Cut, cut and cut again

Baroness Lister of Burtersett

For those of us who believe that social security (aka welfare) has a vital role to play in preventing and alleviating poverty and in providing a degree of economic security in these insecure times, the last few weeks have been disheartening.  I’ve just caught up with the latest British Social Attitudes Survey .  It shows public support for social security – especially for unemployed people – is low and has not followed the usual pattern in recessions, when support has tended to grow as more people are touched – either directly or indirectly – by unemployment.  Over three-fifths now believe that unemployment benefits are too high and over half that lower benefits would encourage people to stand on their own two feet.  These are about double the proportions holding such views a couple of decades ago.  Yet during this period the rules designed to ensure that people able to undertake paid work do so have become tougher and have been extended to more groups.

From comments posted on earlier blogs, I suspect many of you might share these views.  If so I would be interested to know why and whether your views have changed in recent years in line with those of the general public.  My own theory, supported by some public opinion analysts, is that a contributory factor has been the position taken by my own party when in power.  If even Labour ministers constantly go on about ‘welfare dependency’ is it surprising if the idea that receipt of benefit equals dependency has become the conventional wisdom?  I have yet to see the research that supports the thesis of a widespread dependency culture.

The backdrop this week has of course been the Chancellor’s speech in which he signalled a further £10bn in social security cuts on top of the £18bn already planned, leading to a flood of ‘scrounger’, ‘workshy’ headlines.  I’m sure I will return to this subject but it’s worth remembering that a single person on jobseeker’s allowance receives only £71 a week and that during the many years when earnings went up faster than prices the value of the benefit fell further and further behind average living standards.  As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) put it, ‘if the Treasury simply adapts the [benefit uprating] system to whatever saves it the most money at the time, its message to the country’s worst off families will be clear: “heads I win, tails you lose”’. 

Last month the JRF, together with the Child Poverty Action Group, published research  showing that a two-child family where the adults are unemployed receives £193.71 less than their needs, as judged by members of the public.  The kind of cuts signalled by the Chancellor can only spell more poverty and hardship.

23 comments for “Cut, cut and cut again

  1. Lord Blagger
    10/10/2012 at 3:35 pm

    For those of us who believe that social security (aka welfare) has a vital role to play in preventing and alleviating poverty and in providing a degree of economic security in these insecure times, the last few weeks have been disheartening.


    That’s because you are financially illiterate. Not surprising if you take you ‘facts’ from the BBC or other politicians with an agenda.

    If we take one example. The state pension.

    If a worker on 26K a year had been allowed to put their NI into a fund in their name, they would have had a fund of 550,000 pounds at retirement, with an index linked pension of 19K a year.

    Instead you give them a state pension that costs 130K.

    Yep, you’ve ripped them off for over 400,000 pounds.

    They have no choice in it. They have no idea that you’ve stolen this money, because you won’t tell them.

    The main reason they are poor is that you’ve taken their money.

    In your diatribe what you’ve missed is that you’ve been paying out 172K a year to benefit claimants. People have cottoned on to that.

    People on 12K a year (min wage) are paying 3K a year in taxes to fund you and welfare claimants.

    Notice the common theme in making people poor. It’s you. You took their money and doled it out.

    Now with debts of 5 times GDP, there is no pot of gold in Swiss bank accounts that can solve your mess.

    Take all of Branson’s money, and you won’t even fund the overspend for more than 2 days. Who are you going to steal from on Friday?

    You need to face up to this theft from people, and the fact that you’ve made them poor.

  2. Sharon
    10/10/2012 at 3:37 pm

    Normal people watch television and media on it like Zombies. They take in everything that is being said and believe it as gospel, so that when there are programs on the television like Saints and Scroungers, Prime Ministers and government chancellors announcing those on benefits as scroungers and shirkers etc, of course they’re going to think that benefits are to high because that’s what they are being told and surely the PM wouldn’t lie to us, would he? *snort* I tell you now though that there are more and more people getting wise to the fact that we’re not all in this together at all and that there is and will not be a decent safety net for those who need it soon if Osborne and co have their own way.

