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From: The Socialist issue 1000, 20 June 2018: Save our NHS

Search site for keywords: Universal Credit - Jobs - Benefits - Welfare - Claimants - Welfare rights

Universal Credit delivers claimant misery and will cost more than it saves

Claimants can wait six weeks to see any money at all, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)

Claimants can wait six weeks to see any money at all, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Fight for liveable benefits, real support and decent jobs

Karen Seymour, Mansfield Socialist Party

The government's flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit, has been well and truly savaged by the National Audit Office. It says the 1.9 billion scheme is a disaster for claimants, and will end up costing far more than it saves!

Rolling six working-age benefits into one, Universal Credit was sold as a way of making the system fairer. Its real aims are to slash spending on welfare, and to 'punish' those seen as not doing enough to find employment.

Evidence is mounting that Universal Credit causes real hardship through delays to payments, cuts to support, evictions and an even more inhumane sanctions regime, which will now pressure part-time workers to find more hours!

The National Audit Office says the government is never likely to know whether its aim of getting 200,000 more people into work will be realised.

In my view, as a welfare rights adviser, Universal Credit is deliberately designed to wear people down. Depression cases will rise even further among claimants as they desperately try to free themselves from a system dubbed the 'lobster pot'.

One claimant told the BBC: "It drove me to depression as I had never needed anything like that in the past. I felt helpless and worthless. It would appear to me that Universal Credit is designed to be very difficult and give people as little as possible."

The National Audit Office thinks there have been too many changes to job centres and working practices for Universal Credit to be scrapped. Rubbish! Stop it immediately, and replace with a system of liveable benefits and proper support to find employment, without compulsion.

Labour must call for this instead of bemoaning how bad the system is. There must also be an end to the persecution and demonisation of welfare claimants, who are victims of a capitalist regime only interested in looking after the 1%.

The Socialist Party fights to replace Universal Credit with liveable benefits, proper support to find work without compulsion and decent jobs with an immediate 10 an hour minimum wage.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

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