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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Mick Harper wrote:

I agree with some but not all of this. Until quite recently, housing benefit was automatically paid to the landlord. The whole thing was entirely automated and (in welfare terms) worked extremely well. Welfare tenants were sought out by landlords because the rent was guaranteed, tenants could not get into arrears by spending the rent money on other, seemingly more pressing, needs and evictions were kept to a minimum and in any case were not very serious because the claimant could simply move to a new home. There was a side benefit in that landlords had to keep rents reasonable or they might hear all about it from the Housing Benefit people.

Private tenants receiving Housing Benefit had the choice to whom their HB was paid. It was only social tenants that had HB direct to landlord. UC is changing all this.


Mick Harper wrote:

Who said anything about social landlords, we’re dealing with private ones here..

I thought you had switched to Social tenants, as you were talking about tenants who had their rent paid direct. Universal Credit provided a new system whereby irrespective of tenure social, private, licence etc the payments would go to the claimant unless an Alternative Payment Arrangement was justified.


No, Wiley, it’s the state’s money and then it’s the landlord’s money.

No. No, legally it is the claimant's money. The claimant is fully entitled to spend his "help with housing costs", or any other part of his UC, on fags and booze, he doesn't have to hand it over to the landlord. So for instance, a claimant could not be prosecuted by the DWP for claiming help with Housing costs then not handing it over to his landlord. The landlord could and probably will evict, if the tenant hasn't paid rent, but that is an entirely separate civil matter. So the claimant is fully entitled to stick all his UC on a horse at 2000/1 only for the horse to win and the tenant to pay off his rent in one go.


It is only the claimant’s money if he intercepts this transfer and spends the money on something else. I have no objection to claimants frittering their ordinary benefit because it redounds on them but if they fritter their housing benefit it redounds on all of us

Yes you do object because you think of it as the state's money and are worried that the state will end up paying more. But I repeat, legally it's the claimant's wonga, and under Universal Credit the money will always go to the claimant. (Unless the DWP have decided he is vulnerable and arrange an APA or he is in 8 plus weeks' arrears.) The whole point of UC is it is 6 benefits into 1. It is if you like a blended milkshake that comes from 6 ingredients and for the claimant to drink as and when.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Private tenants receiving Housing Benefit had the choice to whom their HB was paid. It was only social tenants that had HB direct to landlord. UC is changing all this.

Traditionally, housing benefit went straight to all landlords. Social landlords were highly alarmed at the reform (they know their tenants) and had the clout to insist it didn't apply to them. This pre-dated UC (and I may be wrong in my recollection) but it is beside the point since housing trusts have just as much trouble with and evicting non-paying claimants.

No. No, legally it is the claimant's money.

I am not disputing it, I am disagreeing with it.

The claimant is fully entitled to spend his "help with housing costs", or any other part of his UC, on fags and booze, he doesn't have to hand it over to the landlord.

That's why it's a crazy idea.

So for instance, a claimant could not be prosecuted by the DWP for claiming help with Housing costs then not handing it over to his landlord.

I am not disputing it, I am disagreeing with it.

The landlord could and probably will evict, if the tenant hasn't paid rent, but that is an entirely separate civil matter.

Wiley, you are being dreadfully soppy. If the claimant didn't hand over his housing benefit on Friday and lost his home on Saturday, he would pay it over on the Friday. But because it is a 'civil matter', if the claimant doesn't hand over his HB on Friday, or the next Friday or the next Friday, he will be evicted in about fifty Fridays' time. Now, as it happens, I'm all in favour of poor claimants having all that dosh rather than rich landlords. Except for the consequences.

So the claimant is fully entitled to stick all his UC on a horse at 2000/1 only for the horse to win and the tenant to pay off his rent in one go.

I think we both know the last thing every claimant who ever lived would use such a windfall on would be paying off their rent arrears.

Yes you do object because you think of it as the state's money and are worried that the state will end up paying more.

That is not my worry. My worry is that if claimants get into arrears they will soon have no homes except what the state provides directly in the form of social housing and B & B hostels. And yes, that will cost more since you mention it. You may be too young to remember but when the nineteen-sixties Rent Acts came into force, the private rented market simply disappeared. Overnight. Not a single non-scumbag private landlord in Britain wanted to have a protected tenant with the right to go to a Rent Officer/Tribunal. Soon (maybe it's arrived) not a single non-scumbag private landlord will take on a tenant who is on HB. Would you? I wouldn't.

But I repeat legally it's the claimant's wonga, and under Universal Credit the money will always go to the claimant.

I know. Like Americans and guns. Legal but stoopid.

(Unless the DWP have decided he is vulnerable and arrange an APA or he is in 8 plus weeks' arrears.)