    You only have to read twitter and especially the tweets made towards David Cameron who recently joined twitter to realise that if a revolution is coming, it will most certainly be a social media one because at least we learn the truth via social media and not government spin. Those on benefits are mostly on benefits because of the state of the economy caused by the banks and not by those on benefits and the banks simply aren’t learning by their mistakes as more and more cover ups are found out.

    Disabled people at the moment have to jump through hoops to get benefits. Recently a diabetic I know had his lifetime award taken off him, despite problems walking, diabetic neuropathy, partial blindness and a host of other illness caused by his type 1 diabetes, which he’s had since a teenager and is never going to get any better. His joints swell and he has a hard time picking anything up and yet still he was found fit for work when I and everyone around him know this is not the case. His report from Atos is nothing like him, cold, impersonal and without warning he’s had all money cut off. He is going to have to appeal and in good time to because I hear that soon, you won’t even be able to appeal because you’ll have nothing to live on whilst that appeal is going through. That is no safety net and the opposite of what David Cameron is saying in his speeches.

    A lot of people I know don’t even bother to vote any more including myself. Why? There’s not a decent party out there that has any empathy for anyone else but themselves and their own. There are so many people out there that don’t even delve into the side of politics, therefore they wouldn’t even have been on any surveys or even know what is going on. I know I haven’t been asked for my opinion, so how can any survey or research represent the majority of Britain or voters?

    Britain won’t wake up until their situation changes and they are in the same predicament as our young people or they become disabled.
    Being disabled and out of work isn’t a choice as being spouted by the Conservatives. It’s a predicament that we have all been forced into, be it accidents, illnesses or being made redundant and we haven’t got a decent government to create jobs. How are we to get out of this hole without people in charge who have empathy for others, decency, knowledge of the real world, life skills which clearly this government do not have.

    • Lord Blagger
      10/10/2012 at 6:25 pm

      That is no safety net and the opposite of what David Cameron is saying in his speeches.


      Direct result of running a fraudulent set of books.

      Now the debts are due, they are in a mess, and there is no doubt some people are going to be hit hard.

      However, rest assured that Peers will still carry on getting their cash, and we will get the bill, 2,700 for every day they turn up.

      After all, given the choice, we know what politicians will choose. Themselves.

  3. maude elwes
    10/10/2012 at 5:28 pm

    Over the last twenty years the media mainly the press has had a running commentary on scroungers being paid untold amounts to the undeserving poor. Those who have yeards of kids without a job and that most of these people are from abroud. Imports of one kind or another. And as their salaries are shrunk during this period they have taken on board that the cost of New Labours uncontrolled immigration has created an imbalance in the system that is too difficult to over come.

    What they are not shown, told in detail or given the facts to is, the collapse of the banking industry, as a result of the players in that industry criminality, and the rampant greed is the casue of this horrendous dilemma. And as both governments want to use the so called ‘scoungers’ as the scapegoats rather than the multi billionaires who pay little or no tax as the culprits the lie continues. The money was pocketed by the cororate executives and removed to off shore untouchable locations in order to reduce the level of legislation and rights in the working practices. The average guy in the street does not see this, hear this, or care. All he sees are lines of non English speaking people in front hof him at the post office filling their purses with his tax paying dosh.

    And to an extent he is of course right to be more than angry. Whey was this used to change the balance of our society? Does anyone care to fess up to the truth.

    However, what they are missing is. This creepy government of money making individuals are telling telling the people that this money they are removing from the poor sick disabled and needy is not government money, it is the tax payers of this nations money. And they paid into it under the guise of welfare benefits shold they get sick or in dire straights. And that the increases given to the families who needed it was to raise th standards of us all.

    The envy we are told about really comes from the Tories. They resent the money spent on the people who pay the tax as they desperately hate the plebs and they have no right to be in a society which removes their obligation to work slave wages to make them as rivch as the mill owners of the past. They resent with a hatred the emancipation of the working class from the basemens of the stately homes of England. They resnt and despise the freedom the wealth distribution has created for the real workers o this country.

    The joke is, those righ wing nut cases who want us out of Europe and really out of the Human Rights obligations are a bunch of hurry come ups who envy the Blair touch of con man and traitor and wish they could get the yanks to fill their coffers as easily. They, after all, are the deserving few. And they are obsessed with returning workers to the poverty of the mill workers. In other words slavery.

