#UniversalCredit is based on a poisonous government loathing for people in poverty – and a genuine belief that people in poverty are lab rats

This is a rant, but let’s have it:

Here’s a short list of long points re: some of Universal Credit’s fatal problems as I see them (literally – these are based in problems that people I’ve interviewed actually have).

1) Universal Credit is based on a truly terrifying government and political class contempt for people in poverty.

I have a lot to say on this, so let’s go:

The main point I want to make is that Universal Credit  is based entirely on the (false) premise that people in poverty are solely responsible for that poverty and any problems they have finding work. All Universal Credit problems flow from this political contempt.

The (highly misleading) idea behind Universal Credit (and its strict in-and-out-of-work jobfinding conditionaility) is that people only need a kick up the backside to get out of poverty. With Universal Credit, those kicks take the form of sanctions threats, constant reminders to find more hours in jobs that already pay almost nothing, and days on meaningless, fruitless, privately-provided “employability” courses.

In other words – if you’re poor, stop being poor, or else. That’s it.

This should make everyone furious.

It should make everybody furious, because it is entirely about government shifting blame for societal problems onto the shoulders of people who are least able to respond, or to take the financial burden. There is no acknowledgement whatsoever from government that the problems that land people in poverty might be external – that too many people these days can’t find enough decently-paid work to live on. I see this all the time, as does anyone who frequents foodbanks and jobcentres. It’s real.

Why does government think it has a free pass on this? There is no concession AT ALL to the fact that finding secure work which pays a wage that people can survive and thrive on is difficult, especially in some parts of the country, where it is incredibly difficult (I know this, because I travel around). There is no acknowledgement that government needs to address those problems before pointing the finger at the very people it has abandoned. There is also no concession that money which should be spent on wages and social security keeps disappearing into offshore tax havens. How long will this be tolerated?

Readers of this site will know I regularly interview people who experience these employment difficulties. I’ve interviewed cleaners, carers, housekeepers and people who work in warehouses and in other low-paid jobs. They all have the same problem – insecure employment, variable hours and low wages. They never get ahead. They never will. They never have the money to get ahead. They’re thousands of pounds behind, because they’re in debt. Welfare reforms such as council tax benefit cuts (and court fines for non-payment of council tax) and LHA and benefit caps pushed people into debt even before they were moved to Universal Credit.

As I see it (and I do see it, as I say) government’s answer to its own glaring job creation and wages failures is to set up a system such as Universal Credit and to tell people who receive it that they are responsible for the lack of local jobs and money, and that they need to pull finger to sort problems out. They must fix financial problems by meeting Universal Credit’s strict conditionallity rules and working endless hours for very little money in an unreliable, low-wage economy.

If anybody dares to supplement their non-income by thieving or dealing, they’re chucked in jail (I’ve lost count of the number of people on the breadline I’ve spoken to who’ve done time for such offences. Nobody seems to want to talk about that). It’s just a pity that the same strict rules for behaviour aren’t applied to all these tax dodgers we keep hearing about. Those people walk away from the havoc they create (or fly off in their private jets, or sail away in their yachts, or whatever).

So.

Let’s say it again: government has a poisonous loathing and contempt for people in poverty. Governments have spent years spreading that poison via the rightwing press (and vice versa).

So many of Universal Credit’s problems have their source in that contempt – from delays to benefit starts to Universal Credit’s failed IT and administrative systems to the scandalous and criminal amounts of public money blown on the whole pathetic project.

The idea is, of course, that people in poverty are lab rats that all governments are permitted to run perverse live experiments on. Take it from me – that’s the exact subtext whenever someone in government or the DWP says that government is learning about Universal Credit as it is rolled out. Government is saying that it’s fine to live-trial these things on people in poverty and it hardly matters if people disappear down a hole along the way.

There’s no acknowledgement that Universal Credit should have been up and running properly (as if that was ever going to happen) before it was inflicted on people who could least afford things to go wrong. Government still literally shrugs when it hears that Universal Credit claimants end up in rent arrears, or homeless, or in terrible debt, or without enough money to feed themselves. People in poverty are always considered acceptable collateral in these projects. Government ran Universal Credit pilots, but clearly learned nothing from those and made no meaningful adjustments. Or didn’t want to.

