Universal Credit, states DPAC, or Disabled People Against Cuts, will lead to historic levels of destitution throughout the UK... "It represents an intensification of the austerity policies that have already caused 120,000 excess deaths since 2010"...
This Thursday, 1st March, DPAC is holding a national day of action against Universal Credit (UC), with an afternoon protest at St Peter's Square, Manchester.
"Universal Credit is the punishing regime due to be more widely imposed on people with low incomes, both those in and out of work" states the group "DPAC believes that UC has too many flaws to be simply paused and fixed – it must be stopped and scrapped. UC is rotten to the core."
Universal Credit replaces six benefits – Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit, and seven million households will be affected, including over one million low paid part-time workers.
"For the first time ever people in work could face being sanctioned if they don't prove to the job centre that they're searching for better paid work or more hours" DPAC explains "Pensioner couples will also be affected if one of them is under pension age.
"Universal Credit is an economic and political disaster bringing further distress and impoverishment to those forced to endure it" it adds "To date at least £15.8billion has been wasted on its implementation. No civilized Government should impose this on its citizens and no opposition party should want to simply pause and fix it."
In Salford, 91.3% of City West tenants claiming Universal Credit are currently in arrears with their rent payments, compared to 42.3% of tenants in arrears who are not claiming Universal Credit (see here), and the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimate that 2.1million families nationally are facing an average loss of £1,600 a year through the new benefit.
Last November, Salford City Council passed a motion brought by two Labour Party councillors noting that Universal Credit "is flawed and causing unnecessary hardship to local families"...
One of those councillors, Paula Boshell, said that Salford is expecting a "Universal Credit tsunami" this June when 4,500 claimants in the city's UC pilot scheme have to reapply all at the same time.
The Salford Council motion, however, only called for UC rollout to be "halted until the problems are fixed" - but even Councillor Barbara Bentham, who brought the joint motion, stated that "Universal Credit is so flawed that I have doubts that it can ever be fixed" (see here)
The DPAC #StopAndScrapUC protests intend to ram home the point...
Meanwhile, the DPAC day of action is being backed by the Sack Esther McVey Again campaign, which aims to oust the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions from her Tatton seat, having previously succeeded when the unpopular Conservative MP lost in the Wirral (see here).
"We strongly support the Disabled People Against Cuts protest against Universal Credit on 1st March" says campaign leader Alec McFadden, who is also manager of the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre.
"We've already had a fantastic response to our new campaign" he adds "There is so much anger out there about the insensitivity and sheer arrogance of this Tory Government in appointing such a divisive and hated figure to head up Work and Pensions. Theresa May is a fool to have brought back Esther McVey in this divisive way, and we are determined to expose her tomfoolery in every possible way..."
Stop and Scrap Universal Credit
Thursday 1st March 1pm-3pm
St Peter's Square, Manchester
For more details see the Facebook event page – click here
For more details of Manchester DPAC – see the Facebook group – click here
For more details of the Sack Esther McVey Again campaign – see its Facebook page – click here