Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Archive for the ‘Cuts’ Category

‘Partial’ Climbdown on Universal Credit Cut?

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Ministers mull partial climbdown on Universal Credit cut after criticism of  soaring | User Walls

Ministers mull partial climbdown on universal credit cut after warnings of soaring poverty

Independent.

A partial climbdown on the looming cut to universal credit is being considered by ministers, to head off fierce criticism that huge numbers of people will be plunged into poverty.

The £20-a-week reduction would stay – but working people who receive the benefit would be allowed to keep more of their earnings, under the proposal.

The so-called “taper rate” – the amount a claimant loses for every extra pound they earn – would be reduced from 63p to 60p, if the Treasury agrees the move.

Guardian:

The Currant Bun says,

Millions of Brits face a cost of living crisis this winter — with food and gas prices rising as benefits are slashed and furlough ends.

Ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions, fearing a backlash, have reportedly handed Chancellor Rishi Sunak a package of options.

This could reduce the impact of the impending cut with extra spending in other areas.

The options include giving extra cash to councils for emergency assistance funds.

Also being discussed is reducing the taper rate for Universal Credit from 63 to 60p.

That would mean workers keep more of what they earn.

It looks like few, if any, of our contributors will he helped.

This is a surprise….

Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2021 at 9:03 am

Iain Duncan Smith, the man who created universal credit, trying “Commons coup on Monday by forcing a vote on the cut.” 

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Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit Making 'Very Little Progress', Say MPs  | HuffPost UK

Ian Duncan Smith the new friend of the Claimant.

Today sees more articles and tweets on the Universal Credit cut.

The Observer carries this:

Boris Johnson is warned today that more than 800,000 people risk being plunged into poverty as a result of an imminent cut to universal credit, amid a plot by senior Tories to force the government into a last-minute U-turn.

With Conservatives from across the party pressing for a compromise deal this weekend as ministers face a potential Commons revolt, the Observer has seen new analysis that suggests the impact of the £20-a-week cut could be severe with energy costs and food prices rising.

It finds that the extra support protected some 840,000 people from poverty in the second quarter of this year. The research from the Legatum Institute thinktank includes 290,000 children – a figure that is causing particular concerns among Tories, who fear a significant increase in child poverty after the cut. The figure includes extra universal credit help given to the self-employed.

This is the bit I found interesting, as an old scallywag and foe of this Blog has turned himself into a White Hatter and friend of the claimant.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of universal credit, is attempting to spearhead a Commons coup on Monday by forcing a vote on the cut. The vote could embarrass the government should it go ahead, with another former welfare minister, Damian Green, also backing a cross-party amendment.

Duncan Smith said that the Treasury risked repeating the mistakes of austerity by trying to bring down pandemic spending too quickly. “Universal credit levels-up because it gets people back into work, back into the sense of work,” he said. “We’ve got ourselves caught, with the Treasury now demanding that we start getting the money back from Covid. We should treat this like war debt. We can’t go back into a massive cutting exercise. Ultimately, that will affect the worst-off in society.”

Senior Tories make last-gasp bid to block £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit with Commons vote

Independent.

Iain Duncan Smith and Damian Green table amendment to Monday vote on annual pensions uprating.

Senior Tories are making a last-gasp bid to block the £20-a-week cut to universal credit, by staging a Commons showdown on Monday.

They have tabled an amendment to the annual uprating of pensions, which would block the increase unless funds are diverted to stop the benefit reduction.

A defeat would not bind the government to abandon the cut – but Iain Duncan Smith and Damian Green, who are behind the move, hope it would nevertheless force ministers to act.

In the meantime this case, flagged up by our contributors, rumbles on:

High Court challenge the denial of benefit increases for nearly 2m people with disabilities

The High Court is to decide whether it was lawful of the Government not to give nearly 2million people on disability benefits the same £1040 a-year increase that it has given Universal Credit recipients.

In a decision dated 27 April the High Court granted claimants of Employment Support Allowance permission to challenge the DWP’s decision not to increase their benefit in line with Universal Credit.

At the beginning of the pandemic the Chancellor announced a £20 per week increase to the standard allowance of Universal Credit, but this vital increase to support was not extended to those on so called ‘legacy benefits’, the majority of whom are disabled, sick or carers.

The final hearing will be held 28-29 September 2021. Further updates will be posted on the website .
High Court challenge the denial of benefit increases for nearly 2m people with disabilities

“In summary the legal challenge is based on the proposition that it is clear that because of the pandemic those dependent upon basic allowances are facing higher basic living costs, and yet despite their very similar circumstances, only some of them receive a Covid-specific uplift to help meet those costs. This unfairness calls for a properly evidenced justification, particularly as very many disabled people are disproportionately affected by this decision and the pandemic generally. Thus far the Government has failed to provide any objectively verifiable reason for the difference in treatment of people in essentially identical circumstances. ”

Written by Andrew Coates

September 19, 2021 at 10:43 am

Government Pulls Opposition Day debate on Universal Credit Cut. Instead MPs will vote on National Insurance hike.

