Universal credit blasted as the outrage mounts
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