January 30th, 2013

Wonk Watch: Demos Back Welfare Cash Card

propellor-head-wonkJust before Christmas Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill calling for a welfare cash card for benefits claimants. At the time Guido thought it seemed a promising idea – not least for the invective it inspired from the skiver-loving left. The wonks over at the Demos think-tank say 59% of the country backs the move.

demos-logoDemos, where Blairite-ultra Philip Collins is Chair of the Board of Trustees, have published a paper calling on the government to embrace the idea by issuing the Universal Credit on a pre-paid welfare card. Crucially it would exclude disability benefit and the basic state pension. This is not some Orwellian statist attempt to control people’s lives, it could be a much-needed means of protecting the taxpayer and tackling dependency culture…


  1. 1
    Chris Huhne Is Silent Today says:



    • 13
      Vote UKIP says:

      A lot of money is lost by ‘poor people’ through gambling, drinking, smoking and illegal drugs. A card which stops taxpayer’s money being wasted is about 40 years overdue.


      • 14
      • 20
        SP4BS says:

        I’d like a tardis. That would be much more fun than a magic card.


      • 89
        Mervyn King says:

        Who runs the system and profits from it?


        Who receives the money from the spending?


        It’s welfare for the big boys, nothing more, nothing less.


      • 93
        the prophet of profit says:

        you are having a laugh are you not?

        70 quid a week does not buy much drugs or booze or tobacco or televisions or phone credit or internet connection or electricity or gas or council tax or petrol or insurance or clothes or food.

        for those on benefits who do find the money for drugs and/or booze and/or tobacco and/or gambling and/or 50″ inch televisions then good fucking luck to them. what you think people on benefits do not have the right to have some form of enjoyment in their lives? oh what is that i hear you say? you came from nothing, your parents were poor blah fucking blah so if i can do it then every other fucker has the capability and those that haven’t done it must ergo be lazy fucking scumbags???

        that money you oh so crave doesn’t fucking bleed or breathe or eat… it has never lived and never will do yet for those that do bleed breathe feed feel, that is to say living sentient beings… we need these slices of paper lumps of coin numbers on fucking screens in order to perpetuate our lives yet you scum think money is more fucking important. you can find the money to blow up brown people in the middle east, to grease the wheels of commerce in far off lands, to line your own fucking pockets, to bail out banks but, shudder! dole scum smoking a bit of green, playing the fucking lottery, watching television it’s… it’s pure fucking outrage! they deserve no pleasure, have them sitting on the bare boards of the floor of their shitty council flat starring at the mouldy fucking walls all day… every day.

        oh go on mark me down as a commie and move on with your life… cos anyone against capitalism is automatically a raging commie cos that is all there is in your tiny little minds… left or right. you can’t even see it is a ruse a simple fucking snidy sneaky maneuver to divide and conquer people. your brains are incapable of seeing anything else though you know with effort and determination there could be other ways but hey! don’t want to rock the boat too much do we old boy?!

        by all means give them fetid benefits cards… another step towards a cashless society… it is not like the banks create the majority of money out of thin air in the first place is it? and some where down the line if cash is wiped out and there you are with your shiny bank card and find the fucker stops working thus you call some automated call centre and learn the bank has stolen all your money, the deeds to your home, all your stocks and share the fucking lot… well don’t come crying to the legion that is benefit scum, cos they will have long since been starved to death.


      • 100
        Dave W says:

        Instead repeating the Daily Mail, you should produce hard evidence to support your claims. That said, is not this just the kind right-wing disinformation UKIP would support?


    • 30
      ciconia says:

      What a good idea.
      MPs expenses could be dealt with in the same way. No need for receipts then, just publication of all card bills showing how our money has been spent.


      • 36
        SP4BS says:

        perhaps they’d spend it on items that can easily be bartered for champagne, huge TV’s, and moat cleaning.


  2. 2
    Where are Tony Blair's expenses says:

    What a brilliant idea

    This is the one useful thing the Tories could do in this Parliament

    James Delingpole is doing great stuff on 5 Live defending the position against a whole stream of lefties being put through by the “neutral researchers”

    Amazingly they have just sent through a Polish lady who says she has no problems in finding work.

    1 million Eastern Europeans have found work here in the last 10 years or so, this will not change until benefits are brought under control

    ~ 320000 immigrants are currently on benefits in the UK at the moment without having paid a penny in tax or NI.

    Lots of easy wins if you really had the political balls to cut public spending


    • 6
      Mugged by Labour says:

      His expenses are in the same place as the Chilcot report.


