisation of Benefit Claimants

I have not seen a refutation of these points made by Richard Godwin (Evening Standard 3 April 2013 IDS benefits from the lies about welfare) so let’s assume he is on roughly the right lines and apply a little healing balm to the current toxic debate about shirkers and scroungers.

He says Read more…

Playing the percentages

Commenting on the benefit changes today (2 April 2013) a number of politicians seem to be saying that if you are poor / unemployed it is fair if you get a lower percentage increase in your income than the “strivers”.  When that increase is less than inflation you are faced with taking a cut – and that hits the poorest regressively – something many Tories either won’t or can’t recognise.

Looking at some examples surely illustrates this: Read more…

HS2: throwing away the benefits?

From Updated Economic Case for HS2 (published on http://www.hs2.org.uk)

Table 1 – HS2 Y Network quantified costs and benefits
(£ billions) of HS2 (2011 present value prices) and 
resulting BCR 
1  Transport User Benefits Business              £34.3bn
   Transport User Benefits Other                 £16.7bn
   Transport User Benefits Total                 £51.0bn 
2  Other Quantifiable Benefits                    £1.0bn 
3  Loss to Government of Indirect Taxes          ‐£3.8bn 
4  Net Transport Benefits (PVB)                  £48.2bn 
5  Wider Economic Impacts (WEIs)                 £15.4bn 
6  Net Benefits including WEIs                   £63.6bn 
7  Capital Costs                                 £36.4bn 
8  Operating Costs                               £22.3bn 
9  Total Costs (7+8)                             £58.7bn 
10  Revenues                                     £32.9bn 
11  Net Costs to Government  (PVC) = (9) – (10)  £25.7bn 
12  BCR without WEIs (ratio) = (4)/(11)            1.9 
13  BCR with WEIs (ratio) = (6)/(11)               2.5 
Please note – table totals may not be an exact sum of 
components due to rounding

These figures are all a bit opaque (what is the Internal Rate of Return or what are the annual benefits?), but seem to say that conservatively you can expect to get back £1.90 for every £1.00 spent on the extension of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds (the Y Network).  If genuine, why the delay in not starting this project until HS2 London to Birmingham is finished?  Read more…

Impoverish the poor or soak the rich?

Suppose you want to raise £1M per week? How might you do it? I suspect the two sides of the coalition will have different views. Read more…

Cameron’s Home Truths

Basically if you are under 25, you can’t have one. (BBC News Website 24 June 192012) Read more…

Elites and Elitism – the latest “row”

Earlier this month (7 April 2012) the papers reported “Shock and Oar” as a protester interrupted the (Oxbridge) Boat Race by swimming into the path of the boats.

The person concerned, Trenton Oldfield, has a rambling blog explaining (I think) that he was protesting against the Elitism typified by the Boat Race and claiming that “Elitism leads to Tyranny”.

Leaving aside that the boat race competitors were about as far away from the stereotypical Oxbridge student as is possible – often being specifically recruited athletes (many from America), there is an issue to tease out and examine about Elites, Elitism and being Elitist. Read more…

London is housing a problem

The housing benefit controversy illustrates just what a mess London is in. Read more…

Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Just what is fair?

Last Friday on Any Questions (BBC Radio 4, Friday 22 October 2010), Fraser Nelson (editor of The Spectator, a conservative political weekly), tried to advance the view that “fairness is about incentives” and that it is therefore fair that a poor (but unemployed) family loses benefits so that they are not better off than their (working) neighbours.  Whilst the working neighbours may be deserving, this approach seems to condemn the unemployed family as undeserving.  Looking at situations like this in isolation seems to me unfair. Read more…

Universal benefits

Just been watching the BBC Daily Politics (Liberal) Conference Special where they had a “mood balls” survey about whether Child Benefit should be universal.  By a heavy majority (on a small sample) those who voted (including some Lib Dem MPs) voted against universality.

This surprised me – particularly since it would strike me as much easier to administer a benefit if it is universal, but then to claw it back from those who don’t need / deserve it by adjusting higher rate thresholds.

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