Aditya Cakrabortty is certain that we’re all morons

Here’s the complaint:

“If you need money,” readers were assured, “your Jobcentre will urgently pay you an advance.” In its ruling, the ASA takes the government to task for not making it clear that this is only a loan and that the vast majority of claimants will have to wait five weeks for their first UC payment.

An advance is a what?

18 thoughts on “Aditya Cakrabortty is certain that we’re all morons”

  1. An advance is an advance. It can be an advance on salary or an advance on a fixed allowance. An allowance is not necessarily a loan.

  2. Just for once, I’d actually come down on the side of Fullashit here. There’s nothing in the word “advance” to imply it’s a lone. It’s a payment made before another payment. Just because we’ve all become inured to devious use of words to obscure what’s actually being said doesn’t make it right.
    And a general comment on bumf put out by various arms of the State. It’s long drifted into being essentially advertising material. Long on promises in the flashy introductions. Then you have to drill down into the small print to find out what it’s actually offering & where the catches are. It’s stopped being a public “information” & become more promotional material for services the State provides to justify their existence..

  3. I think the implication is vaguely clear that if you receive an advance, you’ll be getting less later. But I’m not sure vaguely clear is good enough, especially if you’re dealing with people who may be functionality or financially illiterate.

  4. Presumably the claim starts from when begun rather than 5 weeks later?
    So eventually be 5 weeks or more of arrears. Plenty to cover whatever loan.

  5. I thought there was a significant difference between an advance and a loan in terms of who is owing who the money and how it is paid off.

    a) a loan, I lend you money, you owe it back to me and typically agree to pay it back in chunks over a period of time with interest
    b) an advance. I give you some money that I will be owing you early, when it comes to the time that I was due to give you the money I give you the remainder that I owe you.

    It seems to me that the big issue around universal credit could be solved almost instantly if they just assume the claim is legit and start giving out the apprximately right amount of money immediately. Then (in the same way as PAYE) they fix up the correct amounts with (reasonable) adjustments later. You’ll get a small amount of gaming the system (effectively a free loan from the government) but morally and politically that is far better than making people wait 5 weeks on nothing

  6. So the DWP is that it claimed “people move into work faster on Universal Credit than they did on the old system” and the ASA considered this claim to be unsubstantiated.

    The DWP also claimed “your Jobcentre can pay rent directly to landlords”, when in fact it would have been more accurate to say “your Jobcentre may be able to…”

    The advance/loan thing is bollocks though. I would have thought it is pretty clear that an advance means early payment of some or all of what you’re owed. It is effectively a short-term, interest-free loan. But it scarcely matters what you call it; did people really think they’d get this advance and then their full amount as well X weeks later?

    I would be more interested to know why the DWP felt it needed to waste more taxpayer’s money on promoting itself to benefits claimants. It’s not trying to sell them anything, it does not need to advertise. This is what bugs me about the welfare state, it is not so much the money that gets funnelled to the unemployed etc but the huge architecture of fourth rate civil service wasters and private organisations which leach off the taxpayer’s chapped tits.

  7. The Mole and BiS are correct–and advance is not a loan. The Job Centre should not be making misleading if not outright deceitful statements.

  8. There’s also a signficant difference between lack of clarity and “lying”.

    Also, it’s “Chakrabortty” but I think your version works better,

  9. “an advance is not a loan. The Job Centre should not be making misleading if not outright deceitful statements.”

    They weren’t saying it was a loan, thats the whole point. They were calling it an advance, which it is, most accurately. You could call it a short term interest free loan if you liked, the practical effect is the same, but the principle of an advance is well defined and fits here perfectly – a scheduled payment brought forward in time, either in part or in whole.

    The problem here being that we are dealing with people so poorly educated (by the State of course) that they don’t realise what an ‘advance’ is, and have been assuming that they’d continue to get the full amount thereafter, instead of having to account for the advance being taken off subsequent payments.

  10. I’m fairly sure “your Jobcentre can pay rent directly to landlords” is also a lie, Housing Benefit is paid by the local council, not by the Job Centre. (I used to be on a council benefits review board)

  11. I would be more interested to know why the DWP felt it needed to waste more taxpayer’s money on promoting itself to benefits claimants.

    This. On a similar note, why was I hearing radio adverts for the FSCS a while ago? They don’t need to attract customers. No financial company that’s FSCS protected had any choice about it.

  12. @MC November 6, 2019 at 11:28 am

    +1

    I would be more interested to know why the DWP felt it needed to waste more taxpayer’s money on promoting itself to benefits claimants. It’s not trying to sell them anything, it does not need to advertise. This is what bugs me about the welfare state, it is not so much the money that gets funnelled to the unemployed etc but the huge architecture of fourth rate civil service wasters and private organisations which leach off the taxpayer’s chapped tits

    ++1

    @jgh

    UC includes “housing benefit” – that was point of it: one claim = all benefits

  13. MSM Memo: GE coming, time to roll every anti-tory Poverty, Foodbank, NHS/Schools “cuts” story any minority/charity will speak about

    Common Sense – offensive to minorities/poor. JRM said “In an emergency, weigh up all info then do what You think is best to save Your life”

    I’d probably have stayed in flat until first flame/smoke entered via windows.

  14. As long as you get the money does it matter what term is used, that’s just paper shuffling, class it as a loan so it’s on a different budget line to benefits and they don’t have a benefits advanced budget line

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