This was more ‘dirty dealing’ than Dirty Dancing:
5.5 million families woke up £1040-a-year worse off as their universal credit was cut.
While they were sleeping, the secretary of state for work and pensions was doing karaoke. pic.twitter.com/8OSEN5lwNc
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) October 6, 2021
Yes, it’s true:
Therese Coffey seen dancing barefoot singing "I'm having the time of my life" at a Tory conference after-party whilst the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit officially came to an end.
You'd think it was a scene out of spitting image.
It's real life!!
— Jon Jones (@JonJonesSnr) October 7, 2021
Here’s a longer clip, if your ears can stand it:
Government Minister in charge of the largest welfare cut since 1921 celebrates her evening just as the welfare cuts came into effect. pic.twitter.com/Y5mi0xg8Mf
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) October 6, 2021
The move not only shows astonishing hypocrisy on the part of the Work and Pensions Secretary…
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal Teresa Coffey. Has claimed more than £201,000 in parliamentary expenses between 2019 and 2020. "While having the time of her Life" she cut the Universal Credit uplift of £20 to millions of people.
— Patricia and Kira 💎🐶😷 (@patricia_hamill) October 7, 2021
The politicians who are taking £20 a week from poor people get £25 a night food allowance when they stay outside of their constituencies for absolutely no reason. If we really can't afford to feed poor people, why the hell are we feeding wealthy MPs?
— RD Hale (@RD_HaIe) October 6, 2021
… it was also utterly illiterate in economic terms:
The maddest thing about the reduction in Universal Credit is it doesn’t even make sense on an economic level!That £20 gets spent in shops, cafes, playcentres, online & in high streets THAT WEEK! It doesn’t get squirrelled away & saved offshore or in high interest pension account
— Jason Manford (@JasonManford) October 6, 2021
And it's not like this demand-stifling Universal Credit cut even saves money that can be spent elsewhere.
It absolutely doesn't.
How many times do people have to be told that national finances simply don't work like household budgets?
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) October 6, 2021
Here's my Facebook infographic.
Feel free to save it to your device, and share it wherever you like.
I don't give a shit about copyright. pic.twitter.com/wPBf8DR7kT
— Another Angry Voice (@Angry_Voice) October 6, 2021
On a national level, the cut tells us much about the Conservative government’s priorities…
So we can afford to spend £44.6 billion a year on defence but we cannot afford to spend 6 billion to keep the £20.00 per week Universal Credit uplift to prevent the most vulnerable people being pushed into poverty.
— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) October 6, 2021
Today 4.4 million households will see their income reduced by £1,000.
1 million households will face a loss of over 10% of their annual income, the basic rate of benefits has now reached its lowest level since 1990.
This isn’t levelling up, it’s cruelty.
— The Left Wing Society (@LeftWingSociety) October 6, 2021
Why is it always, "We can't afford to feed poor people," and never, "We can't afford this nuclear submarine that could wipe out the entire world but will never be used"?
— RD Hale (@RD_HaIe) October 7, 2021
… but it is on a personal level that the cut will hit home – and this is what the Tories are hoping because it means those who won’t lose cash because of it won’t be bothered by it, and they probably won’t associate it with harm to the economy that will attack them too.
If anyone says politics doesn't matter, tell them about Sophie, a single mum from Coventry, and the cruelty of the Tories' cut to Universal Credit:
“I’m terrified. How am I going to feed my child this winter? How am I going to cope? I can’t stop crying."https://t.co/1tcLqrdBZF
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 6, 2021
Spokespeople from the Labour Party have spoken up against it…
Around 200,000 children will be plunged into poverty as a direct result of Boris Johnson's cut to Universal Credit.
Labour opposes the cut.
Here's why. 👇 pic.twitter.com/MzI01CXR7W
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) October 7, 2021
Wondering where the money for Universal Credit has gone? The Tories have given £3.5 billion to their donors and wasted billions more on unsafe, useless PPE.
