Universal Credit helpline announcement is another silly Tory trick

David Gauke announcing the u-turn to the Work and Pensions committee.

They must think we are all really stupid.

Here’s David Gauke:

That’s right – the Universal Credit helpline will be a freephone line by the end of the year.

And the reason this is happening is concern that has been raised over the last week. In other words, this is happening because the Tories got caught charging the poor a fortune for help.

Here’s the Mirror:

Tory David Gauke has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn on the Tories’ 55p a minute Universal Credit helpline.

The Work and Pensions secretary bowed to public pressure and revealed this morning that all DWP phone lines will be made free within three months.

It comes a week after Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Prime Minister after it emerged the DWP charged claimants struggling with the bungled rollout of the benefits shake-up up to 55p a minute.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backbench rebellion on the rollout [of Universal Credit], which the Citizens Advice Bureau [has] branded a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Around 25 Tory MPs are understood to be ready to rebel in an opposition vote on Universal Credit later today.

The motion calls for the rollout to be halted until the failings in the system can be ironed out.

While the vote is non-binding, it would be an embarrassing defeat for the government.

Yes indeed – isn’t the timing interesting?

The announcement comes just before Prime Minister’s Questions, pre-empting any further attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise on the issue.

It also comes right before an Opposition Day debate in which Labour is calling for a halt to the UC rollout, in order to fix the problems.

A significant number of Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against their own government on the issue, and Labour has called on concerned Tories to support the motion, but now – well, look at this:

It would be typical of Heidi Allen if this is what happens. She is a serial complainer who raises serious issues, gets her face in the papers, then votes with her masters like a good little poodle. We can hope this is not the case with Universal Credit, but not with any confidence.

This Writer stated that we could expect an announcement of some kind, but that it would not amount to much. I pointed out: “Any such concessions are likely to be symbolic only, and unlikely to end the agony for people already consigned to the UC scrapheap. “Now we have seen it.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has made it clear that the excruciating at-least-six-week wait before anybody is paid Universal Credit will not be abolishedTories like to make the poor suffer.

But if the Tories thought they would win any brownie points for their u-turn today, they are mistaken. Labour is taking all the credit because Labour revealed the cost of the helpline last week. See:

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5 thoughts on “Universal Credit helpline announcement is another silly Tory trick

  1. marcusdemowbray

    OK, so the helpline might be free in days, weeks or months. Perhaps they WILL make money available sooner. However, that is nowhere near enough. It is clear that UC has been a disaster since the beginning: a “Grand/Vanity Scheme” devised by IDS, massively over-budget, massively delayed, subject to countless Enquiries by National Audit Office and Commons Public Accounts Committees, £millions wasted on duff IT, and all manner of other problems, suggesting that the “Grand Idea” itself is fundamentally flawed. It’s a Bureaucrat’s Wet Dream but in practice humans have too many variables and cannot have all their problems and needs addressed by a single “Grand Scheme”. The fact that the Tories are happy to debate the delays and phone charges seems to me to be a dishonest move, deflecting attention away from the fact that the whole scheme itself is fundamentally flawed, cruel, inflexible and brutal.

  2. hugosmum70

    no matter how many U turns they do/perform whatever the word is, it wont get them any Kudos/Brownie points/ etc no one will ever love them again/ they’ve written their will, and provided every nail for their coffins. no going back…. at the cenotaph memorial service we say..”WE WILL REMEMBER THEM” BECAUSE OF THEIR ULTIMATE GIFT TO THIS COUNTRY… THEIR LIVES. to the conservative party we say also WE WILL REMEMBER YOU… but not for anything good. only evil and their part in the deaths of so many people… and in 3 months how much money can they accumulate from that 55p phone charge before it goes free? should never have been charged in the first place

  3. Dez

    Just reinforces what a useless lot these Cons and their civil servants are and how far from reality they really sit. This ridiculous charge for those on benefits to seek help or clarification has been in place for a long time yet only now after being challenged do they see the error of their thinking process. From their point of view they see a phone charge being a reason to prevent a call from a poor benefit claimant because of hanging on and being overcharged. By reducing the calls they would not need so many call line resources and save double whammy and really wind up the callers big time. Any one with a ounce of common sense would see instantly this call charge was a total nonsense however the nasty party would only see this charge as a great wheeze to get at plebs needing humane help. Get thee hence Con reptiles.

  4. Dan

    I think the devil may be in the detail with this one, and the small print will need careful scrutiny. Is it going to be a genuinely freephone number for everyone, or just for those calling from traditional (and increasingly rare) BT landlines? What’s the betting that you’ll still get ripped off for calling from a PAYG mobile? You just can’t trust the Tories – or the DWP.

  5. Stu

    Another pointless promise on an issue that should never have existed in the first place.
    It will of course be conditional and worthless.
    Laughing at the poor again but also making a mockery of MP’s and Parliament by allowing a debate on UC then deliberately ignoring it.

    MSM arrogantly and blatantly avoided reporting the Labour 299-0 victory whilst taxpayers foot the bill for hotels, taxis and expensive meals for the MP’s for what ?

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