    • 49
      Debt is doubling under Dave says:

      “Lots of easy wins if you really had the political balls to cut public spending”

      When confronted with an “easy win”, Dave always chooses to lose.


    • 105
      Anonymous says:

      And where do you get your ‘information’ from?


    • 124
      Anonymous says:

      “1 million Eastern Europeans have found work here in the last 10 years or so, this will not change until benefits are brought under control

      ~ 320000 immigrants are currently on benefits in the UK at the moment without having paid a penny in tax or NI.”

      Did you get your ‘facts’ from UKIP or BNP central office?


  3. 2
    Will Fare says:

    Can you get tattoos with them?


  4. 4
    Benny Fitz says:

    This was just debated on Panto Nicky’s call in on 5 Live. The BBC managed to wheel out the usual lefty New Statesman/Guardian mouthpieces to oppose, aided by the dross that the BBC callminders manage to put on the air to sound off against the Tories. James Delingpike and star named Harvey put up a robust defence. Well worth a listen.


  5. 5
    woodbinus interuptus says:

    Demos don’t know their arses from their elbows. It is virtually impossible to create such a card, as it would require every UK retail store to adopt a common classification for fags and booze. Either that or change every till in the country so that it passes the bar code of the product to the card company.

    Good luck with that.


    • 12
      Madge Orityopinion says:

      You use the Gordon Brown argument. “It looks tricky to change so let’s do bugger all.” Precisely why we are in the doodoo.


      • 56
        woodbinus interuptus says:

        No the GB argument is let’s spend lots of money making it more complicated rather than taking the hard choice which is spend less money in the first place.

        Less benefit to fewer people, or a huge IT project that will alienate retailers and cost the British taxpayer billions?


      • 75
        Anonymous says:

        If I remember correctly, the reason why we are ‘in the doo doo’ (as you so eloquently put it,) is due to the banks having free reign to digitally create money lending to the property market then speculating on credit, completely destabilising our economy.
        Not, as so many bleat, due to poor people spending benefit money on fags and booze.
        Economics is the flow of money, not a stick to beat the disadvantaged with.


    • 15
      Vote UKIP says:

      And yet they manage so easily with VATable and non-Vatable items.


    • 65
      himindoors says:

      Just put it out to tender to all the credit card companies and let the winner manage it. It’s moot point though, if you have something of value, that value is transferable but at a cost of service. It’ll won’t change what people buy, it’ll just give them less money to do so and make the middlemen richer. So blindingly obvious, it just amazes me…..


    • 83
      Casual Observer says:

      This has been done in the US already. It is quite simple to implement.


  6. 7
    Anonymous says:

    No, it’s an Orwellian attempt to control people’s lives. Treat people like adults.


    • 17
      Vote UKIP says:

      If it stops irresponsible people gambling, boozing, smoking all their money away so their kids go hungry, is it really so Orwellian?


    • 21

      OK – fu.ck off and get a job, or no pocket money.


    • 84
      Casual Observer says:

      It is very much so. However, those that wish fags / booze only need to trade the goods they can buy with someone who has access.

      This will create a black market (as evidenced in US) which will likely increase the cost to those on the cards and possibly increase crime.


  7. 8
    Chris"The Cheeky Chappie" Huhne says:

    Vicki’s car was looking a bit tired so I decided to go out and treat her, I also wanted something electric to keep running costs down.

    I hope she likes the 1974 milk float I’ve got her.


  8. 9
    These bastsrds havent the wit to find their own arse with both hands says:

    The thick stupid lazy feckless c unts will continually loose their cards resulting in an administrative nightmare.


  9. 10
    Cherie Blair says:

    Surely this goes against claimants’ human rights to be able to pay for plasma tellys and top of the range BMWs while they carry on with their cash in hand work.
    Sounds like more work for Matrix Chambers – we could do with a few more houses in our property portfolio.


  10. 11
    Living in 96.98 percent white Merseyside says:

    Won’t affect anyone up here. Use the card for basics and the money they earn on the side for fags, booze and flat-screen TV’s.

    Stupid idea when you think of it.


  11. 16
    SP4BS says:

    I can’t see how it would work.
    I can see how you can get round it.

    Is the cash economy banned for the unemployed?
    Have you forgotten about markets? you know, the kind with fruit and veg in boxes and tents made out of scaffold poles.


  12. 18
    Steve Miliband says:

    This is more like a Visa Electron card methinks.

