Universal Credit took a battering as a host of politicians, from both sides of the aisle, had negative comments about the scheme. Gordon Brown and John Major both stated it should be halted claiming it may create poll tax-style backlash, most commonly known as riots. This was a sentiment echoed by Guardian columnist Owen Jones who stated Labour should lead the revolt against Univeral Credit.
Downing Street says it will not take lessons from Brown despite the former PM being echoed by John Major. Major in comments to the BBC stated the Tory party would:
“run into the sort of problems the Conservative Party ran into with the poll tax in the late 1980s”.
These comments come one day after Gordon Brown said the country faced:
“a return to poll tax-style chaos in a summer of discontent”
In a carcrash interview the Secretary for Work and Pensions Ester McVey when asked if people could be thousands of pounds worse of said
“some people could be worse off”
This is in contrast to the PM who has consistently defended the programme and yesterday told MPs that “transitional protections” are in place that mean people “will not see any reduction” in their benefits.
In cabinet McVey warned the PM millions of households face losing £2,400 a year from the change to Universal Credit despite the PM’s claims.
The growing pressure has come from action by John McDonnell who came out in favour of scrapping the scheme. Before this Labour’s policy was to halt and fix the reform to the benefits system.
Universal Credit has seen Foodbank use rise 52%, in areas where the rollout has been completed, and charities like the Trussell Trust worry about the effect on citizens when the change goes nationwide.
Only 8% said their full Universal Credit award covered their cost of living. This was even less for disabled people or people with ill-health, of whom 5% said the award covered their cost of living.
Many view it as another attack on disabled citizens of the United Kingdom who already must go through humiliating checks by the DWP to qualify for PIP, even those who have lifelong disabilities.