In August 2013 I answered Dr Alf’s original blog and warned of what would happen to Universal Credit, the mental brainchild of Lord Freud, a City grandee with no conception of what thought processes a benefit recipient or Housing Benefit recipient has.
My late father, as a buy to let landlord and I, understood and understand that mentality very well and the concept of Universal Credit and benefit recipients budgeting as if they had the thought processes that the rest of us have to use meant that Universal Credit was always doomed.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, recognized the problem and argued against Duncan Smith, whose Universal Credit pilots all failed in over 80% of cases making the implementation timetable slip to the point where roll-out was delayed by 12 months.
Benefit recipients, by and large, do not budget, are feckless people who go to lenders like Wonga, get themselves into trouble by producing babies that they cannot afford, and then expect everyone else to pay for their housing, their food and their spending money.
What they need is an economy that produces work which pays them enough to live on and a method of systems building and container conversion that can provide housing of an affordable nature. Converted containers are already being used as housing in East London as are IKEA systems built houses.We need lots more of them and people on benefits could, and should, be assigned to construction firms and made to build them for their benefits plus a small top-up. Putting benefit recipients in those shipping containers and systems built properties on brownfield land would eliminate the need to pay Housing Benefit and eliminate the need for Universal Credit. Where insufficient brownfield land existed then one would hollow out hillsides and put the dwellings underground in a concrete shell with sunlight piped in via a sun-pipe. Countryside could then be replaced on top and nobody would have their views spoiled and best of all the benefits bill would fall and people would be housed.