Benefits

Replacing Universal Credit

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:14

Fourteen million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty.

“Four million of these are more than 50% below the poverty line, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials...”

That was Philip Alston, the United Nation “Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights”, reporting on Britain a year ago.

He added: “Various sources predict child poverty rates of as high as 40% by 2022...

“Homelessness is up 60% since 2010, rough sleeping is up 134%.... Food bank use is up almost four-fold since 2012, and there are now about 2,000 food banks in the UK, up from just

Universal Credit debate 2018/19

Published on: Mon, 21/10/2019 - 17:23
Author

Will Sefton, Luke Hardy

Below are the articles so far in a debate in Solidarity on Universal Credit between Luke Hardy and Will Sefton, in 2018/19. We are to discuss it in Workers' Liberty's annual conference in December 2019, and have some discussion documents in addition to those below. For the moment at least, these are internal.

Click the links below, in date order, to see the articles:

Labour plans Universal Credit change

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 12:43
Author

Will Sefton

For articles in the debate in Solidarity and in Workers' Liberty on Universal Credit, see here.

On 27 September, just after Labour conference, the Labour Party announced that a Labour government will “scrap” Universal Credit and revise its current position of halting the roll-out.

The detail of the new policy is a series of important reforms.

“Reduce the five-week waiting period by introducing an interim payment after two weeks;
Scrap the two-child limit;
Scrap the benefit cap;
Immediately suspend sanctions and the claimant agreement;
Make split payments, payments direct to landlords, and

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Universal Credit action on 1 August

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2019 - 08:50
Author

Will Sefton

A national day of action against Universal Credit on 1 August may be a chance to revive this campaigning and to put forward the kind of welfare system that is needed.

After apparently being held back since November 2017, a joint report by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HMRC has shown the government has been well aware of the problems associated with the transition from tax credits to Universal Credit. More than 50% of the claimants surveyed were not prepared for the delay of six weeks till their first payment and of those who expected some delay almost half were unaware it was

Universal Credit workers to strike

Published on: Tue, 12/02/2019 - 18:13
Author

Gerry Bates and Rosalind Robson

Universal Credit Service Centre workers in PCS at the Walsall and Wolverhampton offices are the first to ballot for strike action over staffing levels and capacity within the Universal Credit operations in DWP.

Members have long standing grievances with DWP bosses over a horrific lack of staff (their demand is for at least 5000 new staff to cope with the workload), a reduction in the amount of calls per day each worker is expected to handle and an end to the draconian target driven culture in offices.

While the employer has finally accepted that staffing levels are too low and announced extra

Universal Credit: still hurting

Published on: Wed, 16/01/2019 - 12:52
Author

Luke Hardy

For other articles in the debate in Solidarity and in Workers' Liberty on Universal Credit, see here. The article below is the fifth article in the debate.

Amber Rudd, the new Tory Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has scrapped the plans to extend the two-child limit on Universal Credit for those with children born before April 2017. She has also postponed the next stage of Universal Credit roll-out, due to hit three million in-work tax-credit claimants within the next few weeks was postponed.

Just 10,000 will be moved to UC over the summer of 2019. Universal Credit payments will now

Universal Credit: a positive alternative

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:26
Author

Will Sefton

For other articles in the debate in Solidarity and in Workers' Liberty on Universal Credit, see here. The article below is the fourth article.

Luke Hardy (Solidarity 488) accuses me of trying to separate out the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) from the cuts to benefit that the Tories have introduced since the coalition government of 2010. In 2015 the government announced £12 billion of welfare cuts, but only a quarter of these were directly related to Universal Credit, and specifically to the in-work allowance, the total amount you could earn before the amount of benefit paid is reduced.

Labour and housing markets breed insecurity

Published on: Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:41
Author

Peter Kenway

When the Minimum Wage was introduced, the bottom scale of local government pay was well above it. Now each time the Minimum Wage is increased, a couple of points at the bottom of the local government pay scales have to be removed because they’re now below that Minimum Wage.

One reason why the decline in local government services is not so noticeable is that there’s been a huge hit to the pay of what was always mostly a low-paid workforce. Productivity figures are usually dubious — on the standard measures, real estate is reckoned to have the highest labour productivity of any sector — but it

Cuts, calamity and councils

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 12:48

Peter Kenway is director of the New Policy Institute, and author of much research on local government. He talked with Martin Thomas.

Philip Alston’s recent report on “social calamity” in the UK focused on cuts in benefits. There have also been huge cuts in local government. What is their impact?

Local government delivers about 200 distinct services. The best-known is social care for adults and children, which takes over a third of the money. There’s the bins, and an increasingly residual role in education. And then a bunch of mundane but essential stuff: school crossing patrols,

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