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Furlough vs JSA - A long term change?


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Leading on from the "securing your savings" and "redundancy watch" threads, I was wondering if the furlough payments could be a stepping stone towards a fairer system of unemployment benefits.

The first time I was officially put "at risk" of redundancy in 2015, I was shocked to see that the only welfare payment I would be entitled to would be the £75ish per week job-seekers-allowance. I was living alone and had high savings. This was after six years of working in a reasonably well paid professional role in London, paying tax all this time. I lost all faith in the welfare state at that time - clearly it was not designed to help me out my time of need, it just needed my tax money. Just out of interest, I put my details into the UK calculator today and got a similar number.

Other European countries have a much more generous unemployment scheme - frequently paying a sliding percentage of your salary for a period of time. This gives a sense of belief in the system, and a sense of belonging that you would be looked after. The UK's furlough scheme sounds similar, in that the more you paid in, the more you get back (with an appropriate cap). Do you think this might be a step towards the UK having a fairer unemployment scheme?

Incidentally, in the mean USA where I live now, I would get $471pw state unemployment plus the emergency federal $600 per week that was introduced for the pandemic.

Why do the Guardian etc. never concentrate on the pitiful unemployment benefits in the UK?

 

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I think a precedent is being set with Furlough that people will be expectant of having that level of financial security for some time. Also, we have witnessed such a monumental move towards socialist-type policies which was unimaginable some months back but then we are in extraordinary times.

Given the predictions that the unemployment rate is likely to beat 2008 in the coming months, the government will have to introduce something better than the incumbent. The country seems hooked on government support right now and getting it off that high level of it will be difficult and painful for many.

I am sure there will be cries for a furlough extension but, for many, it is a delay to the inevitable. Also something on the BBC about 'zombie firms' and their staff struggling earlier this week. Not sure what the BBC expect the government to do about private enterprise on a mass scale. Bailouts for everyone...

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3 minutes ago, LetsBuild said:

Technically you wouldn’t be getting the $600 now as it’s phased out and the $471 is state dependent and is not indefinite, that fizzles out after 36 weeks or something like that.

Even more technically I wouldn't get anything - I'm not a US Citizen! :-)

But JSA in the UK ends after six months too. It's just surprising how some countries are so much more generous than the UK in many respects.

The cynic in me thinks that throwing millions of middle class people in the UK onto the standard rates of JSA would cause all faith in the welfare state and government to break down. The perception that it is "there for when you need it" must be maintained, otherwise why would people be willing to pay for it? Large furlough payments help maintain the perception.

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42 minutes ago, PaulTW said:

I think a precedent is being set with Furlough that people will be expectant of having that level of financial security for some time. Also, we have witnessed such a monumental move towards socialist-type policies which was unimaginable some months back but then we are in extraordinary times.

Given the predictions that the unemployment rate is likely to beat 2008 in the coming months, the government will have to introduce something better than the incumbent. The country seems hooked on government support right now and getting it off that high level of it will be difficult and painful for many.

I am sure there will be cries for a furlough extension but, for many, it is a delay to the inevitable. Also something on the BBC about 'zombie firms' and their staff struggling earlier this week. Not sure what the BBC expect the government to do about private enterprise on a mass scale. Bailouts for everyone...

I would consider myself a socialist and the furlough scheme makes me feel a little bit weird. This isnt socialism this is capitalism on life support. 

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The differences can be explained by how Britain has moved further to the right economically, whoever has been in power, than most of continental europe. I have been thinking about this quite a lot, so apologies for the mini essay. 

In the past the liberal left (Guardian and Labour party) would argue for the welfare state on principle, that is the welfare state was an ideologically good thing. After losing several elections, they based the argument on helping the deserving. For example, benefits directed at children in poverty(kids are deserving) or tax credits (note not tax benefits) for hard working families. Harder to argue for a "dole scrounger", especially since unemployment had become a personal failing rather than an unfortunate economic event as a result of neo liberal ideology becoming orthodoxy. 

Secondly, Blair and Brown wanted and needed the benefits system to fill the holes in the uk economy, which was less industrialised, more casualised than france or Germany. So unemployment was lower than france, which looks great, but tax credits and housing benefit is subsidising low wage employers in the process. 

