Tagged: abolition of the bedroom tax

Can universal credit survive Westminster’s devolution promises?

The future of universal credit was already seriously in doubt. But its survival now looks even more improbable following Westminster’s promises to the Scottish people in the run up to yesterday’s independence vote.

In their white paper on independence, published last November, Holyrood promised the abolition of the bedroom tax and a halt to the rollout of universal credit and personal independence payment.

Clearly independence is no longer going to happen in the near future, but Westminster has promised Holyrood much greater independence in relation to welfare benefits. So, there remains a very strong possibility that universal credit will soon be brought to a halt in Scotland.

Even if that doesn’t happen, the fact that the tax and benefits systems in Scotland will soon begin to differ from those in the rest of the UK means that the currently non-existent IT for universal credit would soon have to become even more impossibly complex to cope with separate calculations for Scotland.

In addition, more devolution for Wales and Northern Ireland now seems to be on the agenda. If tax and benefits systems begin to evolve differently in all four countries in the UK then the possibility of the IT systems keeping pace with so many changes becomes ever less likely.

With so much uncertainty about the future, and with a paltry 11,000 people so far signed up to universal credit, yesterday’s vote may be the perfect excuse for the coalition to abandon this disastrous project.

Source – Benefits & Work, 19 Sept 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2883-can-universal-credit-survive-westminster-s-devolution-promises

Does more Scottish devolution mean IDS is now undefeatable?

Even though Scotland didn’t vote in favour of independence yesterday, promises made by leaders at Westminster may spell disaster for claimants in the rest of the UK. In particular, it may mean IDS remaining free to persecute sick and disabled claimants, even if the Tories lose the next election.

Westminster politicians have guaranteed Holyrood much greater control over issues including welfare benefits and tax. But, in return, the Conservatives are now pushing to prevent Scottish MPs voting on benefits and tax measures in Westminster.

For Scottish claimants the changes are almost certainly good news. In their white paper on independence, published last November, Holyrood promised the abolition of the bedroom tax and a halt to the rollout of universal credit and personal independence payment. Holyrood has not gained independence overall, but in relation to benefits it looks like they may soon have a free hand.

So, for Scottish claimants, PIP, the bedroom tax and UC may all soon be distant memories.

But for the rest of the UK there is now the spectre that IDS and his persecution of the sick and disabled may not be halted even if the Tories lose the next election.

We could very easily find ourselves in a position where a Labour majority, or a Labour coalition, becomes a Conservative majority every time Westminster votes on tax or benefits issues if Scottish MPs are excluded. Whilst it might be difficult for the Conservatives to introduce radical new changes to the benefits system under these circumstances, they could certainly fight very effectively to keep things as they are.

Many claimants may argue that the difference between Labour and the Conservatives has become so slim that it will make little difference who is in charge. But others may consider that, no matter how awful Labour were when in power, they have suffered vastly more under the Conservatives.

So, for claimants at least, the prospect of life improving after the next general election may now be even more distant.

Source –  Benefits & Work, 19 Sept 2014

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2882-does-more-scottish-devolution-mean-ids-is-now-undefeatable