The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is in for a stormy weekend. Because it’s going to be under yet more fire over its most controversial benefit reform. And then there’s the Labour Party conference, which may just throw a spanner in the works for the department’s plans.
The DWP: enough is enough
As The Canary has documented, Universal Credit is the DWP’s flagship policy, rolling six previous benefits into one. It’s been dogged by scandal and failings, leading to calls for it to be scrapped. Most recently, the DWP revealed that it’s now reviewing the deaths of claimants who were on the benefit.
For many people, enough is now enough. Once again, they’ll be taking to Twitter to express their anger over the DWP and Universal Credit. On Saturday 22 September from 7pm people can tell the world about life on Universal Credit using the hashtag #ScrapUniversalCredit. Some have already been doing just that:
This is how DWP treats a 'vulnerable' UC claimant. This claimant died, which led to an DWP internal review. https://t.co/lptUiJYFgq#ScrapUniversalCredit @Dis_PPL_Protest @MarshadeCordova @johnmcdonnellMP @blacktriangle1 @johnpringdns @SNewtonUK pic.twitter.com/irB1tpEMwY
— Anita Bellows (@AnitaBellows12) September 21, 2018
— RogueOne ? (@Maria_St72) September 21, 2018
Tory DWP are after our money , our homes & our lives. UC is a tortuous process & with the threat of Local Authority cuts looming it will get a whole lot worse The Tory economy is based on debt & austerity there is no hope while they are in power! #GTTO #ScrapUniversalCredit
— #JC4PM ?? #GTTO #SocSocM Ⓥ (@ppp_left) September 21, 2018
Labour: time for a shift?
The organiser of the Twitterstorm is writer and claimant Alex Tiffin. But he has another reason for setting it up:
Saturday at 7pm
Let #LabourConference delegates know that "pause & fix" is unacceptable when it comes to Universal Credit.
They can change that by backing a motion to change the policy. ⏳#LAB18
— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) September 21, 2018
People can add the hashtags #LabourConference and #Lab18 to the #ScrapUniversalCredit one. The idea is to put pressure on Labour’s conference delegates to vote to make ‘stop and scrap’ its official policy.
Both Unite the Union and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have made ‘stop and scrap’ their official stance. But so far, Labour’s position has remained one of ‘pause and fix’. This includes public statements from the likes of Sadiq Khan.
Labour’s position is at odds not only with Unite’s and the TUC’s but also with some campaign groups. For example, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has often warned of the dangers of Universal Credit, as has BENEFITS NEWS.
But as The Canary previously wrote, things could change at the conference. At least eight motions on Universal Credit are up for debate; meaning the party could pass a ‘stop and scrap’ policy. So it’s crucial that delegates know just how many people feel the party should end Universal Credit, once and for all.
Scrap it. Now.
As Tiffin told The Canary:
Labour have been pretty silent despite unions and charities calling for it to be scrapped. We’ve had #DWPCrimes and it showed just how much discontent there is for Universal Credit.
With Labour having a real chance at government even non-Labour supporters should join in, as it will affect them too. We need to let the delegates know that the current ‘pause and fix’ policy is unacceptable. Hopefully we can raise awareness so they back a motion to scrap it.
They hold the future treatment of welfare claimants in their votes.
So, if you’re on Universal Credit, use the Twitterstorm to make your voice heard. It’s time to tell the world what it’s really like. But also, use your voice to tell the Labour Party why the benefit needs to go. You could just be influencing the policy of the next government.
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