And how long will that take, do you reckon, Wiley, given the way the DWP operates? And who do you suppose is going to pay off the arrears, Wiley? And do you know of a private non-scumbag landlord who would be reassured by the existence of such a scheme, Wiley?

The whole point of UC is it is 6 benefits into 1. It is if you like a blended milkshake that comes from 6 ingredients and for the claimant to drink as and when.

Well, it shouldn't be. As with all AE problems, some of it should be, some of it shouldn't be and some of it should be sucked and seen until we know what's best.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Wile E. Coyote wrote:
The whole point of UC is it is 6 benefits into 1.It is if you like a blended milkshake that comes from 6 ingredients and for the claimant to drink as and when.


Six healthy ingredients:
    Milk
    Banana
    Carrot
    Cauliflower
    Beetroot
    Spinach


It might be good for, but you won't like drinking a blended milkshake made from this.
or:
Stop complaining, it's good for you.
or
No, avacado and guacamole are not available in this recipe.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Well put Boro.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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You may (or not) be aware that the number of houses, flats and apartments available for rent on AirBnB has grown enormously.

Did someone suddenly build all these houses, flats and apartments?

Of course not. These are all the most agile landlords who have decided not to play the social or private housing game any more. It's just not worth the (relatively) low rate of income and the hassle with ungrateful tenants and/or the DWP.

Take it off the market. (You might have to evict the existing pesky tenant). Give it a deep clean, a lick of paint, and some cheap decorations from your nearest Ikea. Put it back on the AirBnB market for a higher price with guaranteed income (less AirBnB's two or three percent).

Installing WiFi for your AirBnB guests might be a small extra cost (they do expect that kind of thing). But the good news is you can also install hidden cameras so you can remotely watch everything your new guests are doing in every room. Even the bathroom.

You may even drive some of the more expensive local hotels and B&Bs out of business. But, hey, that's Disruptive Innovation, it's good for people. Don't forget to leave cards for your guests from your local Uber driver.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Remember what I said?

If the claimant didn't hand over his housing benefit on Friday and lost his home on Saturday, he would pay it over on the Friday.

That's what hotels do and they have no problem with rent arrears. That is why welfare claimants are increasingly ending up in B & B's. AirBnB is a beautiful illustration of the way the housing market works. Originally this was for academic-types going to conferences and was useful and inoffensive but not very significant. Then the operators moved in and turned them into, essentially, ordinary holiday lets. Then more operators moved in and turned them into, essentially, ordinary residential lets but ones where you didn't have to worry about rent arrears. Tenants could stay as long as they liked so long as they paid the rent.

All this, as Borry points out, has meant the demise of competing operations lumbered with all kinds of expensive rules and regulation. The response has been not to cut down on the rules and regulation but to cut down on AirBnB. Just like Uber. We await developments.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Boreades wrote:
These are all the most agile landlords who have decided not to play the social or private housing game any more. It's just not worth the (relatively) low rate of income and the hassle with ungrateful tenants and/or the DWP.


There is a lot of talk about being "agile." It might be worth a thread on its own. In the context of the development of UC, some of my interest was sparked by the DWP trialling agile methods, eg in its software development to try and solve the massive IT problems. Agile thinking and solutions tend to work on smaller projects. You wouldn't be wrong to think round about 90 Billion a year and 7 million households, if UC was ever implemented.

So you need a Mick Harper type epistemologist in charge rather than an agile guru.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Train snacks should be phased out in the fight against obesity Government Chief Health Officer

As a major train snacker myself and a minorly obese one, I will have to take this on board. (See what I did there? © Wile E Coyote.) I admit I do get peckish on long journeys and I do tend to overcompensate by stuffing my face. But here's the problem: a meal deal at all the major London termini consists of a sandwich, a fizzy drink and a 'snack component'. In my case cheesy wotsists, if available. This suggests I can eat the sandwich and drink the Pepsi Max without technically defying the government but will I be breaking the spirit of the law? To be on the safe side I may have to go Pullman-class and have a bona fide meal with a half bottle of Chablis.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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The Labour Left are always keen on nationalising the banks so it was good of Watchdog to let us know that Britain's only currently nationalised bank, RBS, came fifteenth out of fifteen. If we nationalise them all it will soon be joint top! Come on you reds.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I was a bit puzzled about the racism furore, Bulgaria vs England. The actual outbursts seemed on the thin side to warrant such a reaction. Also I noted that Bulgaria had at least one black player so blanket racism -- long a feature of ex-Warsaw Pact countries -- seemed mildly inappropriate. It might be that Zero Tolerance and Extreme Punishment will do the trick though by the look of the Ultras being 'asked' to leave I would think they would like nothing better. Fifa/Uefa are typical liberals: assume everybody plays by your rules and can be punished by your punishments when they break them.

