Technology could limit how benefits are spent
- 09 Oct
Think tank Demos has called for the government to use new technology to control how people spend their benefit.
Speaking at a fringe session of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham today, Mr Wind-Cowie said technology, such as pre-payment cards which can be blocked for certain purposes, could be used to control the way people spend benefit.
Max Wind-Cowie, who runs Demos' progressive conservatism project, said:
I believe there is scope, because we have the technology to make it a reality, but not only because we have the technology, to use our ability to have more control over what people spend the state's money on.
He said the idea could be used to differentiate between benefit claimants that have paid into the welfare system through national insurance contributions and those that haven't.
He said those who claim income-based jobseekers allowance, as opposed to contribution-based JSA, are spending the state's money and should have their spending controlled. He said:
If it's my money you are spending I think we collectively should be free to lay down some ground rules on what you can spend it on.
Demos today published a survey showing attitudes to the idea.
Of more than 2,000 people questioned, nearly six in 10 said the government should be able to control what people spend their universal credit on, while nearly nine in 10 said some groups should have their benefit expenditure controlled.
More than three-quarters of people said claimants with gambling or drug addictions should have their spending restricted. The figure was 69 per cent for criminals, 60 per cent for people with mental health problems, and 33 per cent for those on sickness benefit. Nearly a quarter said stay-at-home single parents should have their benefit spending controlled.
The survey found 68 per cent think people should be stopped from spending their benefits on gambling, while 54 per cent said people should be barred from spending on ‘things that are bad for your health'.
Matthew Mayo, head of business development at Mastercard in the UK and Ireland, said the technology already exists to prevent the spending of benefits on certain purposes. He said:
The technology is available and whatever is decided from a public policy point of view, companies like Mastercard are able to support it as necessary.
However MPs sitting on the fringe session panel were more cautious.
MP John Howell said:
We [the public] have a view of people being on benefits as being scroungers, that is absolutely the case in a minority of interests, [but] it is not the case in the vast majority of people who have slipped on to benefits through no fault of their own.
We need to help them get off those benefits and not continue to show they are still part of a benefits society.
MP David Mowat said the state has a ‘legitimate interest' in how people spend their benefit, but said people should have the ability to ‘save up for a treat' if they want to.
Source: Inside Housing
- 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...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The Social and Financial return seminar was very helpful, helped me think about our approach to bidding, negotiating for funding and keeping hold of what we have! The New Technology seminar was really an eye opener- really got me thinking about potential applications for older people. P.M - Four Housing