Everyone should understand: The Tories will continue pushing their flawed Universal Credit BECAUSE it harms the poor

Gurtac Swali, a single dad who says Universal Credit has sent him into arrears and made him ill [Image: Manchester Evening News].

Charlotte Hughes’ true stories of the effect of Universal Credit can be read on her website, The Poor Side of Life. It makes grim reading but should leave nobody with any illusions.

We all know the arguments about UC. The so-called “benefit” has been plagued with problems ever since it was first announced – and has plagued the vulnerable as a result.

But a succession of Tory Work and Pensions secretaries have refused to address those problems in any meaningful way. Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb, Damian Green and now David Gauke have all promised to tinker around the edges without tackling the fundamental flaws that are built into the system as they have devised it.

They have devised it to push people towards suicide.

The reason is clear: If a person takes their own life, the Conservatives can claim it is nothing to do with them – the standard comment is that “there are many contributing factors towards suicide” – and revel in the benefit saving from the demise of another “useless eater”.

The simple fact is that Universal Credit will never help anybody while it is being administered by a Conservative government.

That is why the best way forward is a pause – until a Labour government can take over and consider the situation.

This Writer does not agree with Labour that UC can be saved. I think the concept is fundamentally flawed because it is demonstrably possible for a punitive government like that of the Tories to use it as a punishment for being poor, rather than an aid towards prosperity. Labour needs to accept this.

While campaigners should certainly continue making their case to the current government, I think it is also time they put forward a persuasive argument to the next one.

Evictions, homelessness, debt and even suicide will all rise if the government’s ‘chaotic’ Universal Credit roll-out continues, ministers have been warned.

In Greater Manchester, critics have said the system could devastate lives in the area.

In a dire message to Whitehall, public sector bosses, advice services and a string of MPs have all demanded an immediate halt to the policy in their area – insisting it will send some of the country’s poorest people into a downward spiral.

Charities have dubbed it a ‘universal catastrophe’, while claimants say it has made them sick with stress.

Experts have repeatedly highlighted a catalogue of problems with the system, including a minimum six-week wait for payments to be processed, which has pushed thousands of people into arrears or debt – as well as a confusing online application system, lost documentation and repeated administrative errors.

Campaigners have also staged ongoing protests outside Ashton[-under-Lyne]’s JobCentre for the last four years, warning Universal Credit claimants are being forced to rely on food parcels – and are three times more likely to face sanctions than those on Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Campaign leader Charlotte Hughes, who has been compiling a dossier of horror stories on the benefit, said: “Universal Credit is hell on earth.”

Source: ‘Chaotic’ roll out of Universal Credit benefit scheme will ’cause evictions, homelessness, spiralling debt and even suicide’


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5 thoughts on “Everyone should understand: The Tories will continue pushing their flawed Universal Credit BECAUSE it harms the poor

  1. Barry Durrans

    I’m in this exact situation. 3 months behind on rent, bailiffs at the door for council tax. I was on a zero hour contract and promised 30 hrs a week. Got 9 in one month. Applied for UC and they turned down my claim as I was expecting 30 hours a week and therefore earn too much money.

    I’ve been waiting 2 weeks and still have another 4 weeks before I get my first payment. I got an advance of £300, which went straight away on my bills and left with with £30 for 4 weeks. Had handouts of food from friends, asking family for the odd tenner for electricity and have to start paying the advance at £50 a month out of my £316 I’m due in 4 weeks. I’ve gone a few days without food, which I never thought I would ever have to do in my entire life.

    It’s social cleansing at it’s best.

  2. chriskitcher

    Typical of rich Tory bast*rds not to understand how the power and vulnerable are expected to survive. They of course never have had to hope survive from week to week.

  3. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    As of June 2015, the total lifetime cost of the Universal Credit welfare reform programme is £15.8bn, according to figures from the government’s Major Projects Authority (MPA). The Tories won’t be ditching their ‘money pit’ anytime soon.

    The Work and Pensions Select Committee lacks statutory powers. I’m going to publicly call for the DWP to be regulated by a watchdog. A Private Members Bill (PMB) could help facilitate this, by eliciting discussion of reigning in this rogue department, which is ‘gravely and systematically’ violating human rights, according to the UN. I’m well aware that all Select Committees are devoid of statutory powers and that Private Members Bills have virtually no chance of passing. But it will provoke discussion and that alone is worthwhile

  4. marcusdemowbray

    The problem is that it is a policy the Tories have taken to heart and have now spent an astonishing amount of money, masses of failed IT, massive delays, massively over-budget, massively criticised by National Audit Office and Commons Public Accounts Committee. Having defended UC SO often against criticism, having endlessly given and wasted fortunes, they cannot now back down and admit that it is the failure that was predicted all long. Just like Brexit really, Pride cometh before a fall.

Comments are closed.