Wednesday, 1 October 2014

They Can Still ‘Spend Money As They Wish’. So Long As It’s Their Money…

The Government has been accused of stigmatising benefits claimants
*Yawns* What now?
… after a new system restricting the way they spend welfare money was unveiled at the Conservative Party Conference.
Oh..? *perks up*
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the so-called ‘smartcard’ scheme would see benefit payments loaded onto prepaid cash cards. Transactions would be automatically stopped if people tried to buy anything on them but essentials. This would prevent people from purchasing alcohol, cigarettes or spending money on gambling, in a system Mr Duncan Smith claims will help lift families "on the margins" out of poverty because their benefits would not be spent on addictions.
What a fantastic idea! How about blocking ready meals & sweets, as well? Make it available only for fresh fruit & veg, meat and fish, and essential cleaning products and toiletries.
However, the cards were criticised by the single parents’ charity Gingerbread, who said they could encourage negative sterotypes.
Really? How?
Commenting on the scheme, Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said: “The pre-paid benefit cards announcement capitalises on and reinforces negative stereotypes of people who need support from benefits. “Single parents, both in and out of work tell us they are struggling financially, but budgeting isn’t the problem: low wages, benefit cuts and rising costs of the essentials are.”
If budgeting isn’t a problem, then the cards won’t make any material difference to them, will they?
A Lib-Dem source told the Evening Standard the party had blocked his proposals on two occasions.
Third time’s the charm!
The source said: “We are not persuaded of its merits, alongside the principled objection that you should not be stigmatising people and reducing their freedom to spend money as they wish just because they spend some time out of work."
No-one’s doing that. Should they get a job & earn their own money, they can do as I do, and spend it how they choose.

But while I’m paying their benefits, it’s not ‘their money’, is it?

17 comments:

Fidel Cuntstruck said...

I'm not sure it will encourage negative stereotyping ...

I do, however, suspect that it will encourage Mr Patel at the corner shop to book fags and PAYG top ups as fruit and veg - for a small consideration of course

That's probably racial stereotyping on my part

Bothered?

Longrider said...

As Dick Puddlecote pointed out, this is a silly headline-grabbing idea that won't work. Getting around it is a simple matter that even a Conservative politician should be able to work out.

Benefits should be sufficient to provide a safety net and low enough to encourage people to get off them at the earliest opportunity. Being paid in money would make no difference then.

Anonymous said...

How long before bartering comes into force - someone buys ciggies or booze and gives them to a benefit claimant who will use their card to obtain food to the same value and give that in return. The problem is that IDS is thinking like a politician and not someone who lives in the real world.
Penseivat

PJH said...

While it's a marvelous idea, it'll never work in practice.

All it needs is:
- scrounger A with one of these cards
- mate B with 'real money.'

A gets B's groceries with his card

B pays A the amount of the groceries

A gets to buy his fags, alcohol and pre-entrants to glue factories anyway.

It'll never work.

PJH said...

@Fidel: "I do, however, suspect that it will encourage Mr Patel at the corner shop to book fags and PAYG top ups as fruit and veg"


Nope. As pointed out elsewhere (Probably Dick P.) Mr Patel will not have the wherewithall to be able to afford/acquire the necessary technology required to process these cards.

The only place you'll probably be able to buy stuff with these cards are the big stores.

Which means Mr Patel will be getting even less money through his till, so he'll have to close up shop.

Anonymous said...

The idea won't work but I'm all for stigmatising benefit claimants especially the ones with nothing obviously wrong with them, preventing them from doing some work.

Bob said...

With a hat tip to the second comment by PJH:

Sounds like another idea that 'Big Business' has whispered into the politicos ear - to drive the little guy/gal out of business.

They will then have to 'sign on' & use their cards at...

Win win!!! Hurrah for the Corporates.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

It has been introduced (primarily) for Abos in Australia. As these people live in 'remote communities' (places nobody would want to live), the opportunity to exchange is limited as everyone's 'on the card'.

Will it work? Probably not. Will it cost money? Yes. Will it puff up yet another government department? Yes.

Like Anon at 13:43, I'm all for stigmatising Fiona Weir's 'clients' (Chief Executive - that's a fancy title for a scroungers' Tzarina). They won't care - they evidently didn't care about their bodies, or their children before having them.

How about blocking ready meals & sweets, as well? Make it available only for fresh fruit & veg, meat and fish, and essential cleaning products and toiletries.
I love you dearly, Julia, but if you get your wish, they'll make it halal as well, given time.

Dave Resents Me said...

I support this provided it's applied to MP's expenses too.

andy5759 said...

I don't really feel comfortable with this. Any control over our lives ought to be resisted. Today they came for the benefit scroungers, tomorrow will be the turn of the obese and on subsequent days it might be mine.

Anonymous said...

I'd stop the cash/cashcard altogether and stigmatise them completely.

Give them ration books redeemable only at state run food banks that stock all the wonky fresh fruit & veg that the supermarkets reject and value/basic ranges rather than brands.

Also, the amount they can buy would be limited to the calorific guide lines for the brood which should help with the obesity crisis. That will leave them having to barter most of their food allowance for their vices.

I was also thinking maybe those who have never contributed an NI should wear a big label on their top layer of clothing identifying them as a scrounger - but Primark probably already have that lined up for their winter collection.

Mud in the Blood said...

I predict that what will happen is this; the pre-paid cards will become an underground currency, politicians will crow at the success whilst the underclass laugh at them. I saw this coming here:
http://essexhunter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-future-of-our-seaside-towns.html
(Read it quick before it's gone!)

Longrider said...

Because, of course, anonymous, everyone who claims benefits is a scrounger. None of them have ever spent a lifetime paying into the system only to receive a pittance back when they find themselves in difficulty.

It must be marvellous living in your sanctimonious world of black and white.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Give them ration books redeemable only at state run food banks that stock all the wonky fresh fruit & veg that the supermarkets reject and value/basic ranges rather than brands.

Also, the amount they can buy would be limited to the calorific guide lines
1 October 2014 23:27 XX

Aye. And THAT is exactly the problem.

Whatever, they will still get the same amount of money.

WHAT they spend it on is totaly irrelavent. If they want to starve to pay for a 16 foot widescreen T.V full of crap programmes, let them.

But I do not want to HEAR when they complain about "not enough food in the house."

MTG said...

A 'sincere hypocrite' is a constant fountain of unintentional humour, FT.

JuliaM said...

"I do, however, suspect that it will encourage Mr Patel at the corner shop to book fags and PAYG top ups as fruit and veg - for a small consideration of course"

That's one of the drawbacks, certainly. As the Yanks have found, with their similar scheme. Also bartering, as Penseivat points out.

"Being paid in money would make no difference then."

Maybe not, but there will always be those who misuse them. No matter what the consequences.

"The only place you'll probably be able to buy stuff with these cards are the big stores."

A marvellous partnership! ;0

JuliaM said...

"...but if you get your wish, they'll make it halal as well, given time."

Damn! Hadn't thought of that!

"I support this provided it's applied to MP's expenses too."

I love the way you think :)

"I predict that what will happen is this; the pre-paid cards will become an underground currency..."

Indeed!