The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) most controversial benefit looks shakier by the day. Now a campaigning trade union has launched an online survey, aiming to expose the reality of what Universal Credit is doing to people. And it’s your chance to have your say.
The DWP: the hot water is boiling
As The Canary has documented, Universal Credit is the DWP’s flagship policy; rolling six previous benefits into one. It’s been dogged by controversy and failings, leading for calls for it to be scrapped.
Most recently, the DWP has forked out £250,000 on an advertising campaign. It includes an advert in the Metro, which Disability News Service (DNS) called an attempt to “airbrush” the benefit’s many faults. On 31 May, people will be removing Metro papers from public transport in London as a protest over the advert.
Surveying for the truth
A trade union is now conducting its second nationwide survey of claimants. It’s organised by Unite Community, the membership scheme for people not in work. It held a similar survey last year, which had 1,141 responses. As Unite the Union wrote, the survey found that:
Many claimants reported the problems of monthly budgeting on a low income. Disabled people and those who are sick reported a huge drop in income…
The vast majority (82 per cent) have a negative view of the new benefit and a significant number had problems either claiming the benefit on-line or maintaining their claim through an on-line journal.
A day of action
Anyone who claims Universal Credit can complete the online survey here. It involves a number of questions about your experience of the benefit and will help Unite Community build a complete picture of the situation.
The campaigner “I was a JSA Claimant” is involved. He tweeted:
How you can help #STOPUniversalCredit?
Tell people on UC about this survey & join us on August 1st for a day of action across the UK to highlight the awful impact it has on holiday hunger.
Complete the survey: https://t.co/ZRz8iCahtF
— I was a JSA claimant (@imajsaclaimant) May 16, 2019
He told The Canary about Unite Community and the union’s Universal Credit day of action.
Unite Community is holding its day of action against Universal Credit on 1 August this year to highlight holiday hunger. Last year the stories that appeared in the papers were just dreadful. Children struggled to eat properly and many parents missed meals to feed their children. Our day of action will not stop that. But we can help to highlight these issues.
Our survey is different to last year. We hope that if enough people complete it we can get a good picture of how people are coping and what has changed. The findings will help Unite to focus its campaigning in the future.
Real lives. Real stories.
The survey gives an opportunity for real people to tell their very real stories. And the more people who respond, the better picture Unite Community can get of just what’s happening on the ground with Universal Credit. So, it’s time for you to get involved. Because the more evidence there is about the negative effects of this toxic benefit, the better.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.