The Socialist 11 July 2018 |
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Minister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit
We are the 99% - Take the wealth off the 1% Socialist Party placard, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Karen Seymour, Mansfield Socialist Party
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey arrogantly refuses to step down, after admitting to "inadvertently" misleading MPs about problems with the already unpopular 'universal credit' welfare restructure.
The head of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, was forced to write an open letter outlining his concerns about universal credit, effectively accusing her of lying. Universal credit rolls six working-age benefits into one, supposedly to simplify the system - but in reality, it's about slashing the welfare bill.
Far from stating that the progress of the rollout should be accelerated, as McVey claimed, Morse actually said it should be paused until its many problems were addressed!
The Department for Work and Pensions' own survey shows 40% of universal credit claimants are experiencing financial difficulty because of it.
A significant number face eviction and homelessness. Food bank use has rocketed across the country. This policy is deliberately designed to wear working class people down, whether we are in work or not.
Labour's work and pensions spokesperson, Margaret Greenwood, has rightly called for McVey to be sacked. But Labour should also be calling for universal credit to be scrapped and replaced with a proper welfare safety net, living benefits without compulsion, and support to get people into work if that's what they want.
This could easily be paid for if the biggest companies, notorious for tax dodging, went into public ownership - and the super-rich faced proper, progressive taxes.
Esther McVey will not be pushed into poverty for the serious matter of misleading parliament, even if she does lose her ministerial job. But under the brutal sanctions regime, you can have your money reduced or stopped completely for such heinous offences as being three minutes late for a jobcentre interview!
As well as a mass programme of job creation and a humane benefits system, we need an immediate £10 an hour minimum wage without exemptions, and an end to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy which particularly exploit young people.
And as well as sacking McVey, we need this whole rotten government out!