Uni­ver­sal credit blasted as the out­rage mounts

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY BEN GLAZE Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor and MIKEY SMITH Po­lit­i­cal Re­porter ben.glaze@mir­ror.co.uk

CAM­PAIGN­ERS, union lead­ers and politi­cians have backed calls for the Govern­ment to halt the na­tional roll­out of uni­ver­sal credit.

The dis­as­trous wel­fare shake-up is set to clob­ber mil­lions of hard-up fam­i­lies.

Writ­ing for the Mir­ror, Labour’s most pow­er­ful elected politi­cian, Lon­don’s mayor Sadiq Khan, called UC “flawed, cruel and harm­ful”.

The leader of Bri­tain’s big­gest trade union also backed the Mir­ror’s Stop the Uni­ver­sal Credit Cru­elty cam­paign.

Unite gen­eral sec­re­tary Len McCluskey said: “We need an ur­gent con­ver­sa­tion about how work is made to pay so peo­ple can live in dig­nity... not pun­ished by the De­part­ment for Work and Pen­sions and pressed into pau­perism.

“We need fair wel­fare to sup­port peo­ple, es­pe­cially the vul­ner­a­ble, through times of need.

“Ev­ery right-think­ing per­son in the coun­try should now unite be­hind the Mir­ror’s cam­paign to stop this car crash of a ben­e­fit. Scrap uni­ver­sal credit now.”

Of­fi­cials rep­re­sent­ing some of the poor­est in so­ci­ety have also piled pres­sure on min­is­ters by urg­ing them to think again be­fore the over­haul takes ef­fect na­tion­wide in July. UC is al­ready in op­er­a­tion in parts of Bri­tain.

UC rolls six wel­fare ben­e­fits – child tax credit; work­ing tax credit; job­seeker’s al­lowance; in­come sup­port; em­ploy- ment and sup­port al­lowance; and hous­ing ben­e­fit – into a sin­gle, monthly pay­ment.

It will be in ev­ery Job­cen­tre for new claimants by De­cem­ber.

Around 3.95 mil­lion ex­ist­ing ben­e­fit claimants are due to be “mi­grated” to UC from July.

Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary Es­ther McVey has de­fended the scheme but ad­mit­ted some fam­i­lies will lose out.

She said: “We made tough de­ci­sions; some peo­ple will be worse off.”

Theresa May’s for­mer deputy Damian Green, who is still close to the PM, said: “The whole point of uni­ver­sal credit is that ex­tra work al­ways pays.” Though he ad­mit­ted the sys­tem will need “tweak­ing”.

Our cam­paign pro­poses three op­tions to halt the mis­ery: re­design UC to be fit for pur­pose; axe it in favour of the old sys­tem if UC is un­fix­able; in­tro­duce a brand new sys­tem.

More than 13,000 peo­ple had signed our pe­ti­tion by last night.

Vicki Nash, of men­tal health char­ity Mind, said: “Al­ready, far too many peo­ple are los­ing out be­cause they can’t nav­i­gate the on­line sys­tem for uni­ver­sal credit or fill out com­plex and lengthy forms when they’re un­well.”

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice called for ur­gent im­prove­ments to UC. James Tay­lor, of dis­abil­ity char­ity Scope, said: “Uni­ver­sal credit is stock­pil­ing prob­lems that will hit large num­bers of dis­abled peo­ple hard when its mass roll­out be­gins.” Vicki Nash of Mind Stop the Uni­ver­sal Credit Cru­elty, Daily Mir­ror, 1 Canada Square, Lon­don E14 5AP. Sign on­line at

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