Which brings me to my second point:

2) Government’s claim that Universal Credit is about “making work pay.” I hate this glib slogan and all variations on it. It’s a facile catchphrase which was clearly coined/adopted to work in a tweet and divert attention from the real problem – which is that work itself doesn’t pay for so many people and that the wealthy divert money elsewhere. Wages are terrible. People are in and out of insecure, low paid work all the time (see above).

If government wants to make work pay, it could surely start by raising the minimum wage to £20+ an hour. It could rein in tax dodgers. It could also think about working on sensible projects – or, at least, projects which make more sense than Universal Credit. Call me naive, but I have occasionally wondered what might have happened if the billions wasted on Universal Credit had been invested in, say, jobs, local manufacturing, wages and housing.

As it is, we have this shambles. Talk about a government failure to prioritise. It’s just a shame that god almighty or whoever it was didn’t say, “create decent jobs and social security for all,” to Iain Duncan Smith when god appeared to IDS above the poor at Easterhouse. Unfortunately, god appears to have told IDS to squander billions on a useless IT and administration system and to call it Universal Credit. Go figure.

3) Last point: the widespread claim that benefits systems need to be simplified.

I take issue with this one for several reasons.

The main one is that the idea that benefits can and should be simplified is not necessarily right – ESPECIALLY in austerity, where notions of so-called simplification and placing a whole benefits system such as Universal Credit online are merely justifications for the real motivation, which is public sector service cuts.

In such an environment, “we’re making things simpler” is just another way of saying “we’re getting rid of face-to-face help and expertise, and eliminating service users who can’t manage without support and/or use computers.” I see that often enough already.

The truth is that benefits systems are complex by definition and need to be – particularly, I think, when it comes to disability benefits and housing benefit (many of the people I’ve worked with need homelessness help as well as housing benefit assistance, for example).

Benefit support isn’t a One Size Fits All scenario, as proponents of Universal Credit would have you believe.

I often deal with people who require face-to-face support and complex support – they need people to help fill in forms, to organise housing, to provide some social care and to know from years of training and experience why some people struggle to meet conditionality demands and to stay in contact. This isn’t rare at all. It’s common.

Again, as readers of this site will know, I’ve regularly attended jobcentre and housing meetings with people who have learning and literacy difficulties, and support needs. Many have been in and out of work all their lives. Some are getting a bit older and getting left behind. Some can’t work, whether government likes that or not. Universal Credit’s online, DIY ideology is not for them. It utterly ignores the fact that there are reasons why many people struggle to find or keep work, or can’t work – reasons other than the abject laziness that government likes to suggest is the main cause of poverty.

I’d certainly argue that benefit support systems need improving (and then some) – but in the sense that benefit systems need proper resourcing and skilled, well-paid, long-term personnel.

I can say for an absolute fact that one reason that people I’ve worked with have become so frustrated with benefit systems is because austerity has cut frontline and back office services to the point where nothing functions.

God knows I’ve experienced that firsthand – lost letters, indifferent and uninformed staff, phone lines which are never answered, cancelled jobcentre appointments because there aren’t enough advisers, benefit claims closed for reasons nobody understands – the works.

Universal Credit exacerbates that problem. It’s an unreliable online, poorly-staffed system with a tacked-on, oversubscribed phone helpline. Jobcentres – the only places where people might find face-to-face help of any description – are being closed across the country.

The idea that simplicity is the right answer by definition is far too simple and disingenuous – and yet has been totally accepted. The idea that Universal Credit’s current administrative woes are merely teething problems is also disingenuous. Rotten and unworkable systems are always considered good enough for people in poverty. Universal Credit is simply the latest manifestation of that contempt.

Anyway.

I refuse to accept that there isn’t room for bigger and better concepts that appeal to everyone’s best, rather than worst, instincts – ideas such as decent work that pays decent wages for all and decent social security that supports all. Even Labour ought to be able to get behind that sort of concept without fear of being labelled the welfare party, or whatever it is they’re afraid of. The fact that some people can’t work also needs to be recognised. Forever.

There is absolutely no way that Universal Credit is about liberating people from poverty.

It’s about drawing more and more people into the government’s net via the DWP’s conditionality and debt collection regimes. Wait until people on tax credits are moved over.

