Stop Universal Credit
- Thursday 1 August 2019
Unite is campaigning to #STOPUniversalCredit. The government must:
- Abandon the long waits for claimants to receive money
- Allow people to apply for Universal Credit in a jobcentre, not just online
- Provide people with better help when the system fails them
- Pay landlords directly to stop people getting into rent arrears and losing their homes
- End benefit sanctions for all claimants.
What you can do
- Check the Turn2us guide to Universal Credit and to calculate what you would be entitled to under the system.
- Check out the Citizens Advice guide on Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a means tested benefits system that merges six existing benefits into one:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
The government claims Universal Credit will make things better for claimants, but where it has already been rolled out it’s been plagued with problems that are pushing more people into poverty. It has caused tens of thousands of people to fall into debt, rent arrears, and to become reliant on food banks. From January 2019 the DWP is going to start transferring people from their old benefits onto Universal Credit. This will be done in small numbers at first, but eventually several million people are set to be migrated over to Universal Credit. This will not be done automatically – each claimant will have to start a new claim for Universal Credit, if they don’t apply by a deadline given by the DWP their old benefits will be cut off leaving them with nothing. This is going to cause massive hardship as applying is so complicated that many claimants face huge problems in getting it right. If you get your application wrong it can cause long delays in getting your first payment.
Applications can only be made online burdening those without internet access or who can’t use computers with further stress and anxiety over their claims. Eventually, around seven million people will be on the new benefit – including half of all families with children. So far Universal Credit has only been rolled out in trial areas for new claimants with straightforward claims or those whose circumstances have changed. Currently 1 in 5 Universal Credit claims fails because of problems people come up against during the application process. This means hundreds of thousands of claimants could lose out. It is likely that the majority of people moved to Universal Credit are going to be entitled to less money than under the legacy system of tax credits and other benefits. 3.2 million working families are expected to lose an average of £48 a week.
Austerity cuts which took £37 billion out of the social security budget for working-aged people are yet to come into effect too. Instead of providing a safety net for people on low incomes, Universal Credit is driving more people into debt. Sign TheMirror’s petition to stop the rollout of Universal Credit.
10 reasons why Universal Credit should be stopped
- Unbearably long waits for claimants to receive money
- People can only apply for Universal Credit online making it inaccessible for many
- Not enough help for claimants when the system fails them
- Rent paid directly to claimants instead of Landlords causing people to get into arrears and even to lose their homes
- Letting agents are already refusing to rent to anyone claiming Universal Credit
- Cruel sanctions for both in-work and out-of-work claimants
- Payments only go to one named member of a household
- Universal Credit takes 63p in every £1 people earn
- Universal Credit leaves many working families much worse off than the old system
- People in part-time work could be forced to give up work that suits their disability or family life in order to take up worse paid full-time work or risk sanctions.
Tell us your story
Have you been affected by Universal Credit? If you would like to speak to Unite about your experience of Universal Credit please contact Liane Groves.