Here’s (another) one for Amber Rudd and her specious advertisements which claim that the DWP and Universal Credit help people into work:
This is a short audio from one of the many recent Stockport United Against Austerity leafleting sessions I’ve attended outside Stockport Jobcentre. We talk with people as they attend the jobcentre to sign on and so on.
In this audio, a woman says that trying to survive by claiming the family’s Universal Credit entitlements alongside her self-employed husband’s earnings has been “a nightmare.”
(The quotes below are a transcript for this audio)
The DWP is utterly incompetent. Every month, the DWP fails to record her husband’s income accurately, even though he declares his earnings from his self-employment each month. The family is literally never paid their Universal Credit entitlement on time. They risk debt each month because of it.
“They [the DWP] never pay us on time. I mean – me husband works for himself, so his earnings are up and down at the moment, so we have to declare them every month. And I tried to set up a working from home business – but even when he’s declared his earnings, they suspend our account, we still haven’t got paid a week later and then we still have to ring up [the DWP]…
“I’ve got direct debits coming out and I still have to ring them up. We still haven’t been paid… and I have to keep chasing them to get paid.
“Yeah – no, we never get paid on time.”
“So, you’re trying to balance self employed earnings with getting Universal Credit?”
“He declares them [his earnings] on the 16th of every month, because the payday is the 23rd. He declares them, which reopens our account, but then a week later, we should get paid – on the 23rd – but every month when it gets to the 23rd, we’re never paid, so I have to wait 40 minutes by ringing them up and getting through to them… and I’ve got a three year old and a two year old as well as the baby and it’s a nightmare.
“And all my bills come out on the 24th and so I’ve got to chase it up to make sure that I get it…”
Remember this next time Amber puts out another advertisement which features another actor who claims that Universal Credit and the DWP smoothed his path into work and financial independence and a happy tomorrow, etc.
I spend a great deal of time speaking to people at jobcentres. I’ve literally NEVER seen or heard a real-life version of Amber’s ad, or even an approximation of it.
I have, however, seen and heard many people who’ve been trying to get work, improve their incomes and claim their Universal Credit entitlements, and who have reported abject DWP and Universal Credit failures like the one in this post.
I attend jobcentres a lot more often than Amber Rudd and I talk with real people there, too. I’d say that people who must use Universal Credit for real have a better grip on the facts than Amber.