The Flash Mob

Benefitz Betty's picture
Universal Credit  is to be rolled out in May ...  A Lyrical?  Erm, how about a UC Sing a Long ;-)
II -  The Overview
One simple payment
Paid monthly in arrears
For people in and out of work
Working age customers (7 million expected to receive UC by full roll out)
 The British Library


III - The National Picture

Commenced October 2013 due to finish 2017 

Project has been stopped/reset/extended/Slowed 12 times to date

Now project due to be completed 2022/2023

Now 5 years behind schedule
At 11 January 2018 UC caseload was 730 000 people

IV  - Not Part of Universal Credit

Contributory Jobseekers Allowance and contributory Employment Support Allowance (Called New Style)

šDisability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payments

šChild Benefit
šBereavement Benefits, Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
šHousing Benefit paid to pensioners (4.5K)
šCouncil Tax Reduction (10.5K)
šSupported/Exempt/Specified/temporary Accommodation cases (the difficult ones)
šFamilies with more than 2 Children until Jan 2019
šDiscretionary Housing Payments
šHB for existing cases until managed migration
V - Universal Credit Locally
Live November 2015. Only single people without children
611 UC claimants in Scarborough at 14 December
109 UC claimants in Whitby at 14 December
HB caseload reduced 253 last year
Approx 220 CTR cases on UC
Full Service due 30 May 2018 for Scarborough and Whitby, November 2018 for Loftus
VI - Full Service May 2018
šExisting Live Service UC claimants have to re claim under the Full Service
šNo new applicable HB claims will be taken
šNo new applicable legacy benefit claims will be taken
šCertain Changes in circumstance will trigger change to UC

VII VIII IX X XI - Why the Fuss??

Claims take 5/6 weeks minimum

77% paid 'on time' that's a six week wait, 19% paid 6 to 10 weeks, 4% over 10 weeks

Advances can be sought, 100% to pay back over 6months/12 months

Paid monthly in arrears

Built around fact earners 75% paid monthly but ... the 25% tend to be low earners so larger % of benefit claimants aren't paid monthly hence more of an issue