    Just take that Osborne dummy offering the narrow thinking shares of they give up their rights to civil treatment. He should be cut off at the knees for that. Mitchell was the expose of the true soul of those ruling piglets. ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ ‘I am the government whip and you are simply flunkies here to serve me.’

    • Lord Blagger
      10/10/2012 at 8:15 pm

      There speaks someone dependent on the state.

      So Maude, if you been working you’ve handed over thousands in cash to the state.

      As Gordon says, we will invest the cash.

      How do you think they have done with your hard earned cash? Turned a tidy profit?

      Nope. They lost money on it, spent it on themselves, and have run up a massive debt.

      Nothing to do with the banks. The only money that has gone on banks, is Gordon’s buying of banks at too high a price and, just like with the Gold, the price dropped resulting in a loss.

      They aren’t removing money from the poor. They just aren’t handing over other people’s money. Big difference.

      Where on lots of your other points you are correct. Unfettered migration of the poor into the UK has screwed the poor living here.

      The average guy or woman does see there cash pissed away.

      What they don’t see is the extent of the government mess. 1 trillion or 7 trillion, its just a number. It’s government debt, not their debt.

      However, when you discover they’ve stolen your pension. Run up quarter of a million they are forcing you to pay, its different.

      However, it is slavery. Look at what all parties are planning. They are planing on stealing more, paying out less.

      After all, your name is already in the government stud book. That’s half way to making you a slave.

      • maude elwes
        11/10/2012 at 2:36 pm


        You are riding a lame horse.

        There are more of us than them. And size always counts when it comes to selection and quality.

        One more time.

        • Lord Blagger
          11/10/2012 at 6:24 pm

          There may be more of you than them.

          However, you want 600% of what they own.

          You can’t take more than 100% of what the rich have.

          Hence the reason why you are wrong.

          Until you put some numbers onto what the state owes you, and others, you will be barking up the wrong tree.

          You have cause and effect the wrong way round.

          The cause is the debt, the fraud, by governments. The effect are cuts and tax rises.

          You think that its ideological, the nasty Tories aren’t paying me (other people’s money), and those people have lots. They must be able to pay me (the assumption).

          The assumption is that they have the money you want.

          That’s not the case.

          Add up what the state owes and its multiples of GDP.

          For example, back to Branson. Rich – Yes. If the government only took all his cash, you would be alright. Except the money taken today, runs out on Saturday. Who to target next?

          Even your Bob Diamond example. At a guess, he’s probably worth 50 million. 2.1 billion a day spending habit. Half an hour and Bob Diamond is bankrupt – sure. Who next on your list?

          We’ve come a long way down from Branson, and it only lasts half an hour.

          You have to face up to reality. The state can’t pay you because the state is bust. It’s the inevitable result of a Ponzi fraud.

          Companies and the rich will move their assets. A good example is facebook. Naughty facebook, makes a loss and doesn’t pay tax. That’s the next trend. Paying tax even if you don’t earn money. After all, the government is desperate for cash now. e.g Lib Dems and property taxes. It’s just 1%, you will have to borrow to pay it. Then it compounds up, and before you know it that 1% is 50% of your assets.

          • maude elwes
            12/10/2012 at 4:35 pm


            You are so far out in left field that you lose yourself in the game.

            The financial con men sold a line to government who were too stupid to realise what they were selling was slight of hand.

            One or two of them who had family in the banking business or had been in the banking con themselves knew, but, as they wanted to cash in, they stayed stum. Have a look at how many in the Coomons and the Lords are closely connected to the banking industry one way or another. Or, have their nose in pharmaceuticals, as well as property.

            Earl Howe,, or, Freddie Curzon, was in banking and also has pharmacy connections as well as property, which in central London is doubling prices by the week. That is, in large part, as a result of quantitative easing.

            Now the average Joe in both houses knew there was something going on that was odd, but, they didn’t really get the full gist. So they went along with the con story and voila, 2007 the s–t hit the fan.

