I must have read the article wrong. In the Guardian today, a think tank report published by the Centre for Policy Studies is recommending that there should be a single agency responsible for dealing with all benefit claims, and that one application should be enough to cover them all.
Have I read it right? It seems to make sense to me, although it’s another case of the government, or their QUANGOs, or whoever these people are, saying what ordinary people have been thinking for years. For instance, in order to renew my tax credits claim, why do I need to phone up a government agency to tell them how much my husband and I have earned over the past year? They know already because they taxed us and charged us national insurance on it. Surely I should only need to contact them if family circumstances have changed – more babies, husband left home, new husband moved in?! I much preferred the old system whereby they changed our tax codes to reflect a benefit awarded for families – at least I knew whether I was coming or going with that one.
Also, one form for all benefits would erase the government’s so called ‘concern’ that some people are not claiming everything that they’re entitled to. The article says that there are more than fifty benefits available, so it would be extremely difficult for most people to easily work out what, if anything, they are entitled to. Also, as the article also points out, many must be at a loss to work out whether there is any point in trying to get more work, in terms of how much the benefits decrease.
Anyway, I’m finishing now, otherwise this will degenerate into a rant about the tax credits system and its incomprehensibility, as well as inefficiency and lack of giving a damn, claiming back already paid benefits if you get work half way through the tax year when you were in real need at the beginning of the year…see, you started me off!