Universal Credit clearly isn’t working: the propaganda drive glimpsed in today's Metro is a last-ditch attempt to stymie the bad press. It's time to scrap itby Dawn Foster / May 22, 2019 / Leave a comment
Pick up a copy of the Metro today and you’ll be treated to a four-page “advertising feature” paid for by the Department for Work and Pensions defending Universal Credit, the discredited policy causing misery and poverty around Britain. So £250,00 of public money has been used in an attempt to convince people the documentation by both MPs and journalists of the system’s flaws, and horrendous pain it causes, is false.
The delays and errors embedded in Universal Credit have caused so many incidents of utter desolation.Food banks have been inundated with Universal Credit applicants, waiting for payments after jumping through endless hoops. I’ve spoken to former soldiers who tell me they waited 12 weeks for their first Universal Credit payment, living on beans on toast, constantly in fear of eviction by their landlord. A mother of three at one food bank told me the fact Universal Credit requires so much work online is a struggle—given she’s sold almost everything she owns because she hasn’t seen a single payment.
The people who designed the system must be wealthy: there is no way a normal person would embed such a long wait for subsistence benefits. Even someone who had been skint for a while would see the issue.
Living at the sharp end
But when I ask civil servants what people should do when they’re waiting for Universal Credit payments, they always reply: “live off savings.” Few Millennials in professional jobs have savings, so why on earth do political staff think people on meagre benefits have managed to save enough to live on for almost ten weeks? No wonder people are reliant on food banks: if you give people the bare minimum for survival, there’s no way they can tuck away enough cash to keep themselves and their kids fed when the money isn’t coming in.
And when people do get the payments, the DWP takes back an average of around £1 for every £10 spent. Reports suggest those who suffer deductions including people like Martin Weaver, a seriously ill 42-year old father of two. Martin has to go to hospital three times a week for dialysis, suffering from both kidney disease and heart disease. He told the Independent that the DWP deduct £90 a month from his payments—at one point, Martin was living in a…