            We have been over this umpteen times but you cling slavishly to a line that suits you as the reality of it leaves you unable to focus. Sort of like looking at pictures of Siamese twins, it cannot compute.

            Get the grist of it by realising the banking game is all a giant con. There is no money. So, what they are doing is borrowing no money and spreading that no money as far as they can on the grounds of a pay back. All in the know understand there can never be a pay back. So, why would they not be done for a sheep rather than a lamb?

            If they fess up, not only do you and I lose, so do they. And that is where they draw the line.

            Listen and comprehend. It doesn’t take much of an IQ.


  4. maude elwes
    10/10/2012 at 5:35 pm

    Apologies, my last post went up without my editing, I clicked the wrong button. So it’s a scrambled mess. But the gist is still apparent. I think?

  5. MilesJSD
    11/10/2012 at 8:41 am

    What has to be done is
    1. Start with an ’empty round table’
    and Method III – wise collect every-one’s Needs and How each such may best* be met.
    (Start this at every level of every Nation, Neighbourhood, Family, Household, and Nation-State plus Collectives like the UN, Islam, Christianity, the EU, Asean and so forth)

    2. Determine what one-human-being needs in order to achieve and maintain, sustainworthily,
    own health, citizenlikeness, a
    nd environment-supportiveness especially that of the Bio-Lifesupportive environments.

    3. Make Percentage-Factoring the primary tool for comparing, contrasting, “fair-play-setting” as well as sustainworthily-Budgeting, and controlling,
    Incomes & Expenditures.
    Current Instance (needing to be “smoothed”):
    Person A receives £100 per week, and Person B £1000 pw,
    from the Common Purse (monetarily) and the Common Lifespportive Environment (Materially);
    Necessary-&-Sufficient Expenditure to maintain one-human-being in the Lifeplace has been legislated to be £99 pw (the excess £1 is a personal-savings-safety-margin, say (OK Lord Blagger ?));
    Current and Eternal Problem: After meeting the essential one-human-being-lifesupports essential expenses
    Person A has only £1 spare
    Person B has £901 spare.
    For the Macro-Global-Economy
    this requisite immediate short-term and longest-term-future individual-&collective
    Sustain-worthi-ness ,
    Please view at least
    .(1) “How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth” (TV documentary ‘chaired’ by Sir David Attenborough) – “Humankind alreadxy demanding and forcibly,injuriously extracting Two Earthsworth of Resources from this only-one-Earth; and already planned to increase that to Three Earthsworth by 2050)
    “Ecocity” TV documentary series (Science Nobel prizewinner Prof Kammel ) – To survive, we must design and quickly get-into-action a Model Sustainable City, choosing only one out of a list of many creative new designs for sustaining both Ourselves and our Lifesupports on Earth for the next few hundrwed years (little mention of the next tens-of-thousands of years it may take to find and colonise a second Earth somewhere in Outer Space);
    “(Planet Earth’s structure and likely future)” (TV documentary series by Prof Iain Stewart) – to some of us seriously-concerned and cool-thinking human-beings, it may have to be accepted that we Humans are going to be (self-)extincted, perhaps already sliding down that increasingly ‘slippery’ slope, but some of the Other EarthLife will survive, ‘longest-term’
    {[( and God knows which Life-‘Kingdom’ and Particular-Species will then “rule the Earth” )]}.
    *best = most-sustainably/sustainworthily [and therein most overall-and-individually affordably].

  6. Twm O'r Nant
    11/10/2012 at 9:30 am

    Over three-fifths now believe that unemployment benefits are too high and over half that lower benefits would encourage people to stand on their own two feet.

    I don’t see why the assessment of need should
    include “entertainment”, or “clothing”! Clothes these days can go a very long way indeed… and karaoke music!

    Welfare in all developed countries is negative taxation. Why should taxation start at zero… or welfare? That is the basis of the system, and a good one.

  7. Twm O'r Nant
    11/10/2012 at 10:56 am

    Apologies I intended to say that Negative taxation/benefit does NOT start at Zero.
    It may start at anything less than the minimum wage which may be as much as £15000 today.
    That may be one of the purposes of the minimum wage to decide where the threshold of benefits should start.

    a two-child family where the adults are unemployed receives £193.71 less than their needs

    The operative word here seems to be LESS than. In that case precisely how much should they be getting? Sounds like about £500-600 per week, which to a pensioner, on a basic pension, seems like a king’s ransom.

