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Innocent: A nine-year-old girl (not the one in the picture) contacted a charity and begged for work to alleviate the destitution inflicted on her family by the Tories’ Universal Credit policy.

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: We believe the girl, obviously. Mrs May and Ms McVey are both habitual liars.

Once again Humanity Torbay is in the news, exposing the Conservative government’s fake “benefit” – Universal Credit – for the charade it really is.

Last time, the charity’s boss, Ellie Waugh, spoke out against the gagging order imposed by Theresa May and her cronies on organisations like hers, threatening to de-fund them if they criticised the imposition of Universal Credit.

This time Ms Waugh highlighted the harm being done to families across the country – by raising the case of a nine-year-old girl who begged to be allowed into employment after her mother died and her father, on Universal Credit, was unable to find work himself.

The Daily Mirror had the story:

“A girl of nine begged for work to feed her family after ­Universal Credit left her jobless dad skint.

“In a heartbreaking phone call, she told how her mum had died and there was barely any food at home.

“She said: “I’ll do anything. I don’t mind cleaning floors, making beds.”

“The desperate nine-year-old girl revealed her mum had died, her dad lost his job and they were going hungry as delays in his Universal Credit had plunged them into poverty.

“The phone call exposed the harsh reality of life on the hated Universal Credit, which the stubborn Tories refuse to axe despite the obvious ­hardship it is causing.

“Five weeks ago, the girl’s HGV driver dad was made redundant but is still waiting for his first benefit payment to clear.

“He was raising the three children alone in the Torbay area of Devon after his wife died four years ago. The girl contacted Humanity Torbay, which provides food banks and support for the vulnerable.

“CEO Ellie reassured the brave child she would not have to work. She called her dad, who wants to remain nameless, and promised food and support.”

The Department for Work and Pensions responded with the usual flannel, this time about the extra money promised for UC in the Budget – cash that will do nothing to alleviate the suffering that is built into the way the harsh policy works.

My fear is that some will have heard the story and started salivating at the thought of reimposing child labour. They’ll see it as a cheap alternative – and Tories see no profit in educating the poor.

Condemnation has been widespread:

And the Universal Credit horror stories are starting to come into the light thick and fast now:

A Norfolk woman is on a week-long hunger strike in protest against Universal Credit and the deaths of the homeless.

Universal Credit is being blamed for the huge increase in food bank use in Birmingham – and elsewhere across the UK.

There will be more stories today, tomorrow, and in the future as long as this atrocity of a policy is in force.

Ms Waugh has asked Theresa May and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey to visit Humanity Torbay and see the human cost for themselves.

They haven’t agreed to attend yet – and what good will come of it if they do?

Ms McVey lied bare-faced to Parliament on Monday and Mrs May has ordered others to lie, to save herself and her government from embarrassment and criticism.

But something has to be done and if these people fear being shamed by the facts, then let’s provide as many as we can.

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