    If you don’t have a Bank Account then your card can be topped up with your benefit payments and used as an Electron type card – ie can’t be overdrawn, cardholder must be present, cant be used for online payments


  13. 19
    Old Grumpy says:

    As apensioner, I object to the idea of some elitist twats wanting, even, to have control over my spending.

    I spent a lifetime working and paying taxes, while I built my little family and home.

    They can go forth and multiply!


  14. 23
    Anonymous says:

    Lets not forget a fantastic way for the banks to reap in profits. i believe JPM are making a fortune out of food stamps in the USA.


  15. 24
    Lord Bumwatch says:

    Does this mean Corby people could use it to pay their car insurance?


  16. 26
    Jimmy says:

    The progressive voter base (the majority after boundary review was rejected) will squash this idea dead at the next GE.


  17. 40
  18. 42
    OnBenefits says:

    I need a telly, and I’ve searched high and low for an old fashioned cathode ray tube one but working ones don’t exist any more. The readers of Guido Fawkes’ website say that we unemployed shouldn’t have a flat screen telly, so I’ve decided to do without, even though my brother in law has offered me one for free.
    My worry is if one of Guido’s posters looks through my front window and sees a plasma, he wouldn’t be very pleased.


    • 59
      Bill Sykes says:

      I would be delighted to see a plasma telly in your house. We need one for the third bathroom in the west wing, so let me know where you live and I’ll be round when you’re out.


      • 73
        OnBenefits says:

        Sorry Bill, events have overtaken us. An 82 year-old friend has just bought a brand new Samsung LED (only £289 from John Lewis with a 5 year guarantee) and she’s offered me her old Panasonic 26″. Two problems with that – I need to recruit a mate to help me lift it because it’s too heavy for one to lift, and I now need a set top box to make it work.

        But better than getting a plasma, eh readers?


  19. 44
    steve smith says:

    Wow the torie’s have out ‘lefted’ the lefties. Ed and Ed will have an ‘edache’ spinning this one. Such state control and personal information to be garnered Blair would have come in his pants


  20. 45
    Cato Street Conspirator says:

    ‘This is not some Orwellian statist attempt to control people’s lives, it could be a much-needed means of protecting the taxpayer and tackling dependency culture…’

    And how does having a person dependent on a card rather than cash when they’re unfortunate enough to be unemploymed ‘tackle dependency culture’? Don’t you think a policy of full employment such as operated from 1945 might be the better option?


    • 76
      Ross says:

      Careful…the rabid lunatics on here would resort to going back to subjugating women and blacks…

      I’ve been a long term fan of this blog…love the scoops and love the idea of bringing those in, or seeking, power down to earth…

      But I draw the line at attacking those unfortunate enough to be on benefits when there are so many, much more worthy targets out there.


  21. 47
    Anonymous says:

    Wow, genuinely can’t believe that in this day and age a handful of people such as yourselves are narrow minded and ignorant enough to believe a stereotype that ALL people who claim are lazy plasma tv tramps.. No matter what circumstance led you to claim nobody should have the right to tell you were you should and shouldn’t spend your money. It’s unacceptable, just because it’s a state handout doesn’t give them to right to assume everyone is out buying dope so everyone needs to be monitored! This idea is so flawed I don’t Ben know where to begin.
    Shame in you all


    • 52

      Have you applied for the course “English as a second language”?


    • 58
      Socialism is a severe mental illness says:

      “nobody should have the right to tell you were you should and shouldn’t spend your money”

      Quite right. But it’s not their money, is it? No, it isn’t. It’s taxpayers’ money. Taken from people who work. And people who work and earn that money don’t like to see (and should not have to see) people who don’t work taking the money and blowing it all “down the boozer”.


    • 102
      Dave W says:

      Never the truth get in the way of the Daily Mail.


  22. 48

    There’s a fat f.uck dictator called Jong-un
    Who’s reign may not be a long-un
    If he missiles the Yanks
    Or sends south the tanks
    He’ll get a nuke stuck right up his wrong-un


  23. 50
    Hard Working Singleton says:

    Excellent idea. But you can bet Labour, Murdoch-Sky, Tobacco and Cider companies will oppose this as they all profit from misery and social breakdown.

    We should also make people out of work for more than a few months work hard for the money, picking up litter of the housing estate, helping the elderly or doing other good deeds to repay society for the generous benefits they enjoy (I’m not just talking dole money but housing, healthcare, school for the kids etc).