67 thoughts on “#UniversalCredit is based on a poisonous government loathing for people in poverty – and a genuine belief that people in poverty are lab rats

  1. Your right !! When you have money you can commit any crime you like, it really doesn’t matter. If they do get caught. They just call in a solicitor who works their magic. We all know there is a massive amount of very rich people that get away with fraud, not paying taxes, child abuse and even murder. We all know its happening.
    Look at the macann family their little girl went missing. They left her alone in apartment with twins. Nothing was said about child neglect and endangerment. If a working class family had done that they would have had their children removed from their care. But because they are doctors nothing was done. Its a split system them and us.. we are expected to follow the law to the letter, but yet the government that make the law’s are constantly breaking them. By fiddling their expenses they’ve done it for years we are not taking a few pound we are talking hundreds of thousands over years they have taken millions. How can we put our trust in touch a corrupt government and system. Everything been designed to keep us down. I hope one day thing’s change but I have a feeling it never will.

    • E.g.David Laws took £42k from OUR taxes to give to his boyfriend in so-called “rent”. Can you imagine if someone claimed Housing Benefit to pay “rent” to the partner? (They’d have to do it for years to get to £42,000.) When he got caught, he said he did it because he was gay. If we tried that on benefits, we’d go to jail. David Laws became Schools Minister instead.

    • Nina.

      Every single thing you said is 100% correct!!!!

      For starters, no parent would ever leave their young children alone. NEVER!!!!!
      And before the media police say I suppose you’ve never left your kids alone, NO I HAVEN’T, NEVER not once!!!!! My two daughters are my world & growing up, if I couldn’t get a babysitter I trusted, I wouldn’t go out……SIMPLE!!!!! And, yes, there is so much more to this story, hopefully all will come out one day!!!

      As for the rest you mentioned.

      The rich just get away without paying taxes that they can more than afford to pay anyway yet, nothing is done about it! CRIMINAL!!!!

      The MP’s are perverts committing sexual harassment, yet again getting away with it….. CRIMINAL!!!!

      The sick & disabled get punished daily with money being taken away from them, I myself am in the category where I’ve worked since the age of 14, I’ve worked my whole life & for the same company for 26yrs. Till I was struck down with a Desease. The DWP ARE NOT HUMAN, my GP says i cannot currently work yet I was told from the So called Healthcare Professional at my assessment that i could work. I was never asked questions to gain any points, the assessor told so many very blatant lies about me, im in total disbelief!!!
      I’m waiting the tribunal date to appeal after going 3 months without a single penny from DWP.

      This whole country headed up by this so called government is now so CORRUPT!!!! I just hope that one day, these people at the DWP & the So called government responsible for the many disabled that couldn’t see any way out, so committed suicide, it’s the government & DWP who tell lies at assessments who have very many people’s blood on their hands!! They need to be held accountable, they won’t due to just how very Corrupt this country is now but, I hope one day that justice will prevail!!!
      Though i very very much doubt it!!

      • I hear you. Lost my PIP a few weeks ago. Assessor said that I had “no physical or mental restrictions”, so I got 0 points. How he came up with this, I’ll never understand. Apparently I showed no signs of being in pain (I’m a chronic pain patient, and have had my pain for a decade. We don’t moan or scream anymore; what’s the point? It just wastes energy. I was getting up every 8 minutes to do stretches because the Pain Clinic helped me to develop a pacing plan. I can’t sit in a normal chair for long, as it causes back spasms, and I already had a moderate back spasms going. I had to stretch to keep it from getting so bad that I wouldn’t be able to continue. It was painful and difficult, but I did it anyway. I was also on paracetamol, naproxen, gabapentin, 150mg of tramadol, and some diazepam for the spasm. How on earth could he say I showed no signs of pain? I was managing it as best I could, but normally I’d be in bed in that situation.
        He also said that I showed no signs of anxiety (which is a significant problem for me). Again, I was on more diazepam than I would usually take outside my house, I hadn’t slept the night before, and barely slept the night before that. I was sweating and trembling (partially pain, partially anxiety, some med side-effects. My voice trembled, apparently my movements were jerky, I found myself rocking back and forth at several points, I kept starting to pull out hair, my facial tic was going mad, and my entire body was *so* tight and rigid (which makes my back worse)! I was “talkative” – yes, I tend to babble when very anxious, especially on that much tramadol, when usually I’m quiet and a bit shy. He took that as evidence that I have no problems with social situations. My partner, who came with me, said that he’d never seen me so anxious.