    Encouraging economy is one of the tasks of ministers making public statements, for the press and media. It pushes the ball in to the court of the benefitter.

  8. MilesJSD
    11/10/2012 at 6:27 pm

    What would a farmer do with a rooster costing twice as much to keep as the rest of the flock individuals ?

    First s/he would try ‘rationing’ that one-fat-cockerel to one-living
    the same as each of the others in the flock;

    failing that s/he would most likely not be able to sell it;

    so would ‘cash-in’ by culling, cooking, and serving it up

    perhaps even as “one-nation” sandwiches at a local community participatory-democratisation meeting;
    wouldn’t s/he ?
    That’s what we should be doing with all individuals bloodsuckering multiple-livings each, out of the Common Purse and Lifesupportive Earth Environments, and calling it “private earnings”.

    The most sustain-worthy Britons are those making ends meet off just one-human-living per week;

    the least sustain-worthy are those who evidently still can not make-ends-meet from two, four, six, eight, ten livings
    each, per week.

  9. Sharon
    12/10/2012 at 10:08 am

    Oh great, just what the sick and disabled need, another price hike by British Gas! What is Ofgem doing? Sitting on their hands as usual. What is the point in having this watchdog if they don’t do anything about the prices we’re facing? Seems like another waste of money to me.
    The cuts are going to bite a lot lot more, this winter!

  10. Lord Blagger
    12/10/2012 at 10:44 am

    Government policy. Nothing to do with Offgem.

    Remember, its CO2. Gas produces CO2. Government has decided we have to cut C02 by 30%. Their only mechanism is to ramp prices so you don’t use the stuff.

    Of course the alternatives need massive subsidies to the like of Tim Yeo. He wants his profits, and you have to pay them.

  11. Twm O'r Nant
    12/10/2012 at 5:15 pm

    Blagger’s argument about poverty above is quite a good one, but it is useful to remember that the larger the organisation the easier it is for government to collect Tax, quite part from that form of tax called NI(National Insurance).

    It is more likely being underpaid by the employer himself, which is the cause of poverty, and his demands for servitude from his employees. And when they have paid all this stuff they become tame, enthusiastic consumers and pay vast amounts of VAT, another 20%.

    I am well off because I pay very little VAT.
    I spend very little. Is that not the right approach?!

  12. Lord Blagger
    12/10/2012 at 7:08 pm

    You are so far out in left field that you lose yourself in the game.

    The financial con men sold a line to government who were too stupid to realise what they were selling was slight of hand.


    1. Who runs the state pension?
    2. How much does the state pension system owe people?
    3. What would people have got if their NI had been put into the FTSE?

    Until you can answer those questions, you’re going to be the victim.

    Now for the rest of your post. Yep, they are connected. It’s full of cronyism.

    However, the state pension isn’t part of a crony network is it?

    However, state pension assets are zero.

    State pension liabilities are massive.

    It’s bust.

    Nothing to do with banking, because banking isn’t involved.

    Everything to do with fraudsters, I agree, but its political fraud and accounting fraudsters. The head of the national audit office for example who has signed off on a set of books that fail FRS17 and GAAP. That’s fraud, because the state pension is a legal right. Otherwise they wouldn’t be claiming that they need to change the law to default on it.

  13. Lord Blagger
    12/10/2012 at 7:13 pm

    Get the grist of it by realising the banking game is all a giant con. There is no money. So, what they are doing is borrowing no money and spreading that no money as far as they can on the grounds of a pay back. All in the know understand there can never be a pay back. So, why would they not be done for a sheep rather than a lamb?


    Well, the difference between banks and the government is clear.

    For banks assets + capital = liabilities.

    For government, assets = 0, capital = 0, liabilities are massive.

    That’s the difference.

    Any bank has capital plus deposits, and they equal the liabilities. If the liabilities exceed capital plus deposits, they are bankrupt. The other test is if they can’t pay out on their deposits, they are also bankrupt.