šUC adjusted monthly in arrears making budgeting difficult
šSDP not transferred to UC so disabled in receipt of this lose out considerably
šUC is paid to working and non working customers. You cant tell if people entitled to free school meals,  prescriptions, dental work as a result
šRecovery of overpayments/debts are done at a much higher rate than currently with HB causing hardship (10% monthy award)
šFood bank usage up 30% in Full Service areas
LA's having huge problems trying to recover debts from UC cases
Told not to query cases with DWP as they can't answer questions!
The Resolution and Adventure by William Hodges
Rent arrears increasing massively nationwide with many landlords choosing not to rent to UC customers
Claim managed on line
šHave to have customer with you to make enquiries on their behalf
š4.2 Million calls made to helpline between April and September at a cost to the caller of £6.5 million.  This will now be free by the end of the year
šWait times on calls gone from 1.4min in May to over 5min in September…before the extended roll out
šChanges to key UC calculation parameters has meant UC less generous than existing benefits (£625 a year for working families)
šTwice as many single parents lose than gain and losses are twice the gains
šHit self employed hard
šNo overlapping Benefits paid on UC
ššHave we seen all the issues? Low numbers of “easy” claims to date.
Future holds large volumes of more complex claims so wait times etc. will increase
XII -  via Autumn Budget
šNo new UC cases until Full Roll out.
š7 waiting days abolished from Feb 2018
šAdvances up to 100% paid back over 12 months from Jan 2018
šAdditional 2 weeks HB paid to people moving from HB to UC from April 2018
šHB claimants who have HB paid to landlord can continue to have UC paid to landlord
šChanges to administration of temp accommodation cases.
XIII - Citizens Advice Bureau Findings
šCAB survey of 800 full service customers showed 30% had to make over 10 calls to get UC sorted
šWith 57% having to borrow money to get by till first payment
š26% of UC customers have debt problems against 19% if on legacy benefits
š41% on UC have no spare money to pay debts against 33% on legacy
š79% UC customers have priority debts against 69% on legacy benefits
XIV - Rent Arrrears
šHalton Housing findings 12000 tenancies, just over 1000 on UC,920 of them in arrears. UC tenants make up 9% of tenancies but account for 37% of arrears
šUC tenants in short term accommodation could have moved several times before first payment with no chance for LA to get paid
šLandlords cannot talk to Service Centre about case unless customer is present
šResidential Landlords Association latest research indicates only 13% of landlords willing to let to UC claimants due to problems experienced and view of the benefit
XV - Yorkshire Coast Homes
38 Tenancies on UC
šš21 in arrears , 4 over £1000 and 13 below £500
ššArrears average £617 against £343 average of non UC
ššYCH forecast increased arrears due to UC of £113k from 413 tenancies in 8 months from February 2018. They are worried this could rise to as much as £240K if first payment goes to customer not them
XVI - HB Workload Impact
Reduction in New Claims
šIncrease in Change in Circumstances
šNumber of Council Tax changes will increase – Policy in Practice have found number of average changes rise from 3 to 6 per claim
šIncreased levels of Ctax Billing and difficulties with CTR and HB debt recovery
šIncrease in Customer enquiries (upto 40% initially)
šIncreased budgeting assistance given (DWP pays us for 1 visit £63/case)
šOnline support requests will increase (DWP pays 1 visit)
šMore DHP requests
XVII - Areas of Financial Risk
Council Tax Collection
šFuture recovery of Housing Benefit Overpayments
šTemporary Accommodation demand / collection
šDiscretionary funds
šLonger term uncertainty over administration grant funding. New approach is expected in the future to recognise LA fixed costs which are not dependant on caseload e.g. software
šNew Burdens Funding not sufficient to fund activity
XVIII - What are we Doing?
Talking to other Councils
Landlord forum was held November
UC working group
UC seminar for letting and managing agents, HA and Housing Organisations
Job Shadowing with JC+, Rainbow Centre
Regular meetings with our Partnership manager, main focus budgeting advise and digital support
DWP/LA engagement meetings
DWP training to SBC staff
Need to communicate UC wider
XVIX - Any Questions?
"Surely the Hall’s management can publish their recommended and maximum sound levels depending upon the nature of the concert, the age profile of the performers and their expected audience?" 
Ah, so ... ;-0
"Sydney Parkinson drew the weird animal in a clear sharp line, looking at it carefully, then looking again, erasing his mistakes until he had an image that was beautifully recognisable. He wondered what to call this creature that was so utterly unlike anything back home in Britain. He found out by speaking with local people and making a brief dictionary of their language. You can picture, from the British Library’s moving and absorbing account of a moment when worlds apart suddenly met – how they communicated by pointing at parts of their bodies: words like belly, hand, foot..."
"Suddenly, you see how far Cook sailed, how extreme the risks these 18th-century explorers took in their frail wooden ships. Hodges in Antarctica painted the most unearthly journey anyone had ever made. His icy sketches are as incredible as images sent back today by the furthest space probes. But they were made by a human being shivering on a sailing ship with no radio, no contact with home, in a sea with no mercy..."
Crew? Did someone mention Cru ...
SBC directors to visit the Rainbow Centre.... imminently.
to be continued ...
Zzzzz ...
Canzoni d'’Amore
LA LA Land.
Not Quite






Benefitz Betty's picture

Stand by Your Crypts

"A company called Forest Holidays wants to erect an estate of 70 luxury chalets in the forest. It is, in truth, a scattered luxury hotel, serviced by car parks, toilets, recreation areas and “landscaped lookouts”. The company already has 10 such estates and plans many more, with up to 90 chalets in each. These are not rural communities or compact villages..."

"Scarborough and Whitby's MP Robert Goodwill has been appointed to the Queen's privy council.

It's a body of advisers to the UK Sovereign, which consists mainly of senior politicians.