        The assessor is a paramedic. How can he have been so blind to pain and anxiety?! How on earth do I counter that?

        • To counter it, you need to appeal.
          On the subject of why the assessor said what he said, I don’t think it’s just because he’s a paramedic. I think it’s because he’s a sadistic bully and because he gets a bonus every time he turns someone down for PIP, no matter how daft his report is.

  2. 100% of genuine truth about Universal Credit and the cruel reality that underlies it.
    And the longer it goes on, the more deadly it is going to be.

  3. At the end of the day this is the so-called ‘welfare reform’. Pushing people off benefits into zero-hours and low pay part-time work. Universal Credit is going to be there punishing and bullying people for years to come.

    • Yes, it’s the sort of thing Blair could only have dreamt of when his government introduced New Deal & 3 month sanctions all those years ago. Like you say, it’s here to stay, & that’s why Labour won’t outright condemn it. This country is fucked & the politicians are all pissing in the same pot. We’re on our own,

  4. I attended a talk on Universal Credit for people receiving housing support in 2013. I thought the rules were absolutely inhumane. 6-week, 3-month and 3-year sanctions, 35 hours job search per week for single parents with toddlers… I’m so glad it is delayed and may fail. Those who do claim it can wait months with no money whatsoever. Struggling with the notion that IDS could be a Christian.

    • “Struggling with the notion that IDS could be a Christian.”

      I did once attempt to contact the Holy See by email to ask that IDS be ex-communicated, but I got no reply. The Vatican emails have to go via the British Embassy so I’m sure they blocked it.

    • IDS & his ilk may outwardly profess to being ‘Christians’ but really are at best Neo-Platonists/Hermeticists or at worst Luciferians.

  5. Pingback: #UniversalCredit is based on a poisonous government loathing for people in poverty – and a genuine belief that people in poverty are lab rats | Kate Belgrave – leftwingnobody

  6. I suppose that whatever the original intentions of Iaan Duncan Smith’s ‘Centre for Social Justice’ might have been, we should not underestimate the role played by ‘advisers’ to government from the insurance industry.

    For more on that, see Mo Stewart’s research paper The Hidden Agenda, and also my blog post Social Security is the only real life insurance policy.

    Regarding ‘making claiming easier’, the more the law on anything changes, the more difficult it is even for anyone — even professionals — to keep tabs on it. Away from Universal Credit, that point has been made in a Big Issue special report about council tax debt. I also heard years ago from a former Disability Employment Adviser that one of the reasons he got fed up of his DEA work was that it was in the nature of the department to keep changing the goalposts, to the point that it added enormously to workplace stress trying to catch up with those changes.

    Also, as I have pointed out previously, as you have Kate, there are claimants who can neither read nor write at nearly sufficient a level for them to understand even Plain English, and free legal advice has been ravaged by cuts in public spending.

    And if the intention of Government really is to make claiming easier — rather than making it easier to turn down a claim — was it really advisable for principal IT contractor in delivering Universal Credit for DWP to subcontract the online form creation to Atos for “its strong track record of successfully delivering IT services for the Department of Work and Pension [DWP], and with a particular focus on delivering secure online citizen self-service applications”?

    I close this comment by flagging up an item about Universal Basic Services: UK: University College London research group recommends Universal Basic Services over Universal Basic Income

  7. First there was Skivers & Strivers, then Disabled or Not ?, now Universal Credit.
    It can surely only be a matter of time, before some enterprising TV channel produces a series where viewers at home can vote on whether people should receive their benefits. Or be ejected from the Benefits House and left destitute on the street.

  8. There are some people who think that British democracy is nothing more than an elaborate pantomime. One that simply pays lip-service to public opinion, much of which is controlled and carefully manipulated. Whatever the apparent electoral result, the same people, the same corporate financial and media interests remain very much in charge behind the scenes.
    This is exactly the same attitude that has driven the so-called ‘welfare reforms’, and the development of systems such as Universal Credit.

