The recent Demos think tank report – which suggests that smart cards could be used to prevent tenants falling into rent arrears when Universal Credit is launched – is an astonishing piece of corporate blagging.
The report, which was funded by Mastercard, suggests that tenants worried about managing rent payments could have housing benefits loaded onto a smart card which they then use to pay their landlord.
This, they claim, will solve the problems that are likely to be caused by Direct Payments, which mean tenants can no longer have Housing Benefit sent to landlords. Instead Demos suggest the money is given to someone like Mastercard, who then put it on a smartcard for the tenant, who then gives it to the landlord. And
Mastercard Demos then presumably want to charge either the tax payer, or the claimant, for the privilege of this completely unnecessary middle-man.
The obvious solution…
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