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Saturday, 1 April 2017

The real-terms economics of DWP helplines

Kwug Blog editor — citing the reader's letter published this week in Camden New Journal(1) and which formed the basis of subsequent Kwug Blog post (2): It has struck me over the past few days on reading e-mail from a friend who is going through Universal Credit registration, that perhaps "Telephone calls [to the Universal Credit helpline] can cost up to 55p a minute from pay-as-you-go mobile phones, which are commonly used by people with lower incomes," is less illuminating than saying that the call charge is £33 per hour.

Rev Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty(3): Dear Alan - I wrote a similar letter to Guardian Society in 2003.. It was published with the following cartoon. -  good wishes - Paul
Guardian Society cartoon, 2 July 2003, of JSA call centre recorded message stating, "All our operators are busy just now .... Why don't you just go out and buy another top-up card?"

Kwug Blog editor notes: In the recent Camden New Journal news story about a report by Camden Council regarding the damage done by Universal Credit processing delays and the extortionate call charges of the Universal Credit 'helpline', it was pointed out that the Council report had cited waits of "up to six weeks" for claims to be processed.(3) KUWG members realised that that seemed a far-too-conservative estimate, and waits of "up to six weeks" are nothing new.

I commented in response by e-mail that perhaps the gross under-estimation of the wait for claims to be processed and the assumption that waits of up to six weeks and resultant resorting to extortionate DWP helplines is something very new indicates how cushioned the report's authors are? A Camden Council source said that that was a peculiar reaction from me, as I should have been grateful for the report's existence rather than begrudging of the under-stating of the waiting period.

What do you think, dear Kwug Blog reader?


  1. http://camdennewjournal.com/article/benefit-related-suicides-will-be-highlighted-on-april-3
  2. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/is-dwps-under-resourcing-of-universal-credit-helpline-a-means-of-torturing-poor-people.html 
  3.  http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/
  4. http://camdennewjournal.com/article/universal-credit-claimants-stealing-food-to-eat-due-to-benefit-delays

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