    • 55
      Frank's son says:

      But you already pay for someone to pick up litter, helping the elderly and so on. It’s called Council Tax! So you would rather the council keep your cash for jollies and the like?


      • 69
        Hard Working Singleton says:

        I can see plenty of litter and many elderly people need help. Meanwhile millions have spare time and could serve the society that generously provides them with everything to stay afloat.

        Or give us a Council Tax cut and these people can do it.


  24. 51
    Frank's son says:

    hmmm, and who would produce the card? Some company lobbying MP’s and offering cash (afterall, MP’s like cash) to ‘fund’ their offices.

    Who would police the scheme? More public employees? It’s been mentioned above but I’ll mention it again. Will MP’s expenses (benefits) be subject to the same conditions? Let’s not forget the money for MP’s expenses comes out of the same tax payers money as JSA of ESA or any other form of benefit.

    Also let’s go one further, anyone receiving child benefit could also be subject to the same card, therefore ensuring the cash is spent on their kids, not plasma TV’s, fags, booze or gambling.


  25. 53
    Obvs says:

    “59% of the country backs the move”

    Presumably they are the people who pay for the state’s largess?


    • 121
      Same As It Always Was says:

      Despite all the PR spin, only 59 support the idea. See that number drop when people understand what is REALLY going on.


  26. 57
    pete says:

    Taxpayers should give the government a payment card so they can’t waste our money on things like the dome, the olympics, legions of diversity and strategy managers, ‘ill health’ based early retirement on an enhanced pension for any council pen pusher who finds working after the age of 50 just a bit tedious and payments to hordes of single mothers who use the state as breadwinner.


    • 96
      Tooting Market stallholder says:

      They already do; it’s called income tax. But as you say it gets badly misused.

      Wanna pounder apples or summink while yer ‘ere?


  27. 63
    The Daily Mail is a left wing rag says:

    If the cards ever come to be, I predict it will be the inside of a week before the first cloned card is used to buy a Golf GTI and holiday for 8 in Ibiza.
    To prevent this, cards should be given to taxpayers, so that they can be used responsibly, and so they can make the thieving scum beg for the basics in life, like a one-way ticket to Syria.


  28. 80
    Jess The Dog says:

    So when will MPs be getting it?


  29. 81
    Jess The Dog says:

    Stupid idea. It will be wide open to abuse and fraud, it will encourage criminal markets in buying cards at a profit, it will be incompetently administered like everything else, it will cost billions and the only beneficiaries will behuman rights lawyers and the inept contractor who implements it at great profit.


  30. 82
    Any Mouse says:

    The ill fated ID Card that this government cancelled started life as an entitlement card and as such it made sense As usual it expanded as it went along and we the taxpayer wasted millions on it. Now watch as we start all over again and do not use what we have already paid for once.


  31. 85
    Casual Observer says:

    Guido: You should do some elementary digging on this.

    Demos is backing as Bliar sits on the boards of the banks which are likely to be running the scheme.

    M Keiser among others, have covered this extensively over the past year with respect to what was set up in the US. There JP Morgan now controls the ‘food stamp’ market.

    It doesn’t take too much working out, but this is a seriously amoral move which provides a mechanism for transferring tax payer money to commercial banks. Bliar in particular is jockeying on this one right now.


    • 97
      Tooting Market stallholder says:

      Is Blunkett in on this as well? He was the one pushing ID cards as he sits on the board of the likely producers/issuers. Pity he lost out when Brown got kicked out!

      Anyone wanna few bananas or mandarins?


  32. 87
    Jack the Ripper says:

    A card to stop irresponsible people gambling? Nah, the bankers will never wear it.


  33. 88
    Tractor Gent says:

    There will be an incentive to clone these – they’ll need a good security design. However, even if they work as intended, then a barter market will probably spring up so that cardholders can trade card-obtained goods – at a discount – for the off-limits goodies.


  34. 90
    Rob says:

    A black market will appear for these cards 0.002 nanoseconds after the first ones are handed out. People will sell them to criminals for, say, 80% of their value in cash.

    Congratulations, you have just invented yet another unnecessary class of criminals.


  35. 98
    keredybretsa says:

    Finest thing since sliced horse meat innit!?


  36. 99
    Dave W says:

    And what about the Panorama report on the highly insulting term ‘LTB’?


  37. 123
    Same As It Ever Was says:

    “This is not some Orwellian statist attempt to control people’s lives, it could be a much-needed means of protecting the taxpayer and tackling dependency culture…”

    And the band played, Believe It If You Like.


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