DWP boss ‘lies’ about Universal Credit cut live on TV

The DWP and Universal Credit logos with Therese Coffey
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Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) boss Thérèse Coffey sparked anger on Monday 13 September after appearing on BBC Breakfast. She was talking about the Tories’ £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, and one of her comments stood out. That’s because people accused her of either lying or not understanding the social security system.

Universal Credit chaos

As The Canary previously reported, in April 2020 the DWP increased Universal Credit by £20 a week. This was due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But chancellor Rishi Sunak and the DWP only made the increase temporary. From 6 October, the Tories will cut £20 a week from Universal Credit claimants.

This cut will hit various people hard, including 660,000 low-paid key workers, 3.4 million children, and six out of ten lone parent families. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) warned that:

Half a million more people are set to be pulled into poverty, including 200,000 children.

But so far, the DWP has refused to budge. Most recently, as The Canary reported, even the government’s own analysis shows that homelessness, poverty, and foodbank use will all rise because of the cut. Yet on 13 September, Coffey was still defending the indefensible.

Coffey: defending the indefensible

She was on BBC Breakfast essentially telling those affected by the cut to work more. She said:

£20 a week is about two hours extra work every week. We’ll be seeing what we can do to help people perhaps secure those extra hours.

Read on...

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Coffey then rambled about the £20 a week being a “temporary uplift”. So suck it up, poor people:

Coffey left social media users unimpressed.

Lies? Or just clueless?

Several people accused her of lying. And one Labour politician summed up why. As Trafford councillor James Wright explained:

Wright was not the only person who spotted this. Torsten Bell from think tank the Resolution Foundation put the number of hours even higher. He said if someone was on the National Living Wage (NLW) they’d have to work nine extra hours a week to make up for the £20 cut:

And it’s true for many claimants. As the DWP notes, Universal Credit has Work Allowances built in:

A work allowance is the amount that you can earn before your Universal Credit payment is affected.

The monthly work allowances are set at:

£293 If your Universal Credit includes housing support

£515 If you do not receive housing support.

The DWP says:

for every £1 you earn over your work allowance (if you are eligible for one) your Universal Credit will be reduced by 63p.

This is what Wright, Bell and others were talking about. So, either Coffey was lying, or she forgot about her own social security rules.

DWP: conscious cruelty

DWP work allowances and deductions won’t affect some people. For example, people who are not working and who the DWP says don’t have to carry out or look for work. Often these are chronically ill and disabled people. So for them, they have no way of even starting to make up the loss of the £20 a week cut. None of this includes people on other social security like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The DWP didn’t give them any more money in the first place.

Despite all evidence for the awful position in which the Universal Credit cut will put countless people, the DWP and Tories look set to go ahead with it. This is also despite the original £20 uplift itself being inadequate to begin with. Moreover, when former DWP boss Iain Duncan Smith began launching Universal Credit in 2010, he shouted about how it means:

it will always pay for you to take a job.

The fact that people will have to work up to nine hours to make up a loss of £20 shows what a nonsense this was.

The Tories’ cut can only be called conscious cruelty, and a looming disaster, for potentially millions of people.

Featured image via VideoBlogg Productions/The Canary, Wikimedia and Sky News – YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. DWP boss ‘lies’ about Universal Credit cut live on TV

      Come on Tory party member in LONDON this Minister wants sacking for lying to us public + voters live on T.V. BBC NEW on
      the Tory SCAM U-Credit poverty rigged benefits.
      The point below are for Tory M.P.+ Minister + Boris ONLY
      Has they invented this benefit SCAM U-Credit payment.
      MY POINT below Boris needs to address now.

      P-1 Are all you Tory members willing to take a wage cut to fix this mess of £20.00 fact we taxpayer pay your wages yes or no?

      P-2 Remembering this True, FACT Tory party members in LONDON your party started this mess off in the first place.

      P-3 Is this claw back of benefit money so you can pay benefits for the Afghan Refugees replacement yes or no? which again is a mess of Tory party making Not we British benefit claimants that work on low incomes in the U.K. local areas and needs this cash.
      Concluding to all voters Tory & none Tory voters.
      In U.K. Wales-N-Ireland -Scotland as well.

      We voter next year vote for Tory Cllr to keep their local area jobs
      You could show Boris plus his Minister in LONDON you discontent at you having cuts to your personal income you that work for low paid work to feed A-Refugees in your local area why is Tory Govt NOT keeping them in LONDON were all the cash is and rich funder of Tory party business -people that can feed them.
      Tory party STOP screwing us British public out of our incomes.

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