Socialist Party
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17 October 2018

Universal credit = universal misery

Tories in retreat...

Build a mass fightback to boot them out

Simon Carter

Hapless Prime Minister Theresa May, at the recent Tory party conference, threw a bone to the public by declaring 'the end of austerity is in sight'. If you're on the receiving end of Universal Credit (UC) it probably feels like you'll need to use the Hubble telescope!

This mean-minded, vindictive 'reform' is being rolled out across the country with the pledge that more benefit claimants will be better off. Yet researchers for Policy in Practice found that millions of households will have their benefits cut by an average of 52 a week - the difference between having a roof over your head or living on the streets. For disabled claimants the average loss rises to 76 a week.

Feeling the hot breath of public anger on their necks, the Tories have partially retreated by delaying its full roll-out and by cushioned 'transitional arrangements' - but they haven't yet scrapped it.

And for those already on UC, having to wait for up to five weeks or more for payment is forcing claimants into debt and despair. The biggest foodbank in the country reckons that 24% of the million plus people they help are there because of lengthy delays in UC payment.

Of course, this government (and previous ones) didn't delay in handing over billions and billions of pounds to the failed bankers to keep them luxuriating in their super-rich lifestyles.

And anyway, why is it that millions of working households are forced, cap in hand, to claim UC in the first place?

It's because of the universal blight of low pay and soaring rents. In other words, the public purse is being used to subsidise scrooge bosses and rip-off landlords.

To end this nonsense we need to boot out the Tories and make the tax-dodging companies pay up. And if they won't, then a Corbyn government should nationalise them.

There should also be rent cuts and rent controls reintroduced. A minimum wage of at least 10 an hour should be brought in. For those who still need them, benefits should be enough to live on without having to decide whether to eat or to heat the home on any day.