Thirdly, by linking benefits to employment(working tax credits) , you strengthen power of the employer at expense of worker, another trend since 1979. Somebody with a strong union, renting a council house, with an entitlement to a portion of their salary if they become unemployed, will be less intimidated by an employer than somebody with a mortgage and the prospect of an unlivable amount if they lose their job. The extreme is in US where health benefits are linked to a job. 

Finally, a scapegoat. Nobody wants to feel like a scrounger, even if they receive most of their income in tax credits, a land lord who earns a fortune in housing benefit, or somebody getting a final salary pension having paid nowhere near enough in. But people also like to feel superior to others, agree that the welfare bill is out of control, and the government must do something about it. Easier for the government and the press to take aim at the unemployed, to look tough(even though a relatively small group with the least generous benefits) than upset the millions of people receiving much more state money who might vote for them. A good example is the fuss in the press a few years ago about the unemployed graduate who refused to work in pound land for her benefit, preferring to volunteer at a museum. If we reasonably assume she lived at home, the only state money she would have received directly would be young persons JSA which is currently £58.90 a week. The likes of her are an insignificant drop in the welfare bill, but a safer political target than suggesting pensioners should sell their house to help pay for social care. 

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18 minutes ago, nothernsoul said:

The differences can be explained by how Britain has moved further to the right economically, whoever has been in power, than most of continental europe. I have been thinking about this quite a lot, so apologies for the mini essay. 

In the past the liberal left (Guardian and Labour party) would argue for the welfare state on principle, that is the welfare state was an ideologically good thing. After losing several elections, they based the argument on helping the deserving. For example, benefits directed at children in poverty(kids are deserving) or tax credits (note not tax benefits) for hard working families. Harder to argue for a "dole scrounger", especially since unemployment had become a personal failing rather than an unfortunate economic event as a result of neo liberal ideology becoming orthodoxy. 

Secondly, Blair and Brown wanted and needed the benefits system to fill the holes in the uk economy, which was less industrialised, more casualised than france or Germany. So unemployment was lower than france, which looks great, but tax credits and housing benefit is subsidising low wage employers in the process. 

Thirdly, by linking benefits to employment(working tax credits) , you strengthen power of the employer at expense of worker, another trend since 1979. Somebody with a strong union, renting a council house, with an entitlement to a portion of their salary if they become unemployed, will be less intimidated by an employer than somebody with a mortgage and the prospect of an unlivable amount if they lose their job. The extreme is in US where health benefits are linked to a job. 

Finally, a scapegoat. Nobody wants to feel like a scrounger, even if they receive most of their income in tax credits, a land lord who earns a fortune in housing benefit, or somebody getting a final salary pension having paid nowhere near enough in. But people also like to feel superior to others, agree that the welfare bill is out of control, and the government must do something about it. Easier for the government and the press to take aim at the unemployed, to look tough(even though a relatively small group with the least generous benefits) than upset the millions of people receiving much more state money who might vote for them. A good example is the fuss in the press a few years ago about the unemployed graduate who refused to work in pound land for her benefit, preferring to volunteer at a museum. If we reasonably assume she lived at home, the only state money she would have received directly would be young persons JSA which is currently £58.90 a week. The likes of her are an insignificant drop in the welfare bill, but a safer political target than suggesting pensioners should sell their house to help pay for social care. 

Excellent essay. The term "dole scrounger" roles off the tongue easier than "working and child tax credit scrounger".

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42 minutes ago, Postman said:

I would consider myself a socialist and the furlough scheme makes me feel a little bit weird. This isnt socialism this is capitalism on life support. 

I would consider myself libertarian and I agree. It’s also deeply unfair. Furlough came out of the blue and paid many multiples of universal credit to many more people. Without means testing. 

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4 hours ago, A17 said:

Leading on from the "securing your savings" and "redundancy watch" threads, I was wondering if the furlough payments could be a stepping stone towards a fairer system of unemployment benefits.

Unemployment is meant to be tackled through insurance and not benefit. 

Insurance you pay for it directly. Benefit, you don't need to have paid into the system to get something. Big difference

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Met some old Con Club friends tonight. Bit merry. The subject of "How will we scare the proles now?" came up RE: socialism sort of doing a pretty good job of keeping a big chunk of the population going at present.

Long-term, you can't ask those without anything to pay that back. I mean you can, but it's nonsensical, and will only ever really be can kicking. We've had a decade of that.

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15 hours ago, A17 said:

Leading on from the "securing your savings" and "redundancy watch" threads, I was wondering if the furlough payments could be a stepping stone towards a fairer system of unemployment benefits.

The first time I was officially put "at risk" of redundancy in 2015, I was shocked to see that the only welfare payment I would be entitled to would be the £75ish per week job-seekers-allowance. I was living alone and had high savings. This was after six years of working in a reasonably well paid professional role in London, paying tax all this time. I lost all faith in the welfare state at that time - clearly it was not designed to help me out my time of need, it just needed my tax money. Just out of interest, I put my details into the UK calculator today and got a similar number.

Other European countries have a much more generous unemployment scheme - frequently paying a sliding percentage of your salary for a period of time. This gives a sense of belief in the system, and a sense of belonging that you would be looked after. The UK's furlough scheme sounds similar, in that the more you paid in, the more you get back (with an appropriate cap). Do you think this might be a step towards the UK having a fairer unemployment scheme?

Incidentally, in the mean USA where I live now, I would get $471pw state unemployment plus the emergency federal $600 per week that was introduced for the pandemic.

Why do the Guardian etc. never concentrate on the pitiful unemployment benefits in the UK?

 

See Tax credit sad face thread.

The UK benefit system needs gutting.

Edited by spyguy
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1 hour ago, slawek said:

Rich are good at this games. Most poor blame other poor people in the UK/around the world (including immigrants). 

Immigrant bad, rich whitey good /s : COMPLETEANARCHY

Nope.

I see this us ering and is used as a dumb response to massive ******up of UK benefit system.

 

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19 minutes ago, spyguy said:

Nope.

I see this us ering and is used as a dumb response to massive ******up of UK benefit system.

 

You are a good entertainment for rich. They enjoy watching rats fighting each other, occasionally throwing some crumbles to stir things up.

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2 hours ago, spyguy said:

Nope.

I see this us ering and is used as a dumb response to massive ******up of UK benefit system.

 

If I could be bothered (I'm not btw) I could do a opposite variation of that cartoon with a 'left wing/collectivist/socialist' type 4th person who snaps the right hand builder guy's only cookie in half to give the the left side guy while leaving the  middle guys plate full alone telling him it's for a fairer society?

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To try and answer the specific question, I do not see furlough payments as a stepping stone to a fairer system of unemployment benefits. The main reason is furlough payments were not meant to be fair. Sunak boasted that uk payments were some of the most generous in the world. He was correct, more generous than a country like france with higher taxes and unemployment benefits. If the government had capped furlough payments at 1200 a month, double the state pension and what somebody working full time in a care home would be taking home, few people would say this was unfair. Instead it was capped at 2500 pounds, well above average uk salary. Why would a state think it reasonable to pay one person 2500 a month to be furloughed and another who has just lost their job in the service sector (and could have spent their whole lives working and paying tax) 78 quid a week? One reason, the former is more likely to vote conservative and you dont want to annoy him, or disabuse him of the notion that the unemployed live the life of riley by actually having him experience it. The more important reason, the latter, and those like him will have huge mortgages, while somebody unemployed and renting doesnt(housing benefit will pay for his land lords mortgage)  The actual concern isnt fairness or suffering, but people losing faith in a debt fueled economy or worse still, the whole thing crashing down. 

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24 minutes ago, nightowl said:

If I could be bothered (I'm not btw) I could do a opposite variation of that cartoon with a 'left wing/collectivist/socialist' type 4th person who snaps the right hand builder guy's only cookie in half to give the the left side guy while leaving the  middle guys plate full alone telling him it's for a fairer society?

Slot a copy of the Guardian in the jacket pocket of the middle guy and you're good. 