But what if Bulgarians are more moved by national than racist insults and declare that anybody whistling during the playing of their national anthem will get the game cancelled? Five thousand England fans will be happy to oblige. Anyone expecting to be on the wrong end of a 6-0 shellacking might opt for that.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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It's only just come to my attention that the impecunious AEL didn't need to send Mick to stand in a queue for social welfare payments after all. It could have just declared itself as the Notting Hill University of Epistemology (NHUE), and started applying for EU grants.

NHUE's Politics Department could have got €2,499,950 for a project to help ensure “The EU will also be more visibly positioned as a global thought leader in exploiting science and science diplomacy for the benefit of foreign policy and society”.

What about the Health Department? That could have got €309,235.20 for researching an “E-taxonomy of Sino-Himalayan Umbelliferae (Apiaceae): diversity, phylogeny and species modelling through new web-based tools”.
Why?
Because it “addresses fundamental gaps in our knowledge on the diversity and eco-biogeography of Sino-Himalayan Umbelliferae, commonly known as the carrot or parsley family”.

Life Sciences?
Howzabout € 3 494 876 for a Sea Change project?
“The overarching goals of the Sea Change project are to bring about a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens viewtheir relationship with the sea, by empowering them –as ‘Ocean Literate’ citizens –to take direct and sustainable action towards healthy seas and ocean, healthy communities and ultimately –a healthy planet.”
- that trip to Guernsey by boat would be Field Research (on expenses)

The (newly created) Music Department could have got € 2,979,055 for a Mixing and Dubbing catalogue for rappers.

M'Lady Boreades especially approved of this one: € 221 606,40 for Exploring Anti-Gentrification Practices and policies in Southern European Cities- “The research findings will be also rendered in forms of an anti-gentrification toolkit that will provide the basic tools that local communities can draw on to fight gentrification and concrete ideas for policy makers.
- quite right, can't have the Social Groups D and E getting ideas.

Loads more examples here:
http://www.theredcell.co.uk/uploads/9/6/4/0/96409902/research_interests_revisited_-_latest_examples_of_eu.pdf

Oh, by the way, apparently anyone in the UK can call themselves a University, and it's fine, just as long as you don't start advertising or awarding degrees?

Here's one example: Redgate University
https://www.red-gate.com/hub/university/
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Grant



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Stephen Kinnock's getting ready to deliver the votes as I predicted. Just read the agreement and it's all pretty reasonable, even guaranteeing workers rights and everything.

I would have preferred no-deal but it's a fair result considering the 52 48 vote. Just shows that Parliament actually did a great job in reflecting the different opinions in the country.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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The thing about Brexit...

This is not a critical decision. We had unwisely moved from slow lane to faster middle lane (under Blair) on Europe... so then needed to move back to slow lane. If we now turn off at the next junction we will still be travelling along a parallel road at the same speed, in the same direction as the slow lane which we used to occupy.

It don't matter a jot. It just stops us easily joining the fast lane, which we never wanted to anyway.

It is not a critical decision, it is a symbolic one. All the crucial technological advantages that Europe once held, so we could lead markets, are either going or gone. Being part of Europe won't get these back, neither will going it alone. We just need to trundle on. The idea that Europe can protect us or that our national inclination to free trade will help are equally risible.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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It's difficult to predict the actions of any Labour MP, except Flint.

Stephen Kinnock voted against the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. So he didn't deliver his own vote, let alone the others.

I am stumped by Corbyn's strategy, let alone his tactics. Possibly he is adopting a "hang in and hope" ?

The danger is that come the election, the main issue will be Brexit, and Labour will be stuck in the middle brexit ground, trying to appeal to both leave and remain, JC as the politician to unite the nation. That will not work.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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It was all over bar the shouting when the ticker reported, before the crucial vote, that Labour whips were talking to Tory whips about a timetable. This demonstrated that not only were Labour aware they were going to lose The Vote, not only were they aware that the majority would be large enough to prevent wrecking amendments, they were all too aware that a General Election would annihilate the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The only question now is whether Boris listens to
a) his colleagues (in Europe and in Parliament) and lets the Leaving Bill wend its way through the stages in the normal way i.e. over a few weeks, we leave and everybody breathes a sigh of relief or
b) Dominic Cummings, makes artificial waves and forces a general election. And we either leave or don't leave depending on the outcome.

I predict it will be the former and in a month or two we will have forgotten what all the furore was about. PS I have had to revise my opinion about Boris Johnson, he has been rather impressive of late.
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