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Bravo to John McDonnell for coming out and saying that a Labour government would kill Universal Credit before it could kill any more people than it already has.

The idea of combining the six main state benefits into a single payment may have looked good in theory, but in practice it has been a long, expensive disaster.

The plan to make it entirely computerised had to be shelved after a series of technical problems that pushed the budget through the roof. In the end, the rollout was only achieved by reverting to calculations using pen and paper.

Initial payments were delayed by six weeks for no reason, forcing claimants into starvation and rent arrears. Sensing a scandal, the Tories reluctantly agreed to bring payments forward – by just one week.

And then the Tories cut the budget, making it practically impossible for anybody receiving the benefit to make ends meet.

As it stands, Universal Credit is a deathtrap and Labour is right to call for its end.

The Conservatives have responded by saying that Labour does not have a viable replacement. But they are missing the point, which is this:

Any benefit system that a Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would install will be better than Universal Credit – because it will not be intended to push claimants off a benefit that is starving them into work that is so poorly-paid they may well be worse-off.

The government’s flagship welfare policy faces being scrapped by Labour because it is “just not sustainable”, the shadow chancellor has said.

John McDonnell said universal credit, which merges six working-age benefits into one payment, “will have to go”.

“I think we’re at that stage now that it’s not sustainable any more. It’s not a system that can work.

“It’s not a system that’s providing the safety net that people expect when they need support.

“I think we are moving to a position now where it is just not sustainable.

“It will have to go.

“I think we are moving towards a conclusion now that you can’t save the thing, it’s got to go.”

Source: Universal credit has to go, says John McDonnell – BBC News

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