    Same applies to states. They are bankrupt, and they are bankrupt now. Banks are not. Even Lloyds isn’t bankrupt. The government is.

    So are you going to put any answers to the questions I’ve posed you? You seem to be studiously avoiding that, where as I certainly try and answer all your questions, with explainations as to why I hold the position I do.

    • maude elwes
      15/10/2012 at 2:59 pm


      I have answered you repeatedly, but, unfortunately, you appear incapable of recieving the reply. You get embroiled in this figures issue, when there are no figures to chew on. You cling slavishly, as I said before, to an old belief of money and its connection to reality, or, to that which numbers make no sense. That thought process no longer applies. And hasn’t for far longer than any of us were aware of.

      All we have is empty coffers and computer generated numbers without any legitimacy, pretending it is what we understand as money. As Senex mentioned on another thread, once those figures were linked to the gold standard and had a basis in real terms. Now it is simply hot air. Fiat.

      Let go of the indoctrination you have soaked up and keep up.

      I shall not answer any more tired, out of date confusion you are bogged down with.

      • Lord Blagger
        15/10/2012 at 4:52 pm

        OK, where did you post the figures? If you have posted them, let me know and I’ll apologise for pushing the issue.

        If not, can you mention where they are.

        It’s not a question of fiat or gold. It’s a question of debts.

        How much does the government owe for the state pension?

        How much would people have got if they had been allowed to invest their money?

        They are the pertinent questions and you seem to have difficulty in answering either.

        Why are they relevant?

        First the debt. If the debts are a large multiple of taxes, then the state can’t pay. Not a question of could pay, can’t pay. You seem to think that its nasty Tories who don’t want to pay. By posting the debt figures, we find out if its can’t or if its won’t.

        There is a follow on. If the state can’t pay, then think about the impact on people. Now here you and I are in agreement. It’s dire.

        Secondly, on the investment front. If the government is only paying out 20p in the pound, it shows what awful value the state is.

        Now here I suspect you won’t answer because I suspect you are dependent on state welfare in some form, either for a job, direct support or your pension.

        If you’ve been ripped off, to find out that is what has happened, is a major shock. Again, you can tell by posting the numbers.

        So why is it that the left in General, and the Right more and more doesn’t want to admit to owing people a state pension?

        • maude elwes
          15/10/2012 at 6:02 pm


          You still cling to the ghost of times past.

          Take another hit!

          This takes us deeper into it all from the start. You will see there are no figures in the sense you want to discuss. You’re clinging to the meaningless.

          PS This video gives a long explanation.

  14. Lord Blagger
    16/10/2012 at 3:08 pm

    What’s the Federal reserve got to do with the UK state pension system?

    Barmy. Why would you think that its the Ameriacans who are to blame for the UK government running a Ponzi?

    Remember your previous post. People paid the government for their welfare, and when they need it the government doesn’t pay. Quite correct. That’s what’s going on.

    The reason is that they didn’t run an issuance scheme they ran a fraud.

    To show the fraud you need the books.

    So on one hand you (rightly) complain about the effects, but you want to stick your head up your backside when it comes to looking at the causes.

    The cause is fraud. The fraudster is the state.

    Banks, the fed, the Jews, the blacks, the yellow peril, … aren’t involved in running the state pension system.

    That’s politicians.

    Same for welfare, …

  15. Baroness Lister of Burtersett
    Baroness Lister of Burtersett
    29/10/2012 at 5:02 pm

    Apologies for the long delay in responding to the posts but it’s been a hectic few weeks. I just wanted to pick up on Twm O’r Nant’s point about the amount an unemployed family receives seeming like a king’s ransom to a pensioner. I can understand that but the amount reflects the fact that a family with children has higher needs than a single pensioner. Indeed the work on Minimum Income Standards which I referred to has found that the amount paid to a pensioner is slightly above that standard, although I can quite accept it may not feel like that.
    Also Sharon I agree with your point about the need for people in power to have empathy with people who live on benefits, the great majority through no fault of their own. There’s a report coming out soon which looks at how the media, partly reflecting what politicians say, stigmatise people living on benefits. I hope to blog about it when it does.

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