The DWP is facing the wrath of thousands of people this week

The DWP logo and Universal Credit campaign badges
Steve Topple

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is facing the wrath of potentially thousands of people this week. And it could be thousands more, as up and down the country people will be venting their anger over its most contentious welfare shake-up.

The DWP: Unite has had enough

Universal Credit, the DWP’s flagship benefit which combines six means-tested benefits, has been dogged by controversy. From a damning National Audit Office report to increased food bank use and rent arrears, the benefit has been in chaos. Now, Unite the Union is taking action on a national scale.

It has organised a “Stop Universal Credit” day of protest. On Saturday 1 December, it and its sister organisation Unite Community will be holding demos around the country, raising awareness of just how bad the benefit is.

Unite gives ten reasons why the DWP must stop the Universal Credit roll out:

  • Unbearably long waits for claimants to receive money.
  • People can only apply for Universal Credit online making it inaccessible for many.
  • Not enough help for claimants when the system fails them.
  • Rent paid directly to claimants instead of Landlords causing people to get into arrears and even to lose their homes.
  • Letting agents are already refusing to rent to anyone claiming Universal Credit.
  • Cruel sanctions for both in-work and out-of-work claimants.
  • Payments only go to one named member of a household.
  • Universal Credit takes 63p in every £1 people earn.
  • Universal Credit leaves many working families much worse off than the old system.
  • People in part-time work could be forced to give up work that suits their disability or family life in order to take up worse paid full-time work or risk sanctions.
Stop it. Now.

Unite branches up and down the country are involved in the action:

Head of Unite Community Liane Groves told The Canary:

Unite is demanding that Universal Credit is scrapped – but until we get a Labour government that is committed to introducing a social security system that works, we demand that the DWP cut the long waits to receive money, allow people to apply in Jobcentres, not just online, more support for people when the system fails, allow landlords to be paid directly, an end to sanctions, and an end to money going to one named person in a household.

Broken beyond repair

As The Canary previously reported, Unite’s official position is to stop and scrap Universal Credit. But the Labour Party is still calling for the DWP simply to “fix” it, despite overwhelming evidence it is broken beyond repair. And this is despite UN special rapporteur Philip Alston slamming Universal Credit as “falling into Universal Discredit”. So Unite’s day of action couldn’t come at a better time. The more people who get involved, the better.

Featured image via Disabled People Against Cuts and UK government – Wikimedia 

Get involved

  • Join in Unite’s day of action.

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