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2 hours ago, slawek said:

You are a good entertainment for rich. They enjoy watching rats fighting each other, occasionally throwing some crumbles to stir things up.

What I never understand about the "it's all foreigners on benefits" argument, is that it completely ignores the benefits those of us at the upper end of society enjoy.

Earnings, and not generationally inherited wealth, are taxed. The interest and revenue that generationally inherited wealth generates is also tax free (and a lot of ours is held in overseas British territories). Companies get more in handouts than they pay in corporation tax. We get decent land subsidies, and then we get other subsidies on top for a few solar panels or windmills. Oh... and a lot of the things flogged off this past 40 years are ours now too. Utility shares. 2nd and 3rd homes and property portfolios comprised of old council flats.

Ignore all that though. Focus on "foreigners on benefits". Try to forget those benefits are spent in local communities and most trickles back to the government anyway. Continue to be stupid. After all, they probably spend it all on fags and booze anyway (ignore the fact those are 95% tax). Whatever you do, don't let anybody near the foreign "funny money" we squirrel away for global criminals, because frankly it's propping up most of our economy now.

Edited by byron78
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16 hours ago, nothernsoul said:

The differences can be explained by how Britain has moved further to the right economically, whoever has been in power, than most of continental europe. I have been thinking about this quite a lot, so apologies for the mini essay. 

In the past the liberal left (Guardian and Labour party) would argue for the welfare state on principle, that is the welfare state was an ideologically good thing. After losing several elections, they based the argument on helping the deserving. For example, benefits directed at children in poverty(kids are deserving) or tax credits (note not tax benefits) for hard working families. Harder to argue for a "dole scrounger", especially since unemployment had become a personal failing rather than an unfortunate economic event as a result of neo liberal ideology becoming orthodoxy. 

Secondly, Blair and Brown wanted and needed the benefits system to fill the holes in the uk economy, which was less industrialised, more casualised than france or Germany. So unemployment was lower than france, which looks great, but tax credits and housing benefit is subsidising low wage employers in the process. 

Thirdly, by linking benefits to employment(working tax credits) , you strengthen power of the employer at expense of worker, another trend since 1979. Somebody with a strong union, renting a council house, with an entitlement to a portion of their salary if they become unemployed, will be less intimidated by an employer than somebody with a mortgage and the prospect of an unlivable amount if they lose their job. The extreme is in US where health benefits are linked to a job. 

Finally, a scapegoat. Nobody wants to feel like a scrounger, even if they receive most of their income in tax credits, a land lord who earns a fortune in housing benefit, or somebody getting a final salary pension having paid nowhere near enough in. But people also like to feel superior to others, agree that the welfare bill is out of control, and the government must do something about it. Easier for the government and the press to take aim at the unemployed, to look tough(even though a relatively small group with the least generous benefits) than upset the millions of people receiving much more state money who might vote for them. A good example is the fuss in the press a few years ago about the unemployed graduate who refused to work in pound land for her benefit, preferring to volunteer at a museum. If we reasonably assume she lived at home, the only state money she would have received directly would be young persons JSA which is currently £58.90 a week. The likes of her are an insignificant drop in the welfare bill, but a safer political target than suggesting pensioners should sell their house to help pay for social care. 

100% agree with all of that.  Great post.

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Yes, other countries' benefits are much more generous than ours, and in some they are linked to salary. But it's an open question how long they can afford to maintain that level of generosity in the face of the tsunami of unemployment just around the corner.

Edited by RentingForever
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2 hours ago, nothernsoul said:

To try and answer the specific question, I do not see furlough payments as a stepping stone to a fairer system of unemployment benefits. The main reason is furlough payments were not meant to be fair. Sunak boasted that uk payments were some of the most generous in the world. He was correct, more generous than a country like france with higher taxes and unemployment benefits. If the government had capped furlough payments at 1200 a month, double the state pension and what somebody working full time in a care home would be taking home, few people would say this was unfair. Instead it was capped at 2500 pounds, well above average uk salary. Why would a state think it reasonable to pay one person 2500 a month to be furloughed and another who has just lost their job in the service sector (and could have spent their whole lives working and paying tax) 78 quid a week? One reason, the former is more likely to vote conservative and you dont want to annoy him, or disabuse him of the notion that the unemployed live the life of riley by actually having him experience it. The more important reason, the latter, and those like him will have huge mortgages, while somebody unemployed and renting doesnt(housing benefit will pay for his land lords mortgage)  The actual concern isnt fairness or suffering, but people losing faith in a debt fueled economy or worse still, the whole thing crashing down. 