Robert will have been recommended by the Prime Minister and will be appointed by the Queen in person."

"Click visits a cryptocurrency mine in Iceland and investiages 'cryptojacking', the new crime becoming a craze amongst hackers"


Benefitz Betty's picture

Grow Your Own

A week-end round up .... ;-0

"How do you relax?
By working."

"We were – and are – accused of sabotaging our children’s future, hoarding power and money while expecting those with the least to foot the potentially hefty bills as we march towards our 90s...

"The commission signals that it is time to remodel the welfare state, which was crafted at a time when a pension was only expected to last a handful of years before death took its toll. Young people are deeply anxious about housing, jobs and pensions, while those who are older are concerned about health, social care, the fragility of the welfare state – and the future of their own children.

“Everybody wants to fix this,” says Bell. “If we want to keep our promises to the different generations – and maintain the welfare state – we have to think radically about how we do this.”

"The intergenerational commission’s invaluable work exposes how urgently capitalism has to be brought under control. It’s time to restore fairness to the contributory principle at the heart of a renewed welfare state, re-establish social justice and repair the damage done to confidence, trust, wellbeing and optimism by a situation where 90% of people manage on increasingly less, while the other 10% rapidly accrue more and more.

“Wealth differences also risk bleeding into other areas of life where they do not belong,” Bell warns. “Wealth status could determine not only where you can live, but the education you can get, the risks you can take and the job you can do. Wealth is profoundly reshaping Britain.”

"What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I could do with a bit more tolerance."

‘There’s no dark journey that you’ve been on. Just get on with your life and become a responsible adult.’

"If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The memory."

“If they abuse us, we are going to come back. And we are going to make them pay for it.”

"What is your most unappealing habit?
Always looking glum."

"I'd like answers but I don't know if I'd want the truth"

"What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m quick to anger."

Hmmm ...

"Tomatoes were my gateway drug. It seemed so harmless in the heady days when my gardening meant a few window boxes and some flowerpots on an urban rooftop. I could take them or leave them I told myself, though I liked growing my summer geraniums, lobelia, scented roses, climbing clematis: old school planting like the old couple who brought me up."


Benefitz Betty's picture

'Going Troppo'

""We do not stand volunteers down lightly. We recognise the years of dedication and the skill involved in becoming a crew member, helm or Coxswain. We fully understand and respect the close bond and camaraderie of our crew and other volunteers. We know that friendly banter is a key part of this.

"But to be clear – we simply will not tolerate lifeboats being taken for joyrides in rough weather without full crew. We don’t accept that hard core, graphic pornography has any place at a lifeboat station. We will not tolerate threats of violence towards our volunteers or staff. We will not stand for bullying or aggressive behaviour.

"To provide some context, the recent issues involve less than 1% of our 6,000 operational volunteers. We are proud of our brave, decent men and women dedicated to saving lives and committed to acting with integrity.

"We cannot operate in the same way we did 30 or 40 years ago, when the world was a very different place and so we’ve understood the need to change. Some of this change has been implemented to protect our volunteer crews – 90 per cent of who don’t come from a maritime background – and to make sure they have the very best training, equipment and day-to-day support essential to providing a 24/7 lifesaving service. Other change has been necessary because we want to live up to our own high standards and the scrutiny being placed on charities.

"We have not got everything right during these changes, but we are working hard with all our volunteers to ensure they have the support and the training they require to operate a modern lifesaving service.

"But what hasn’t changed is our desire to uphold the values of the RNLI. We have to ask ourselves – what kind of charity do we want to be? What kind of charity do you want to volunteer for? What kind of charity do you want to support?

"We are a charity that our volunteers, supporters and those we rescue can trust to do the right thing – whether that’s rescuing those in peril, keeping our volunteers safe or making sure anyone who is part of the RNLI feels welcome and valued.

"During the 194 years since the RNLI was founded in 1824, we’ve aspired to be a decent, honourable charity that is respectful of others. We’re proud of our volunteers’ professionalism and our organisation’s commitment to being a modern emergency service and principled charity and we don’t think we should settle for anything other than that."


