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back to article New benefits website at risk of hackers, no Plan B - ministers

Fraud and identity theft are serious problems threatening Universal Credit, Blighty's soon-to-be-launched web-based benefits system, ministers said yesterday. Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and welfare reform minister Lord Freud were grilled by the Work and Pensions Select Committee over the new programme, designed to take …

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WTF?

There's confident he is

"...Lord Freud said, adding that there was no need for a Plan B in case the bridge didn't work - because he has a "comfort level" about it sorting itself out."

"comfort level"??? For something so complex, and with no Plan B, he'd better be bloody certain of success, not just 'comfortable'.

Still, what can possibly go wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's confident he is

Get with the programme!

It may not be secure, ready, or functional, but - it's agile!

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Flame

"...but - it's agile!"

Did you really have to say that?

Please, tell me you said it just to wind me up.

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Re: "...but - it's agile!"

I have a comfort level with it going over time; massively over budget and being a complete fuck-up when it lands.

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It's George Santayana time again!

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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Anonymous Coward

No plan B? Seriously?

As someone on disability living allowance who is in the middle.of the new assessment process for the new benefits scheme I do not need any more worries about this debacle the government is forcing on us.

They already want to pay us monthly instead of weekly/fortnightly, which will make things very difficult for a lot of people, and they want all payments to go to one member of the family which would cause even more problems for many people when there are two or more people receiving benefits in the family.

When the government tighten their belts, the poor and helpless always get the shit end of the stick.

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Re: No plan B? Seriously?

quote: "They already want to pay us monthly instead of weekly/fortnightly, which will make things very difficult for a lot of people, and they want all payments to go to one member of the family which would cause even more problems for many people when there are two or more people receiving benefits in the family."

Speaking as someone who has previously moved from a weekly pay packet to a monthly one, it does force you to make more effort in planning spending, and arranging bill times. If income is the same overall though, it is generally a minor inconvenience.

Speaking as someone who has also moved from a personal account to a joint account, it also forces you to look more critically at the spending habits of all parties involved, and possibly require some candid talks regarding what will and will not be acceptable without consultation between parties. This is not insurmountable though, if you are already making an effort at peaceful cohabitation.

Speaking as someone who has money transferred from another person's account on a regular basis (to cover their share of bills), that seems to work absolutely fine, as long as you trust the other person. Standing orders will even automate the process for you, if one party is not as, err... "temporally reliable" as they could be to ensure it is always done on time.

I understand your concerns, however they are all, in general, also applicable to people not on benefits, living in shared family situations who have one or more earners in the household. Fiscal products exist (joint accounts, automated transfers) that can help with the management of the situation even with those restrictions on payment placed upon them by the government.

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Re: No plan B? Seriously?

Might I remind you that °working° people - you know, the people who are forced to pay for your benefits - usually get paid monthly, and they manage to live.

As for one member of the family getting paid these benefits, well so what? Working people in families sometimes have it so that only one person in the family is in a job, thus, there is only one income and yet they manage to live.

I'm tired of people taking money from taxpayers and whining all the time about how hard they supposedly have it. You don't have to work for your money. You don't have to lift a finger for it so you don't have any right to say how it should be paid or even if it should be paid.

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Re: No plan B? Seriously?

I'm tired of people taking money from taxpayers and whining all the time about how hard they supposedly have it. You don't have to work for your money. You don't have to lift a finger for it so you don't have any right to say how it should be paid or even if it should be paid.

---

I truly hope you're never condemned to live a life of someone forced onto disability benefits. It generally means you're in pain all the time, or physically damaged. Whatever the case, its not a life you would have chosen.

As a society, we have decided to treat people who can't support themselves with respect, and to support them. Personally, I agree with this decision. The results are not perfect, and the methods are sometimes imperfect too, but they are much better than the alternative.

We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy. Those who pay taxes do not have the only say over what happens with the money.

So, sorry dude, you got it wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

@NumptyScrub

You sound just like those out-of-touch politicians implimenting the polcies that others have to suffer.

Just over a week ago it emrged that 70 groups had written to the work and pensions select committee over their decision to pay everyone monthly who receives universal credits. That's not 70 people, that's 70 groups who deal with tens/hundreds of thousands of people on benefits / special care etc.

You do not appear to accept the fact that a lot of people who receive payments every 1 or 2 weeks - and have trouble just keeping afloat - will find going to a monthly payment system near impossible. Those payday loan companies are going to be making a fortune from some people who cannot cope with going to a monthly payment system.

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Facepalm

Re: No plan B? Seriously?

"I'm tired of people taking money from taxpayers and whining all the time about how hard they supposedly have it."

Are you refering to bankers? Tax evaders? Major corporations that use tax loopholes, than when an attempt to shut them down is considered they 'whine' about it being good for business?

"You don't have to lift a finger for it so you don't have any right to say how it should be paid or even if it should be paid."

So who does in fact have a say in how it should be paid? Or even how much? I do not recall any member of the working public being sent a memo or request as to whether funds should be used to say invade Iraq or host the Olympics? Of course they didn't because it's not YOUR money after you pay your tax, don't delude yourself into thinking it is, you have very little choice on how it is spent. I'm also sure that there are many who work hard for very little and vice versa so again, who has these rights you speak of?