+1. Nearly 9 months pay of upto 2500 for doing nothing. That is the government estimate of what is needed to keep the debt pedlar and the addicts happy. 78 quid a week is sufficient for the non compliant.

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21 hours ago, A17 said:

The first time I was officially put "at risk" of redundancy in 2015, I was shocked to see that the only welfare payment I would be entitled to would be the £75ish per week job-seekers-allowance. I was living alone and had high savings. This was after six years of working in a reasonably well paid professional role in London, paying tax all this time. I lost all faith in the welfare state at that time - clearly it was not designed to help me out my time of need, it just needed my tax money. Just out of interest, I put my details into the UK calculator today and got a similar number.

Other European countries have a much more generous unemployment scheme - frequently paying a sliding percentage of your salary for a period of time. This gives a sense of belief in the system, and a sense of belonging that you would be looked after.

Excellent observation. 

The difference between the French social security system and the British system is complete night and day.

I worked professionally in France for some years before moving to the United Kingdom, and if I had wished- upon completing my four  year contract there- I would have had close to 12 months of government payments in France at more than 75% of my previous executive salary.

I thought it was a marvellous scheme not simply because it was so generous but also because it allows French workers who are being unfairly treated by their employers to tell their bosses to go ****** themselves.

British workers are much more at the mercy of their employers, especially if they have heavy debts. 

 

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21 hours ago, A17 said:

Do you think this might be a step towards the UK having a fairer unemployment scheme?

Unfortunately no. The British ruling class have developed the present social security system over a long period of time and have no wish for it to change. 

And brits themselves seem to prefer it, along with never-ending HPI.

When I lived in France- about 15 years ago- there was a law that said that a French banker who approved a mortgage loan for more than a three times a French worker's salary could go to prison.

I think a lot of British people would react to that sort of law with horror. How could house prices ever rise if that sort of legislation was in place ? 

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2 minutes ago, Society of fools said:

British workers are much more at the mercy of their employers, especially if they have heavy debts. 

And that's just the way the US and UK employers like it. 

Like I said on another thread, it's more to do with contol and power than the actual money involved.  Quite obvious.

 

I can see a big difference between 'so called' Catholic countries and 'so called' Protestant countries.  It's as clear as day.

The UK goes with the US and of course most of Europe is predominantly Catholic.

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5 hours ago, byron78 said:

What I never understand about the "it's all foreigners on benefits" argument, is that it completely ignores the benefits those of us at the upper end of society enjoy.

Earnings, and not generationally inherited wealth, are taxed. The interest and revenue that generationally inherited wealth generates is also tax free (and a lot of ours is held in overseas British territories). Companies get more in handouts than they pay in corporation tax. We get decent land subsidies, and then we get other subsidies on top for a few solar panels or windmills. Oh... and a lot of the things flogged off this past 40 years are ours now too. Utility shares. 2nd and 3rd homes and property portfolios comprised of old council flats.

Ignore all that though. Focus on "foreigners on benefits". Try to forget those benefits are spent in local communities and most trickles back to the government anyway. Continue to be stupid. After all, they probably spend it all on fags and booze anyway (ignore the fact those are 95% tax). Whatever you do, don't let anybody near the foreign "funny money" we squirrel away for global criminals, because frankly it's propping up most of our economy now.

Unfortunately most people are not capable of thinking for themselves. They just parrot what they read, watch and hear in MSM. Since the media are controlled by rich they are not aware how the system actually works. The biggest benefit scrounger is the royal family, they get money directly from us and they are not obliged to pay tax, but you can very rarely hear people complaining about them.       

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  • 419 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


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