Yes, it’s another u-turn by Theresa May, meaning the rollout of the fatally-flawed Universal Credit will continue after all.
Prime minister (God help us!) Theresa May told Andrew Marr she wouldn’t stop victimising the vulnerable in her interview on his BBC show yesterday (October 1).
She said: “This is an important change to the benefits system so I think it is important that we do roll it out but we are looking at the specific issues that are being raised by people about that implementation.”
That’s right – the Tories are looking at those issues. There is no indication that they will do anything at all about them.
She said: “We need to roll out Universal Credit. What we also need to do is to ensure that we are addressing the specific issues that are being raised by people.”
Okay – here are a few of those issues, raised by Nick Dilworth on Twitter:
— Nick (@Mylegalforum) September 30, 2017
“Up to now the claimants have been the much less complicated JSA type cases but my key concerns are on the Full Service rollout. It will adversely impact upon:
“Workers, due to the much less generous awards because of the reduced 63 per cent taper and fewer claimants qualifying for the work allowance.
“Those who have considerable limitations healthwise, but not to the extent that they are sufficiently seriously disabled to qualify for enhanced benefits.
“The withdrawal of the existing severe disability premium.
“People having to wait for up to 12 weeks for a first payment, with a knock-on effect on rent arrears.
“The uncertainty over mortgage help from April 2018 and the DWP proposing a system of loans to replace the current mortgage interest help.
“The expectation towards finding full-time employment and whether there really are enough jobs in the locality to meet it.
“Processing errors causing monthly misery until payments are correctly reconciled from one monthly payment to the next.
“Child poverty increasing under the new two-child rule and all the problems this will bring.
“The digital expectation without sufficient support.
“Whether the online claim process will flag up and recognise the more vulnerable claimants from the very first point of contact.”
Mr Dilworth’s concerns coincide with those raised by shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams, who wrote, in response to Mrs May’s interview:
“More empty words will do nothing for those being pushed into poverty by the Government’s flagship social security programme.
“The six week wait for payment of Universal Credit is a punitive policy introduced by this Government, it can be changed.
“I wrote to the Secretary of State calling for a pause to Universal Credit roll out weeks ago, and yet nothing has been done.
“Months have passed since Mrs May claimed she would help those struggling to get by. We are yet to see anything that amounts to action to support the 13 million people living in poverty in the UK.”
She added, on Twitter:
May prepared 4 more ppl 2 get into debt & risk being made homeless rather than #PAUSEUniversalcredit roll out. BTW it does NOT make work pay
— Debbie Abrahams MP (@Debbie_abrahams) October 1, 2017
But these concerns seem unlikely to be answered.
Still, there does seem to be a brighter side, even though you have to work very hard to see it. According to Joe Halewood, who writes very powerfully on the subject of housing benefit:
I like the balance of Universal Credit – The more it affects the more it it shown to be failure
— Joe Halewood HSM (@SpeyeJoe) October 1, 2017
Yes indeed. You have to work very hard to see that brighter side.
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