Support for benefits to be on pre-paid cards
- 29 Jan
Support is growing for the concept of benefits being issued on to pre-paid cards, and most people think that the government should control how they are spent.
The cards would be much easier to administer than cash, and would help people who struggle to budget their spending, but should they be used to control spending? 59% of people think they should.
The pre-paid cards are already taking off, with a quarter of all councils using them in some capacity, and those who use the cards are considering rolling them out on a wider basis.
They have the advantage of being cheap to administer, and allowing people to use them in instances where cash is not accepted. They can also be set up so that money is put on every month, but that there's a weekly limit - so people cannot over-spend.
They also raise the possibility of the council limiting the things people can buy with the card and a report by think tank Demos shows that the large majority of people think that these restrictions should be in place.
However Demos say that this doesn't mean they should be, but more that it shows the Government are giving the public the wrong impression of people on benefits.
The study showed that 59% of people think the government should be able to use them to control how benefits are spent. The research, conducted by the think tank Demos for Mastercard, found widespread support for pre-paid cards and additional control.
Marion King, President of MasterCard UK and Ireland, says:
The roll out of direct payments and the introduction of Universal Credit have the potential to increase financial inclusion, especially if the combined payment is loaded onto a pre-paid card.
This is because the card will give access to more ways to pay for goods and services while simultaneously enabling individuals to budget and save.
Prepaid cards can also provide local authorities with the ability to monitor and control spending where appropriate. The research found that overall 59% supported the idea of controlling how the universal credit is spent.
However, there was even more support for keeping tabs on specific groups and particular sorts of spending.
Some 87% of people said that at least one group of welfare recipients should have their benefits controlled. It included 77% who said yes to monitoring people with a substance or gambling addiction and 69% for those with a criminal or anti-social history. These figures rose to 82% and 75% respectively among respondents aged over 65.
Certain types of spending were particularly frowned upon. Over two-thirds of respondents (68%) agreed the government should stop all recipients from spending their benefits on gambling.
Over half (54%) agreed with the government stopping people spending their benefits on unhealthy items such as cigarettes or alcohol. Just under half (46%) opposed benefits being spent on expensive branded goods, 38% backed a ban on buying junk food and 35% believed it shouldn't be spent on holidays.
Demos's Deputy Director Claudia Wood said:
These findings paint a worrying picture of a nation divided between welfare claimants and the rest. It suggests that many now view the welfare state as a form of charity towards the poor rather than social insurance for all.
If the majority still saw the welfare state as an insurance scheme - a contract of protection in return for contribution - then people would be more supportive of autonomy for benefit claimants.
The government's rhetoric around 'problem families' and 'scroungers' is clearly shaking people's faith in the welfare state. Those wishing to restore it will need to find a response that reassures a nervous public.
The report found that when people were asked a straight 'yes' or 'no' question, they supported controls. However, when the issue was brought into focus groups, there was far less support for controlling spending. People were more likely to think that the spending of other people should be controlled - but did not like the idea of having controls imposed on themselves.
Source: Aol Money
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/534981
- 28 Aug
Figures find thousands of benefit claimants died after found fit for work
Over 80 people a month have died shortly after being declared “fit to work” prompting campaigners to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare system, reports the Guardian.Figures from...
- 24 Aug
Disability campaigners concerned over benefit shakeups
The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to announce new reforms to sickness benefits in the hope to get more people into work, reports the Guardian.It is expected the Mr Duncan Smith...
- 07 Aug
Single parents are being hit by benefit cuts
Government statistics detailing who has been affected by the policy have found that in May 2015 49% were single parents with children under the age of five, reports the Guardian.It is being said that...
- 30 Jul
Government to review helping benefit claimants back into work
Led by Professor Dame Carol Black, the inquiry will consider the case for linking people who are entitled to benefits with accepting appropriate treatment or support, reports 24dash.The review's...
- 23 Jul
Call for review of benefits delivery
The inquiry will look at the problems that could occur when benefits are underpaid or delayed, reports 24dash. The Committee invites written evidence on: Frank Field MP, chair of the committee,...
- 15 May
11,400 tenants could be affected by new benefits cut
Inside Housing have analysed data from the government's Stat-Xplore website and has found that 11,449 social housing tenants are set to be affected by the governments plans to remove housing benefit...
- 24 Mar
Deaths due to benefit sanctions should have independent investigations
A report into benefit sanctions by the Work and Pensions Committee has said that suicides linked to sanctions should be scrutinised in a similar manner to deaths in police custody, reports Inside...
- 11 Mar
Charity finds benefit sanctions regime to be flawed
A report conducted for Crisis by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University found that benefit claimants were subject to a ‘postcode lottery' on whether or...
- 30 Oct
Cuts to employment and support allowance benefits
With these cuts it could see new claimants being given just 50p more per week than people who are on job seekers allowance, reports the BBC. The Department for Work and Pensions have said the ESA...
- 10 Oct
Proposed benefit rule labelled ‘worse than poor law'
The Social Security Advisory Committee is currently cons ulting on the proposals which George Osborne first announced in June 2013, reports Inside Housing.The seven day wait would occur on top of the...
How to fund Housing Support and Social Care Services "Alot of information in a short time, good for me because I travelled a long way. So I feel the journey was worthwhile." C.T - People First Dorset