Please, no 'you can choose who to vote for' response, only an imbecile thinks the system is that basic.

Remember as well that those on benefits, mainly those for whom it is not a worthwhile state to be in, will have to spend that money they get. They don't put it in a box and collect it, they don't see that housing benefit for long, electricity isn't cheap nor that 20% VAT that goes back to the state when used on food or other goods.

Of couse maybe if they are made worse off with with Universal credits and monthly payments and can't afford to pay thier rent or utility bill on time they can simply ask for a bailout...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worse Off?

Please explain using some actual basic arithmetic how getting paid the same amount on a different schedule is going to make anyone "worse off"?

As mentioned above, a large proportion of employed people are paid monthly.

Some might use things like a pen and paper or even a computer to create a basic budget which helps them to manage their outgoings.

Most bills are charged monthly so I would assert that this makes it easier than having to 'save up' out of a weekly/fortnightly payment in order to be able to settle them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Worse Off?

One thing you neglect to consider is that this assumes people are capable of using their brains at a simple level. Many (not all) of those who this will affect plainly haven't got the entry-level intellectual capability to accomplish this.

Remind me, why are we supporting these people again?

Anyway, I digress. I suppose they really will be "worse off" if they have blown their payment at the off-license or the bookies by tea time and their family will have nothing to eat for the rest of the month...

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Anonymous Coward

Poverty trap

The current system is a poverty trap and has been for years.

Growing up, I saw it in action with my family, and others around.

The issue is that, with payments being made separately for different things, they are all calculated separately too.

If you earn £1 above threshold, that will be deducted from the benefits.. from each benefit in many cases; this leaves you worse off than if you had not earned that money.

There is an area between full benefits, and full work, where you are worse off than in either. Crossing that barrier is hard, and acts to trap people in the benefits system for years on end. You can't slowly increase your earnings to get out of the system, you have to leap, or stay where you are.

This new system may well fall over, but something has to be done, as the consequences of the current system are awful too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poverty trap

I agree entirely with you. Which is why substantial reform to the system is required.

A friend of mine has always worked for a living but has recently found that he cannot go back to work as he would be considerably worse off. He has two kids and the council are actually encouraging him to have unnecessary work done to his house, new central heating, dishwasher etc. at the taxpayers' expense.

One of the first things that need to be done is to stop paying people to have more children. All benefits and perks based on parenthood should be limited to one child as a maximum.

You want to irresponsibly increase the population? Pay for it yourself.

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Facepalm

Security Added Now?

The ministers said the project, now in the final stages of development, was adopting security systems used by banks, and the team behind it was in talks with internet companies including Amazon for advice on how to keep availability high.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!

Security and availability should be in the design and planning of the system from day one. Anything where you take a system and then add security features is just an ownage waiting to happen.

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Go

Re: Security Added Now?

I wouldn't take the few soundbites that a minister has in their brief for the committee to be an accurate description of when they started thinking about security:

Minister: "Crap, I'm in front of the WaPC tomorrow. What will they ask?"

Official: "They'll mention security for sure"

Minister: "I don't know anything about that - what do I say?"

Official: "Don't worry, nor do they. Just mention some vague things about bank security systems and Amazon. And throw in a Google reference if necessary. On second thoughts, forget the Google reference"

That's not to say I know the security is fine on the system (though some guys I used to work with I know are working on its development) - just that ministerial pronouncements on this stuff are for the general public, not knowledgeable commentards on El Reg.

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FAIL

I am glowing with confidence

and monkeys fly out of my butt

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Re: I am glowing with confidence

So, you have dependents?

Please fill in forms MFOOMB13/8 to MFOOMB13/675 in black ink and return them as soon as possible. MFOOMB is a means tested benefit, you must declare all income so we can ensure none of you get enough to live on.

XXX

the government

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Re: I am glowing with confidence

Butt?

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Plan B?

"Lord Freud said, adding that there was no need for a Plan B in case the bridge didn't work - because he has a "comfort level" about it sorting itself out."

To astounded to be sarcastic.

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Trollface

"The buildings' boilers shall be in the same room as the caller team."

I'm sure complete call centers are now being built in southern Italy and eastern Romania

...just to exploit this professionally.

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Black Helicopters

ID cards

for immigrants.

Next step, the unemployed...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ID cards

So you want to be given money for nothing but you don't think it's reasonable to say who you are first?

Maybe you would stand a better chance of becoming employed if you wrote your name with capital letters.

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jai
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Coat

No Plan B?

How about Ray Winstone?

"Shut it you slaaaag you're nicked!!"

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Unhappy

Talk about lunatics and asylums...

I find it terrifying that someone (not) in control of this fast arriving train wreck can be so totally out of touch with reality.

All eggs in one basket.

Security as a bolt-on.

No fallback position.

I am reminded of the quote: "It may be that your entire purpose in life is to act as a warning to others."

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Anonymous Coward

Tick, Tick

This going to ticking timebomb. Problems are very under estmated. Expect this in the end cost a LOT more then previous system.

People are complex, people just do not fall simple paging system.

The biggest problem is where everyone lives same house as 1 persion geting all the cash, nightmare! Expect court cases as this truely is nuts! The head of household might not be best one to be able to handle to money. The head of household might have drug problem then everyone benefit money is just going spent on the problem. This is epic a wrong!

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