"After several days of channelling Stanley Kubrick, the house still echoes to the sounds of the Arctic Monkeys.

"It was a real privilege to open up the house for the world-famous Sheffield band to make their compelling new video, a true Yorkshire partnership.

"From the cellars up to the dome, Castle Howard once more takes up its role as a screen actor, a location like no other, complementing Alex Turner’s challenging new direction.

“Those who know the place well will recognise many of the locations used, while those who have never been here can come and tick off the spaces as they find them.

"If they’re lucky, they might even catch a glimpse of the fifties Bentley which features in the film or Dee, our very own canine star.”

Meanwhile ...


Captain Qahn's picture

Invisible Dust

"PEOPLE are being invited to delve into the art and science of one of the region's most famous sons.

The Cook 250 festival will be a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the explorer James Cook's first expedition to the South Seas in 1768.

North Yorkshire County Council's library service successfully applied for £37,610 from the Arts Council to fund a series of projects culminating in an exhibition at Whitby library to contribute to the July festival, which is organised by Scarborough Borough Council and local groups.

The work will be delivered in partnership with Scarborough-based art and science organisation Invisible Dust, the County Record Office and volunteers from Whitby and Great Ayton libraries.

The work with Invisible Dust will uncover the role of celebrated botanist Joseph Banks and artist Sydney Parkinson, who travelled with Cook to collect and document plants and animals. New artworks developed with local people will form an exhibition at Whitby library as part of the festival from July 6 to 8.

Whitby is at the heart of the Cook story. He trained as an apprentice and learned seafaring and navigation skills with a local Quaker family in what is now the Cook Memorial Museum building and his ship, the Endeavour, was built in Whitby.

Artists Fiona Macdonald and Ahilapalapa Rands and writer Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, will work with volunteers, the County Record Office, Whitby Naturalists, young people from Caedmon College, Eskdale School and Whitby Fishing School and the public to create new works that explore the impact of Cook’s expedition."


Captain Qahn's picture

HM Bark Endeavour

"The opening of The Endeavour Experience attraction in July will be all the more poignant as this year marks 250 years since Captain Cook, who began his sea-faring career in Whitby, set out on his epic first expedition to the Pacific in command of the Endeavour.

Owner Andrew Fiddler, who bought the ship at auction last autumn for £155,000 beating bids from Dubai, Portsmouth and London, said: “The ship was in a pretty poor shape when we purchased her, with rotting wood, worn fittings and spaces that didn’t do justice to the story. While we’ve retained and restored many of the features, we’re planning to bring the story to life in new ways.

“Rather than a museum the Endeavour will be an exciting and entertaining learning attraction that captures the imaginations of children and adults alike. It will be contemporary while blending in with the ship’s surroundings and will perfectly complement the existing Captain Cook landmarks and attractions in the area.”

"The attraction will also enable visitors to learn more about the expedition’s scientific discoveries. For instance how the astronomical phenomenon of the Transit of Venus improved navigational accuracy, and the wealth of strange new botanical and animal species collected as the explorers charted the coast of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia.
The North York Moors National Park has provided support through its Coastal Communities Fund project as well as a Local Distinctiveness & Tourism grant towards the attraction’s marketing and product development.

Catriona McLees, head of promotion and tourism for the National Park said: “The Endeavour will be a great addition that will help ignite visitors’ imaginations and invite them to be more like Captain Cook by embarking on their own exploration of the National Park’s coastline and moors.”

"The Endeavour Experience is due to open on July 1 just ahead of the Cook250 Festival Whitby which takes place July 6 to 8. More information on the Endeavour will be available over the coming weeks online:"

Strange name for a ship ...

"There is a tendency from the outside to think we all live on one island."

Ah, so ...

"Four people and a dog were cut off by the tide near Staithes yesterday..."


"The next transits of Venus will take place on 10–11 December 2117, and 8 December 2125"