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I used to work at the Department for Social Security, many years ago, and I have friends from those days who are what you may consider experts on developments in the benefit system since then.

They say the problems with the Department for Work and Pensions, which replaced it, was that it took too much of its ethos from the Employment Service and those parts of the Department of Education and Employment that were also merged into the new department.

Apparently these organisations did not understand that some people simply cannot be shoehorned into any old job that happens to be available – especially if they have long-term illnesses and/or disabilities; it simply wasn’t part of their culture.

My friends said there was no way to make the service work for benefit claimants with such conditions while it was administered by the DWP.

They insisted that the only way to provide a service that worked for the people, rather than against them, was to restore the DSS.

So it is hugely to Labour’s credit that it has announced a plan to scrap the DWP and bring back the DSS – and the decision to reveal this policy in the Chingford constituency of Iain Duncan Smith, architect of so much misery for sick and otherwise-vulnerable people, was a masterstroke.

Addressing a rally in Chingford and Woodford Green, the Labour leader will say: “It’s time to end this cruelty. So today I can tell you that Labour will scrap Universal Credit. And we will replace the Department for Work and Pensions with a Department for Social Security – this will provide real security.

[Source: Labour will scrap ‘inhumane’ Universal Credit, Corbyn vows – LabourList]

You don’t have to look far to find hundreds of stories of people suffering because of the unmitigated disaster of Universal Credit. Single-mum Lauren and her baby who went without food, or Kirsty who had to walk 13 miles to and from work because she couldn’t afford the bus fare, or Philip who tragically committed suicide earlier this year while waiting for a Universal Credit payment.

Over half of the people claiming Universal Credit are going without food and losing sleep over fears about their finances, according to Citizens Advice, and the demand for food banks has surged in areas where families have been relying on the Universal Credit system the longest. Some women are even taking up sex work to make ends meet.

The next Labour government will scrap Universal Credit and replace it with a social security system designed to end poverty, based on principles of dignity and universalism. The next Labour government will take action immediately and end the worst aspects of Universal Credit and abolish the two-child limit, which under the Tories is set to push up to 300,000 more children into poverty by 2024, and end the five-week wait.

Labour will abolish the five-week wait and introduce an interim payment after two weeks, based on half an estimated monthly entitlement.

Labour will immediately suspend the Tories’ punitive sanctions regime that has eroded trust in the social security system and people’s right to support. Instead, we’ll replace it with a new system that emphasises tailored support, rather than meting out rigid requirements and punishments when they are not met.

[Source: Universal Credit has destroyed people’s lives – it’s time to scrap it – LabourList]

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