The DWP had a pretty awful Saturday night

The DWP logo and a man holding his face
Steve Topple

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) bosses were hopefully watching Strictly on Saturday 22 September. Because if they were on Twitter instead, they would have got an unpleasant surprise.

The DWP: no rest for the literally wicked

After three previous Twitterstorms highlighting the impact of DWP policies, there was another on Saturday. People used #ScrapUniversalCredit, #StopAndScrap, and #StopAndScrapUniversalCredit to draw attention to Universal Credit, the DWP’s controversial new benefit:

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Meanwhile…

But people also used the Twitterstorm to lobby the Labour Party. This is because they want it to follow the lead of some campaign groups and trade unions and commit to scrapping Universal Credit. Currently, there may be a chance Labour will vote to do this at its conference.

So people used the Twitterstorm to tell Labour why its current stance of ‘pause and fix’ isn’t good enough:

The Canary asked five prominent writers, campaigners and claimants to give their message to Labour.

The very real human cost of Universal Credit

The campaigner I was a JSA claimant has been at the forefront of welfare rights for several years. He told The Canary:

Many people cite the cost of implementing Universal Credit as a reason to keep it. But the human cost has already shown itself to be much worse.

That is why we are calling for Labour to support #ScrapUniversalCredit. No other benefit has caused so much damage.

Writer and campaigner Charlotte Hughes documents people’s experiences of the DWP via her website The Poor Side of Life. She told The Canary:

Universal Credit needs to be stopped and scrapped because its unfixable. Suffering is inherent to its design; it causes untold misery and countless deaths.

It is the dismantling of our welfare state and we cannot allow this to happen. So we need Labour delegates to vote to stop and scrap – there’s no other option.

Serious harm

The campaign group BENEFITS NEWS, which is a vocal welfare rights voice, told The Canary:

It is critical Labour pledges to scrap Universal Credit. It can’t be fixed because the legislation already reached Royal Assent and is in situ.

Labour can’t ignore the urgency of the matter. Scrap it now – the ‘managed migration’ must NOT go ahead!

Paula Peters is one of the most prominent disability rights activists in the UK. She told The Canary:

Universal Credit is causing serious harm and distress. The DWP have admitted that claimants have died whilst claiming Universal Credit.

It needs to be stopped and scrapped. Labour now need to listen to us and act.

Also, Alex Tiffin, the writer behind the website Universal Credit Sufferer, told The Canary:

If Labour truly want to be for the many they must commit to looking after them. There’s so much evidence that Universal Credit is flawed by design – scrapping it is the only option.

Failure to listen to the now clear consensus could mean losing loyal voters. The long term social gains far outweigh the short term cost.

Stop and scrap

So, people will have to wait to see if Labour moves on Universal Credit. But regardless of what it does, claimants’ and campaigners’ strength will ensure the DWP doesn’t get any peace; not even on a Saturday night.

Get Involved!

– Support the blogs Universal Credit Sufferer and The Poor Side of Life. Also, follow I was a JSA claimant, BENEFITS NEWS and Paula Peters on Twitter. Get involved with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via Johnny Magnusson – Free Stock Photos and UK government – Wikimedia 

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Steve Topple