The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is under more pressure over its flagship benefit policy. Because an organisation with over five million members has now officially called for Universal Credit to be stopped and scrapped.
The DWP: five million workers speak
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) represents 48 unions in the UK. It held its annual conference between 9-12 September. During this, a motion was raised by the TUC Disabled Workers Conference which the full congress agreed with and adopted. It stated that:
Congress deplores the rollout of universal credit, a draconian system leaving many in debt, eviction and hunger.
The government is making further cuts by merging six benefits into universal credit, plus scrapping enhanced and severe disability premiums.
For the first time, workers could face savage sanctions for not demonstrating that they are seeking to improve their paid income…
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign around universal credit… and to call on the incoming Labour government to:
i. stop and scrap universal credit
ii. carry out a far-reaching social security reform that truly makes work pay and to protect those unable to work.
Labour looking isolated
The move from the TUC follows a similar motion passed by Unite the Union. It also called on Labour to pledge to scrap Universal Credit. But the Unite motion also made the same call for the party to make far-reaching welfare reform. Currently, Labour’s official line is ‘pause and fix’.
But this is now at odds with the two biggest union groups in the UK. Also, Labour’s position is contrary to some campaign groups. For example, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has repeatedly warned of the dangers of Universal Credit.
Writer and campaigner Charlotte Hughes sees the sharp end of Universal Credit every week, on the front line at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. She told The Canary:
Since its creation Universal Credit has been an unmitigated disaster. Or has it? Many campaigners and myself have concluded that all of the so called ‘issues’ and ‘problems’ regarding Universal Credit are not mistakes. They were created purposely, in order to put off or prevent vulnerable people from claiming it.
Universal Credit has caused, and will continue to cause, endless suffering for those that already claim it. The problems run too deep and are indeed impossible to fix due to their complexities; each one causing suffering and in some cases death. The only way to help those enduring the system would be to stop and scrap Universal Credit. It must be replaced with a much fairer system that isn’t riddled with the suffering of others.
With the Labour conference a matter of days away, the party is under pressure to commit to ‘stop and scrap’. So, it would do well to adopt this policy. Because in the face of vast negative evidence, supporting the broken Universal Credit system is quickly becoming an untenable position.
– Check out the #DWPcrimes, #ScrapUniversalCredit and #CrimesOfDWP hashtags on Twitter. Support the blogs Universal Credit Sufferer and The Poor Side of Life. Get involved with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.