The Labour Party has indicated that it’s looking at scrapping the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) most hated benefit – Universal Credit.
Although the party hasn’t offically committed to scrapping it yet, it’s looking at discussing the proposal at conference. Any decision can’t come soon enough. Scrapping it is exactly what campaigners have been demanding happen for years.
Universal Credit combines six benefits into one and has caused misery for people. This list from Unite the Union sets out some of the problems with the benefit:
1. Unbearably long waits for claimants to receive money
2. People can only apply for Universal Credit online making it inaccessible for many
3. Not enough help for claimants when the system fails them
4. Rent paid directly to claimants instead of Landlords causing people to get into arrears and even to lose their homes
5. Letting agents are already refusing to rent to anyone claiming Universal Credit
6. Cruel sanctions for both in-work and out-of-work claimants
7. Payments only go to one named member of a household
8. Universal Credit takes 63p in every £1 people earn
9. Universal Credit leaves many working families much worse off than the old system
10. People in part-time work could be forced to give up work that suits their disability or family life in order to take up worse paid full-time work or risk sanctions.
According to the Trussell Trust, foodbanks have seen an average of a “52% increase in demand” for help where Universal Credit is well established:
On average, 12 months after roll-out, food banks see a 52% increase in demand, compared to 13% in areas with Universal Credit for 3 months or less.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that a review from the Labour Party found the benefit “toxic”, needing “transformative change”. According to the Mirror, “party sources” are now saying that the benefit needs to go. One stated:
It is clear that Universal Credit is not working. We need a social security system that provides holistic support from cradle to grave.
Feelings on Universal Credit are running so high that a jobcentre in Merseyside was recently graffitied. As the Liverpool Echo reported, the message “Scrap UC” and “We will not submit” was emblazoned on the side of the office in Bootle.
The benefit is so toxic that people are forced to these measures to speak out about what’s happening. If the Labour Party is finally talking about scrapping the benefit, then it’s about time. And if it wants to go into the next general election from a position of strength, these are exactly the type of policies it needs to adopt.
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?