The benefits refresh

Its a huge issue in the UK. How to prevent the current downward spiral where young people see no future except being on benefits for their entire life, and where this is the norm.

In 2012 the UK Government spent £209.42 Billion on benefits and administration of those benefits.

Current Spending

We need to break this cycle completely, and radically.

The practical party will change the current system in the following ways:

  • Jobseekers Allowance can only be claimed for the same number of years as the individual has been in work. If the individual claimant has never had a full-time job for more than 12 months they are not entitled to any jobseekers allowance.
  • Council tax benefits are removed completely.
  • Council tax is abolished. A new annual rates system will be implemented at a national level, with all home owners paying a flat standard rate of £500 per year, per dwelling, irrespective of size or quality of the dwelling. The monies collected will then be distributed to a local council implementation team who are solely in charge of organising local facilities provided in the area. They are effectively administrators for the government, and as such will be on a pay-scale consistent with the private sector administrators.
  • Personal tax credits are abolished completely. The current PAYE and National Insurance schemes are replaced with a single tax charge of 12% of all income, regardless of the amount of income.
  • Housing benefit is abolished completely. The money is invested to build new, affordable housing, where benefits to rent the properties are not required as they will be affordable to someone on minimum wage
  • Attendance allowance is completely abolished
  • Child benefit will increase by 50% and be payable until a child is 18, not 16
  • Rent rebates – abolished. Rents will be reduced in line with new affordable housing being created, thus this will no longer be needed.
  • HM Revenue and Customs will be run as a separate company, it will have an annual budget of £1 billion to run all of its operations
  • Child trust funds will be abolished.
  • Carers allowance will be revised to ensure that there are not fraudulent claims. Carers allowance does not apply to caring for someone who is clinically obese, this does not count as requiring care, it means the person needs a reduced-calorie diet.
  • Disability living allowance, capped at the same amount as minimum wage for a 37.5 hour working week. If there are living relatives then receipt of this living allowance will not be eligible. Person must live with relatives, who can claim carers allowance.
  • Employment and support allowance is abolished. Employers National Insurance payments are decreased to 4% per employee per month.
  • Department for Work and Pensions Admin is cut to £2 billion per year, with a 5 year plan to decrease this to £1 billion.
  • No individual is entitled to any benefit unless they are a UK citizen. Citizenship will be implemented in an identical way to the current Australian system.

Annual spending is almost halved under these proposals with a total expenditure of 129.26 billion. These reforms will also have the side-effect of meaning an increase of money in real-terms for individual citizens.

After changes

Paying drivers every time they are stopped at temporary road-works

This proposal concerns the annoying habit of utility companies and building firms to not co-ordinate their activities, and cause huge disruption to drivers with temporary road-works during the working week. Too often huge disruption is caused, yet there are practically no workers there actually doing the road-works to ensure they are completely quickly.

The practical party proposes that for every occasion where a driver has to stop (is stationary) at a set of temporary road-works traffic lights or stop/go signs during the working week (Monday-Friday, 8am til 6pm) the company  / individual doing the works must pay the vehicle driver a single 50p (fifty pence). This includes ALL instances where the road-way is impeded, including but not limited to road building works, hedge cutting, pipe laying, accidents and residential/commercial building works adjacent to the road.

There are no limits to the number of times drivers can receive the money, as long as they are fully stationary, it must be paid as compensation for their journey disruption. Any company or individual who impedes the road must get the road-way cleared again for traffic as quickly as possible.

On motorways, a similar scheme will be introduced, whereby drivers can submit a claim online for deductions against their road tax of £1 for every instance of road-works that have impeded their journey and an additional £1 for every mile of road-works. There will be a smart-phone app (and a separate stand-alone sat-nav style device) that is linked by numberplate with GPS location that will automatically apply the deduction to the next road-tax bill for the vehicle.

On motorways for every minute of stationary time once the Police or emergency services are on-site due to an accident there will similarly be a £1 deduction in road-tax using a similar scheme to the motorway claim scheme.

The Practical party will work with Google, Microsoft and Apple to develop a national road mapping tool that is available freely for all companies and individuals completing road-works to see what other companies have planned in the area. This maps will be available to the public, and must be updated before any road works are carried out, no matter how small. Failure to comply will result in a £10,000 fine for the company or individual involved, and a reward of 50% of this fine to be paid to the individual who first reports that road works are taking place without first being notified on the national mapping system.

Prison Reform

So how to reform the current prison system? There must be a better way that at present…

First some research into what prisoners currently have in most UK prisons (source: 4 different prison guards from 2 different prisons) and how much it costs per prisoner currently to provide the prison services:

Green Tick (16x16) Access to the Internet

Green Tick (16x16) Television in cells

Green Tick (16x16) Sky TV or other Cable TV in cells

Green Tick (16x16) Playstation / XBox in cells

Green Tick (16x16) Free access to a gym and sports facilities (badminton, basketball, football, tennis)

Green Tick (16x16) Library

Green Tick (16x16) Opportunity to get degree level qualifications with no fees

In 2008, the cost to UK Taxpayers to keep a prisoner in a medium security prison: £77 per night. That equates to: £539 per week or £28,028 per year. Thats PER PRISONER!

Now for the scary figure – if the prisoner is not in a medium security prison then the costs go up to £448.04 per night in high security (£163,534.60 per prisoner per year), and a whopping £459.52 per night spent in a police cell if there is not enough space in prison to accommodate the prisoner (£167,724.80 per prisoner per year).

In November 2012, current figures are that there are 104,292 individuals in prison in the UK. If we optimistically plan that all of these prisoners are in a medium security prison, then this costs: £2,923,096,176 per year – thats nearly £3 billion. In reality, from what can be deciphered from the Ministry of Justices website, over 75,000 of the prisoners are in high or higher security prisons, meaning that the real bill is closer to £13,086,091,176 – thats £13 BILLION per year.

Source: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/prisons-and-probation/prison-population-figures

So, how to cut that figure down…?

Well, for starters, lets look at some more radical ideas from America (http://rmtweb.com/?p=629)

Everyone that has read this article seems to agree that this is much more like what prison should be like, especially here in the UK.