    • It’s worse than a pantomime. The neo-Platonists who run the show know full well that Democracy is merely a flawed stop-gap on the way to full implementation of the NWO. The Left/Right paradigm of two party politics is nothing less than the Hegelian Dialectic being played out; Thesis Vs. Antithesis produces Synthesis.

  9. Yes. The government attitude to Universal Credit and all the rest is totally patronising. They look down on ordinary people and think they know best.
    They just carry on regardless, and its just the same with the NHS.

      • Johnson is the classic example of how money and privilege trumps genuine ability every time. And talking of Trumps…

        • Yes let’s talk about Trump. The Establishment of both Democrat and Republican parties opposed him. The American working class supported him to the extent he won Democrat states Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. His opponent was cheap labour express Hillary Clinton who had no problem with Bill raping women

  10. As long as the British people would rather watch TV than make any real protests about what is happening then nothing is going to change.

  11. Another problem with Universal Credit is that it will inevitably force down the unemployment figures in the long-term. This is going to make positive reading in the newspapers, and the real issues with Universal Credit will be pushed aside.

  12. If only Labour had a better leader perhaps Universal Credit could be stopped.
    They always have this problem. We have had a Welshman who talked too much.
    A man who couldn’t eat a bacon sandwich. And a Scotsman who was quite prepared to sink the ship if he couldn’t be captain.

    • I have just emailed the Labour Party to complain about UC & about the pathetic amount of JSA that we are meant to be able to live on, demanding that they DO SOMETHING, but how many others have done the same? If they got 5 million emails about the Benefits shambles it might sink in that they need to up their game.

      • Good point. Also think that everyone should make a subject access request to the DWP for all their personal data. Done a few of those lately – certainly because people want and need their info, but there is something to be said for fighting back by pushing the bureaucracy over as well.

    • The best thing Jeremy Corbyn could do for the Labour Party is to stand aside as leader, while there is still time to avoid disaster in 2022.

        • Exactly. Labour need to move much further to the Left & be much more proactive & aggressive in fighting the Tories. I’d like Corbyn to be more like Dennis Skinner or Arthur Cargill. Let’s have a NationalGeneral Strike against Austerity & Welfare Reforms, and against wealth inequality.

          • No-one is going to vote for a hard-left Labour government.
            Once the party gets into Marxist territory, and starts waving the red flag, they will have made themselves unelectable.

          • No one would votefor a hard Left Labour?I certainnly would!And so would everyone I know. We’reaall itching for a fight, a full-on Revolution.Bring it on.

  13. This is one of the problems of ideological austerity. The idea that if people can be forced off benefits and into work, a wonderful golden horizon of opportunity will open up before them.
    When the reality is that the insecure low-paid work on offer for the majority, cannot possibly provide this.

    • That’s the issue and it really is a serious point – one that Labour just hasn’t made enough of in my view. The sums just don’t add a lot of the time. If people are in cleaning work, care work and so on and in parts of the country especially where work and well paid work isn’t easy to come by, a few hours extra here and there just can’t make the difference. Once people get into the sort of debt they’re getting into as a result of welfare reforms such as council tax benefit cuts (and associated court fines for non payment) and rent shortfalls, they need a cash injection of thousands just to get back to zero. I think I’d know by know if simply insisting that people keep coming into the jobcentre sorted out financial problems and put everyone into a position where they could afford housing and general costs. I barely see that at all. I see people in debt. At some point, somebody somewhere is going to have to acknowledge that the problem is that the sums don’t add. Government has been shrieking SHIRKERS for many years now with the only obvious results being increased levels of household debt and homelessness.

    • Exactly. It’s a myth & a blatant lie that you can somehow work your way out of poverty, especially on min. wage, that’s why there are working people having to rely on foodbanks.

  14. Now that he has looked around carefully, and seen that the coast is clear, Jeremy Corbyn has been moved to make a few criticisms of Universal Credit. Labour had five spineless years to do something about this, but chose to look the other way. Even now, Corbyn looks like someone
    who can’t find the book he wants in his local library, rather than the leader of the main opposition party. There is no drive, no dynamism at all. Just a sort of vague concern that never really develops into an argument. It’s like chinese water torture, drip, drip, drip.
    Even on possible changes to Universal Credit, the Conservatives are leading the argument, with MPs like Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston seen as receiving the actual credit, as it were.

    • Agreed and personally I feel Labour has been weak on social security – certainly a lot weaker than “necessary.” Why can’t the great leftist Corbyn movement make a positive argument for decent jobs, wages and social security for all? This picking around in Tory policy bogs everyone down and gains nothing except an inch or two here and there on benefit waiting times or what have you. At the moment, Labour is giving us Pause And Fix Universal Credit. I don’t even know what that means. How long is the pause – 3 hours, ten weeks, eight months, ten years – which is it? What do they proposing fixing – the waiting times, the lost paperwork, the failed journal entries project, the falling over IT, the exclusion of anyone with support needs, or the contempt for in and out of work poverty that underlies the whole thing as I pointed out in my original post? Labour acts as though Universal Credit is a Ford Focus that is basically in good shape but that could use a couple of new tyres and then we’re away. Disingenuous.

  15. How about a new TV programme called – I’m On Universal Credit…Get Me Out Of Here ? Where a group of benefit claimants get taken to the jungle and have to compete in various contests to see who doesn’t get sanctioned ? Now that might stir a bit of public interest.

  16. You will be haunted,” resumed the Ghost, “by Three Spirits.”
    Gauke’s countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost’s had done.
    “Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?”  he demanded, in a faltering voice.
    “It is.”
    “I — I think I’d rather not,” said Gauke.
    “Without their visits,” said the Ghost, “you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one.”
    “Couldn’t I take `em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?” hinted Gauke.
    “Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!”

  17. Auto genocide is the deliberate, systematic and legal murder of citizens that are “problematic” for the interests of wealth and power. “Economic Murder”, bit by bit, the deaths of those who are not economically or socially important is being normalised and UC will automate and accelerate the process.

    Most victims die prematurely from social forces targeted at them to cause them to wear out due to stress. (See: DWP sanctions, PIP assessments etc.)

    Auto genocide is always committed under the radar so the media will not be compelled to report it and the people will only see those few cases that cannot be ignored.

    Auto genocides cannot happen without the help of the media (Daily Mail, BBC etc.)

    The media constantly distribute the propaganda (Benefit Scrounging Scum, 20 kids and a council house, 52 inch Sky TV, buying fags and booze all paid for by the ‘Hard Working Tax Payer’) thus preparing the population for the acceptance of the deaths.

    The MSM officially ignore or deny the suffering and premature deaths…
    (See: BBC suppression of http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5332 )
    …and as good servants to the status quo, the media “hides” the parts the ruling and economic elite do not want the voters to see.

    Ken Loach among a growing number of others has brought this issue into the spotlight.

    Demonize the ‘Undeserving’, wag your finger at them, and blame them for their plight, “they do not vote for us” Ian Duncan Smith.

    Soon, very soon, with the roll-out of UC even the ‘Just About Managing’ will be deliberately targeted.

    There is no other possible answer; A deliberate covert attempt to remove surplus none productive groups of people from the population.

  18. Its as if the British public were children. Ruled by a government of ‘adults’,
    who just ignore a few childish tantrums over Universal Credit and the NHS.
    Because they are wiser, and they know best.

  19. The roll-out of Universal Credit should be halted immediately, before it causes any more suffering and chaos. Labour, timid as ever on welfare, prefer to ask for it to be ‘paused and fixed’. Whatever that means. In reality they have already accepted that it is game over as far as Universal Credit is concerned. Debbie Abrahams the shadow Work & Pensions Secretary, has made some criticisms about late payments and inflexibility, but thats it. And all with the idea that these things can be fixed. Not a murmur about simply stopping the roll-out of this cruel system. Which is basically an online workhouse for the low-paid and unemployed. Including those disabled and terminally-ill claimants who will be forced into work under Universal Credit. Or be starved into submission by sanctions. Or just starve…..

  20. While I wholeheartedly agree with this article and the comments that have been made, I feel that Labour are taking the correct stance at the present time. I believe a General Election is imminent and Labour are currently walking a tightrope both on this issue and Brexit. Labour are effectively powerless unless they form the next Government. It is unbelievable to people who take an active interest in, or are being tortured by, the actions of this Government but the majority of people in this country STILL don’t know what is going on.

  21. Great article, on point and talking the reality of this awful system that has been pressed upon the low earning working class/disabled/unemployed people.

    I want to scream when they glibly parrot the same phrases to etch them upon the minds of everyone in this country. To etch them so that their cruel system is accepted by the wider public and especially by those who have been unofficially recruited to repeat the govt message of workshy people being ‘encouraged’ into work. The sanctimonious ones who work full time in decent paying jobs and frown upon or even sneer at those beneath who just need to ‘pull themselves together’ in order to achieve working greatness.

    I’ve got news for them…there aren’t enough well paying jobs to go around, so some of us are scraping around for the scraps of erratic work where we used to be supported by govt in the form of tax credits but are now being phased onto the despicable UC and into further poverty. Making work pay?? Making the poor pay more like. Drive them into the ground in some form of deluded social engineering experiment. But worst of all, pit the working classes against each other, so those who feel aggrieved at their lot take it out on those they perceive as lazy or not trying hard enough. Instead they should be asking why this despicable govt is persisting with a system that is utterly and completely POINTLESS. There is no need for it, but it clearly ticks the ideology boxes of the nasty party. It’s beyond contempt, it truly is. Pause and fix? Please, just scrap it and take people out of their oppressed misery.

  22. I’m not sure that is entirely true Bev. You would have to have lived on another planet for the last 7 years not to know what is going on. People know exactly what is going on. The newspapers are full of it. But the way it has been presented, like the whole austerity issue, has fooled a great many into believing it is necessary. Others are simply averting their eyes from what is happening to a minority, other people, not like them.

    • I suspect a lot of people will find out what is going on when tax credits start shifting in big numbers to UC. That will affect a lot of people who are electorally relevant, so as to speak.

    • “People know exactly what is going on.” is incorrect.
      People are ‘told’, and they blindly believe what they are told.

      “The newspapers are full of it”. True, the newspapers are ‘full of it’…’benefit scrounging scum’ vs the ‘hard working tax payer’

      The BBC made no mention whatsoever of the recent http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5332 report. Even the Guardian failed to give coverage.

      and now we have an ‘error’ depriving 75,000 disabled of entitlement.

      • Yes, but if people are ‘told’ what is going on they still know what is going on. That is simple logic. Jeff is quite correct.
        That these same people are too foolish to think that it might happen to them is another thing altogether.
        In the World War 2 many Germans claimed that they ‘didn’t know’ what had happened to the Jews. Despite open harassment in the press, on the radio, in the streets, and mass deportations.

  23. Jeff – I think a lot of people are aware of what is happening but in an almost vague way. I work with a number of women who claim WTC and none of them are really aware of what is happening. I’ve tried to explain to them but they don’t seem to realise about in-work conditionality and what it will mean. People I have spoken to in good employment really really don’t seem to be aware of the terrible things that are being done in their name. They look at me disbelievingly when I try to tell them.

  24. Yes I’m sure that’s true. A lot of people with jobs are going to find out over the next few years how strict and difficult Universal Credit really is. The constant pressure on claimants, the uncertainty about being paid. The arguments about changing their jobs to get more hours of work.

  25. Another really bad aspect of Universal Credit is the way it takes away people’s basic rights. Once you are a claimant the DWP own you, body and soul.
    They think they can tell you to do anything they want. Take a job you don’t want or which is completely unsuitable. Force you to give up work you like in order to do something else which has longer hours. Like being under surveillance all the time.

  26. Kate, would you mind having a go at being Prime Minister for a couple of years so that we can sort this all out ?

    • Certainly. I think we should all have a go if I am honest. Tis fair to say that absolutely anyone would be better than this crowd of knobbers 🙂

  27. There’s an article in my local paper today about the implementation of Universal Credit in my area. It goes into all sorts of details but as usual for the media fails to mention the ludicrous 35 hour jobsearch rule. This is one of the most punitive aspects of UC because it virtually guarantees that everyone will get Sanctions. No one but no one can possibly comply with doing 35 hours of jobsearch every week, & keeping it up nonstop week on week. We don’t have enough internet access & there arent enough relevant vacancies to look at. You’d just be staring at the same vacancies all day every day, assuming you can access a computer. What are we supposed to do, hand outCVs every time we visit the launderette or chippy?

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