The Azure payment card was introduced in November 2009 when once again the voucher system was deemed not fit for purpose.
People on Section 4 support have no access to cash and they are not allowed to work. Accommodation is provided and they receive £35.39 a week via a prepayment Azure card. The card can be used to buy food, essential toiletries, clothing and credit for mobile phones.
Single people with no dependents are not allowed to carry over more than £5 at the end of each week, and any excess money is removed from the card. Because of the unjust carryover limit, from November 2009 to December 2010, the estimated amount of unspent credit recovered from the Azure card during the first year of its operation was £650,000. The total value for 2011 to 2013, is around £100,000 every year.
That is money which is unclaimed and unused. It is just like taking food from the mouths of the hungry.
The House of Lords debated the Azure card on 20 November 2014 and the debate can be read here: Azure Card
Lord Roger Roberts writes … We must abolish the Azure card now: