That’s one of the big questions. I don’t know. They have this big question about the amount of free heat they give a household. Are you going to get the same heating as a free boiler? If I was a free boiler there would be no cost but, if I was someone paying for my heating then I might be getting better cost-effectiveness. There are a number of reasons why an individual might choose a free boiler rather than a paid boiler. It’s easier to keep. It would be cheaper and, in the event of a problem, it would be fixed within the hour. It would be free without the hassle of calling for help. There are other benefits. You can choose your heating according to your needs. It means I can choose what I like. I can choose, for example, to have the kettle on the left or the kettle on the right.
This is something I’ve been thinking about but no one ever actually asks. And that’s one of the major reasons I’m so interested in universal credit… because I think we all should be more active in making sure that people don’t suffer and that people are able to afford the things that they want.
How is the universal credit system different to other welfare schemes?
There isn’t any particular difference as regards the work requirement. In universal credit we get all our benefits back and we have the right to appeal them. We get full social protection regardless of what your circumstances are.
We also have the right to decide whether we keep our benefits as they’re paid and I think that’s one of the things that was a little bit exciting in the early months of universal credit when we were on that journey with DWP.
The other thing is that there’s a lot that’s designed for you: when you’re on Universal Credit you’ve taken a risk: given yourself a job, taken on your responsibilities which people take on when they get a job and so forth. I’m really interested in how we as individuals develop the skills that we can use to make a living.
Is Universal Credit a good system?
We’ve had quite a lot of people telling me that Universal Credit isn’t a good system. We’ve heard people complain that, as people get on, it means they’re not making any more money. So that they’re paying more for the same amount of help. But they want help – the benefit is much, much better than it was in their circumstances at that time. We should
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