On budget day 2018, here’s a quick reminder of Esther McVey‘s shocking thoughts about the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) controversial Universal Credit benefit.
When a journalist pointed out that there was “a lot of concern” about the benefit and asked if more money would be available in the budget, McVey said:
Well, we’ll have to see what the chancellor says in his budget speech today.
She smiled as she said this:
Budget 2018: Esther McVey questioned on Universal Credit https://t.co/kSyqWLeI8t
— dɯıɥɔɹnos (@sourchimp) October 29, 2018
But since she’s work and pensions secretary and head of the DWP, her curt response was unusual. Because McVey has very strong opinions about the ‘benefits’ of Universal Credit. Campaigner Rachel Swindon gave a timely reminder of McVey’s words just a few weeks ago at the Conservative Party conference.
Esther McVey: “If you believe everything you heard from Labour or read on social media you'd think we’re somehow letting down the most vulnerable in society, especially disabled people. However, those who say we are cutting budgets peddle fake news.”
Who believes this shit?
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) October 29, 2018
On 1 October, McVey really did say:
If you were to believe everything you heard from Labour or read on social media you’d think we were somehow letting down the most vulnerable in society. Especially disabled people.
However, those who say we are cutting budgets are peddling fake news.
So here’s the real news – we have never spent more on those with disabilities and long-term health conditions.
McVey’s comments, especially in relation to disabled people are callous, at best. The situation is so bad that the UN said successive Conservative-led governments had committed “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. And as The Canary has frequently reported, the impact of Universal Credit is devastating.
Meanwhile, the Independent reported that Universal Credit is “fatally undermined by the Tories’ other brutal welfare cuts”. Deven Ghelani, a former DWP advisor and architect of the policy, explained:
You can’t balance the books on the backs of the poorest people in the country, if you are going to make a reform like universal credit work.
As the Independent stated: the “misery” is an:
inevitable knock-on from £12bn of “salami-sliced cuts”, including the benefit freeze, the benefit cap, the “bedroom tax” and curbs to council tax support
The Labour Party is, however, challenging the policy. On 28 October, shadow chancellor John McDonnell called out the government’s “callous complacency” about Universal Credit. McDonnell has called on MPs to “vote against this budget” if it’s not halted.
I am calling on other parties and members of other parties in Parliament to vote down the budget if the Chancellor refuses to halt the roll out of universal credit pic.twitter.com/oIo4xb9zev
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) October 28, 2018
Far from fake news, this sounds like the best thing anyone has ever said about the policy.
Let’s hope that it’s finally time up for the DWP, McVey, and the cruel chaos of Universal Credit.
– Read more from The Canary on Universal Credit.
– Support us so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via screengrab/YouTube
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?