Here’s a very simple idea – stop giving taxpayers’ money to your mates and stop cutting support for low-income families.
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) October 6, 2021
… too late to make any difference…
Sir Day-Late-And-A-Dollar-Short does it again!
The day the UC cut actually comes into force, he decides it's time to oppose it.
If this isn't performative, I really don't know what else it is.
Give me strength…. https://t.co/A3O5Q8bK2S
— CrémantCommunarde#TimeToBreakthrough 🕊️⚖️ 🟠🌤 (@0Calamity) October 6, 2021
… and in any case, Labour leader ‘Little Keir’ Starmer has apparently said he would not restore the uplift if elected into government:
Labour are refusing to pledge to restore the £20 weekly amount that the Tories have just cut from Universal Credit.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) October 6, 2021
Meanwhile the Tories and their allies in the media are building a false impression that the cut is a good thing…
Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Gyles Brandreth and Vanessa Feltz all guffawing and describing Tories dancing and doing karaoke as ‘epic’ and ‘glorious’ whilst people starve and lose £20 a week in universal credit
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) October 7, 2021
Nadine Dorries has voted to cut benefits 38 times.
Tory Nadine Dorries claims Universal Credit cut won't push ANYONE into povertyhttps://t.co/ZnKCsqaRSY
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) October 7, 2021
… even though the experts tell a different story:
Those who say Universal Credit cut will plunge thousands more into poverty:
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Child Poverty Action Group
Save The Children
Those who say it won't:
Sometimes it's hard to know who to believe
— Will Thorpe (@withorpe) October 7, 2021
Some Tories are saying other systems are in place to take the bite off the cut. Nadhim Zahawi has pointed to a £500 million fund available to local authorities…
Minister denies PM 'ignored' universal credit cut as he comes under pressure to offer alternative support https://t.co/sd3NvJc29o
— Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) October 7, 2021
… but councils are facing an economic squeeze of their own; the Tories aren’t giving them enough to run their services properly. In any case, the UC uplift cost around £4.5 billion per year – nine times as much as is on offer in the scheme Zahawi mentioned.
In the iNews article (link above), Tory backbencher Steve Baker says it would cost £10 billion to sort out all the problems created by his own government’s mishandling of UC.
And what of the prime minister?
Boris Johnson once described the quarter of a million pounds he received alongside his salary as an MP, writing a column for a Sunday newspaper, as “chicken feed”. Is that why he doesn’t seem to think the UC cut matters?
• Boris Johnson described his £250,000 a year second salary job as ‘chicken feed’.
• It’s the same as a week’s worth of Universal Credit Uplift for 12,500 families. pic.twitter.com/8gdAs3KTHB
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) October 7, 2021
The facts – for those of us who have to work in Johnson’s post-Brexit, passed-out Britain – are enormously different from his distorted viewpoint:
Time for a reality check!
A single parent working 3 days a week, 8 hours a day, on £10 an hour, would need to increase their earnings by a THIRD to offset the cut to Universal Credit (h/t @resfoundation)
If @BorisJohnson wants to raise wages by a third, bring it on!
— Frances O'Grady (@FrancesOGrady) October 6, 2021
He has certainly said he wants wages to rise. He just hasn’t said how he proposes to do it.
And there is a much easier way to raise the kind of cash needed to set UC at a rate that won’t plunge millions of people into poverty:
If we put a 10% Wealth Tax on those with over £100m, we would raise £69 BILLION.
Remember that every time Boris Johnson claims he has no choice but to cut Universal Credit and hike taxes on working people.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) October 7, 2021
Johnson won’t do it.
His entire plan – if he can be said to have had a plan at all – appears to be to bleed every last penny out of the UK’s working people and give it to the idle rich, who squirrel it away in offshore tax havens (see the Pandora Papers for details).
It seems the aim is to turn the nation into a zombie economy where working – and working-class – people are worked like slaves to service an ever-increasing national debt, while the super-rich members of his own class live it up on the profits and put nothing back.
Does it seem that way to you?