Given current levels of performance, why would we ask them to do more? Credit Mike Cline, public domain

It’s not unusual for us to find people insisting that government must do more. That this or that ailment of the world can be cured by a few more bureaurats doing something about it. Then we get actual reports of how well bureaucrats do things:

An estimated 70,000 claimants were underpaid by between £5,000 and £20,000 between 2011 and 2016 because the DWP failed to ensure they received the correct amounts when moving them from incapacity benefit on to the employment and support allowance (ESA).

The cost of fixing the error, which a public accounts committee’s (PAC) report said stemmed from a string of avoidable management failures, will cost the DWP at least £340m in back payments to claimants and £14m in administrative costs.

As well as losing out on thousands of pounds through underpayments, the DWP’s failure to check claimants’ entitlements meant some were also denied their rights to help with dentistry costs, as well as free school meals and free medical prescriptions.

The report criticised the DWP for rushing into the transfer without taking legal advice or making basic checks, brushing aside evidence that people were being underpaid, and ignoring warnings from its own policy advisors that it should pause and fix the process before proceeding.

Given how appallingly bad government is at actually doing anything why are people so deluded as to demand that it should do ever more?

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jgh
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jgh

A couple of years ago I was going in and out of a lot of temporary work, neccessitating messing about reporting hours and pay to the Job Centre. And of course, they recorded the gross payments into my bank account as my pay instead of the actual pay – the gross amounts included the money I was given to pay for the petrol to actually get to the work sites, and – in a couple of instances – overnight hotel bookings. It took about six months to work my way through the beaurocracy to get it fixed, and I still… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

Given how appallingly bad government is at actually doing anything why are people so deluded as to demand that it should do ever more? This is a ruddy good question. Many times you hear people say ‘wouldn’t it be great if the government gave us a free parking space, or cleaned up the gull shit from our streets or fixed the potholes’. My favourite, and this actually is happening right now is “if government has the wherewithal to give pensioner households £300/year, wouldn’t it be great not to add £5/week to the pension ( and pension credit and the applicable… Read more »

Bongo
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Bongo

Doh, £5.77/week to the pension

Spike
Member

I think the answer is that the odd oldster who cannot* budget but faces starvation because he blew his entire lump-sum at Monte Carlo becomes the poster child for an incremental payment in addition to the lump sum, any politician opposing the scheme being portrayed as hating all oldsters. Cue cartoon of Paul Ryan pushing Grandma’s wheelchair over the cliff for details. “Cannot budget” or will not budget. Some of these are the same people who execute a turn they know they cannot complete and sit there with their car sideways to oncoming traffic, until some poor Swell takes pity… Read more »

jgh
Member
jgh

At university I knew a chap who did pastoral support for somebody who, in his absense, would spent his entire dole giro on cheese and then a couple of days later be nonplussed why he had no money, no food, and the gas and leccy were banging on the door demanding money.

Spike
Member

There are a few people who simply cannot acquire the concept that “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” For the rest, having to spend their own money rather than Free Money stolen just for them is a total-immersion growth experience. It might be that “being nonplussed” was this kid’s way of conveying that it was unfair that he should be expected to make his alms last all month: his excuse-making.