Chaos at the DWP as leaked comments set fire to Universal Credit

DWP and Universal Credit logos against a fireball
Support us and go ad-free

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was thrown into chaos on Saturday 6 October. What appeared to be leaked comments from government meetings show that Universal Credit is in meltdown. The DWP has refused to comment to The Canary. But is everything as it actually seems?

The DWP in meltdown?

As the Times first reported, the Conservative government has serious concerns over the rollout of Universal Credit. The controversial new benefit replaces six old ones (known as “legacy benefits“), with one payment. Currently, in what’s known as “live service”, Universal Credit has been rolled out in certain areas for new claims. Eventually, the DWP will move everyone onto “full service“, including those on legacy benefits. This process is due to start in 2019.

But now, the Times reports that work and pensions secretary Esther McVey has gone rogue. Kind of. She allegedly told “cabinet colleagues”:

that millions of families would lose £200 a month under the new system.

Ms McVey told cabinet colleagues that half of lone parents and about two thirds of working-age couples with children would lose the equivalent of £2,400 a year.

The Times said that the cabinet also discussed:

  • The scale of the cuts facing low-income families.
  • Fears that the new system, which involves one monthly payment, will cause cashflow problems for families.
  • The new system will force low-income families to pay back far more “benefit debts”, which under the old system they were able to ignore.

This is, if true, somewhat unprecedented. Because it now puts the Conservative Party at odds with the DWP itself.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Tory wars

On Friday 5 October the DWP spoke to The Canary in relation to food bank network The Trussell Trust’s damning report into Universal Credit. It said that:

Managed Migration extends the benefits of Universal Credit to legacy claimants, opening up work and ensuring that support reaches those who need it most – there are currently hundreds of thousands of people failing to claim £2.4bn of benefits because they are unaware of what they can receive, and Universal Credit will fix this.

The DWP’s notion that people will essentially be better off under Universal Credit is now somewhat at odds with McVey. The Canary asked it for its response, and was given a flat ‘no comment’.

Social media reacted accordingly:

As journalist Paul Lewis pointed out, McVey’s claims at the Conservative Party conference are in bits:

But is this leak to the Times really about Universal Credit? Or is it more the Tories running scared after the Labour Party conference?

Is this party political?

As the Guardian reported, Labour’s slick party political broadcast coupled with its social justice-led policies left the Conservative Party rattled. It’s because Labour is directly targeting low-income, working-class families; of which many may be affected by Universal Credit. As one senior Tory noted Labour’s offering was:

serious stuff… that may resonate with millions of workers…

So the cabinet’s and McVey’s leaked concerns over Universal Credit may well be a reaction to this. Could there be a Tory policy shift on the benefit to stave off Labour’s threat? Possibly – but if and when that will happen is unclear. Meanwhile, the DWP’s chaotic rollout of Universal Credit will continue. For now.

Get Involved!

– Support the blogs Universal Credit SuffererPolitics and Insights and The Poor Side of Life.

– Get involved with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via geralt – pixabay, UK government – Wikimedia and UK government – Wikimedia 

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed