Getting in a jam

    Colin Beaven vor Großbritannien-Flagge
    Von Colin Beaven

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    Transcript: Getting in a jam

    Here in Britain, we’re not generally very interested in factories or the just-in-time production methods they all seem to use. We tend to be more interested in Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake or a quick look at social media — just in case there’s something new about Justin.

    But during the Brexit talks, there were worries about factories and the parts they import from EU partners. Would these parts continue to arrive “just in time”, or need to be kept in expensive stockpilehier: Lagerhallestockpiles to make sure production doesn’t come to a halt?

    If we’re honest, we don’t need something as meatyhier: kernigmeaty as Brexit to stop us producing our work just in time. Some of us never seem to get the to get the hang of sth.den Dreh herausbekommenhang of deadlines — our production methods are less just-in-time and more just-too-late. One thinks of past colleagues who remained inactive for heroically long periods of time just to make absolutely sure they missed a deadline. Have they all been recruited by the government? For some time now, it’s been changing the way it pays benefitSozialhilfebenefits — that’s the money it gives to those out of work, unable to work, on low wagesLohnwages and so on.

    Certainly, the benefits system was complex, so it made sense to try to simplify it. In the new system, called Universal Credit, different benefits are allmeant to be paid together, rather thanund nichtrather than separately, and payments are made once a month, not once a week or fortnightzwei Wochenfortnight. And you have to wait five weeks for your first payment.

    It’s a classic just-too-late production method. In fact, it’s much too late; it’s been pushing many into debtSchuldendebt, or deeper into debt. Yet the official reaction hasn’t been sympatheticmitfühlend, verständnisvollsympathetic. The government clearly thinks we should all learn to manage our money monthly. Easier said than done when you haven’t much money to manage.

    The way Universal Credit has been introduced, with a delayVerzögerungdelay of five weeks until the first payment, was severelymassivseverely criticised in a report last year on poverty in the UK. UN representative Philip Alston to accusebeschuldigenaccused the British government of causing unnecessary financial difficulties for those on low incomes.

    When Theresa May became prime minister, she said she wanted to help people she called JAMs — those who were “just about managing”. Even though they have jobs, JAMs can only just to cope with sth.mit etw. klarkommencope with the cost of day-to-day living, and have little left over for luxuries. They manage to to make ends meetüber die Runden kommenmake ends meet, but their finances are fragilehier: schwachfragile.

    JAMs will in many cases be to affectbetreffenaffected by Universal Credit. Money they get to help with the cost of bringing up children, for example, is also set to become part of the scheme. Is this what Theresa May meant when she talked about trying to help? As for those who are nowhere near managing, they must feel there’s only one word to describe Universal Credit and its delayed payments: unjust.

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