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Government pulls plans for imminent vote on controversial universal credit  cut | The Independent

Government pulls plans for imminent vote on universal credit cut.

Universal Credit vote blocked as government scraps opposition day

Elliot Chappell. Labour List.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has told parliament that an opposition day debate, in which Labour had been planning to force a vote on a cut to Universal Credit, will not take place so that MPs can vote on the plan to raise National Insurance instead.

The leader of the House of Commons informed MPs of the change to the schedule following a statement by Boris Johnson this afternoon, in which the Prime Minister confirmed plans to break a 2019 Tory manifesto pledge with a 1.25% levy.

Johnson announced the policy as part of the funding arrangement for his long-awaited social care plan. He presented the proposal to the cabinet this morning before coming to parliament to outline his “sustainable” plan for the care sector.

Reacting to the change in scheduling, Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire said: “This morning, cabinet was bounced into the Prime Minister’s so-called social care plan and now the leader is trying to bounce parliament into accepting it in a vote tomorrow. This is no way to run a government. It’s no way to run a country.

“This Tory tax rise won’t come in until next spring, so why the rush? Does he know that he will never get it past his backbenchers, through parliament, otherwise? Is he making sure that his own MPs have as little time as possible to consult their constituents or hear from stakeholders and experts?”

Labour had been hoping to force a vote on the government’s £20-per-week cut to Universal Credit, which will take effect from October 6th. Ministers face opposition on the move from the opposition and campaigners as well as backbench Tories.

“The government have pulled Labour’s vote on the cut to Universal Credit that would have been tomorrow to vote on the NI increase instead. I will do all I can to ensure a vote still takes place. The biggest cut in the history of the welfare state must be debated in parliament,” Jonathan Reynolds said.

***

On the issue actually debated today the TUC has issued this statement.

TUC – PM’s social care announcement is “deeply disappointing” to workforce 

Commenting on today’s (Tuesday) social care announcement by the Prime Minister, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“We need a social care system that delivers high-quality care and high-quality employment. 

“New funding for social care is long overdue. But today’s announcement will have been deeply disappointing both to those who use care, and to those who provide it. 

“The Prime Minister promised us a real plan for social care services, but what we got was vague promises of money tomorrow. 

“Care workers need to see more pay in their pockets now. Nothing today delivered that. Instead, the only difference it will make to low-paid care staff is to push up their taxes. 

“This is so disappointing after the dedication care workers have shown during this pandemic keeping services running and looking after our loved ones. 

“Proposals to tax dividends should have been just once piece in a plan to tax wealth, not an afterthought to a plan to tax the low-paid workers who’ve got us through the pandemic. 

“We know social care needs extra funding. But the prime minister is raiding the pockets of low-paid workers, while leaving the wealthy barely touched. 

“We need a genuine plan that will urgently tackle the endemic low pay and job insecurity that blights the social care sector – and is causing huge staff shortages and undermining the quality of care people receive.” 

The TUC published proposals on Sunday to fund social care and a pay rise for the workforce by increasing Capital Gains Tax. 

The union body says increasing tax on dividends is a welcome first step to reforming the way we tax wealth, but that it won’t generate the revenue needed to deliver a social care system this country deserves. 

Instead, by taxing wealth and assets at the same level as income tax, the government could raise up to £17bn a year to invest in services and give all care staff a minimum wage of £10 an hour. 

TUC analysis shows that seven in 10 social care workers earn less than £10 an hour and one in four are on zero-hours contracts. 

Polling published on Sunday by the TUC showed that eight in 10 working adults – including seven in 10 Conservative voters – support a £10 minimum wage for care workers. 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 8, 2021 at 11:54 am

Posted in Cuts, DWP, Tories, Universal Credit

Tagged with , ,

Cut in Universal Credit Dominates Benefits News.

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Image

Our contributors raise issues about benefits sanctions, work ‘coaches’, the Work and Health Programme and Training Services, which got money from the European Social Fund, Restart, the risks of opening Job Centres, Internet Access, and the State Pension and Pension Credit (well worth applying for if you have little money and, obviously, no private pension).

When this Blog was first set up we exchanged a lot of experience on back-to-work ‘schemes’, including placements in variety of companies and public services. Many had serious difficulties with them, probably most with the ‘courses’ given by enterprises like SEETEC. They now seem to be have got set up again.

But the news on Benefits remains overshadowed by the coming cut in Universal Credit.

‘We keep on struggling’: Families on Universal Credit prepare for life without the £20 uplift

Some people, on Legacy Benefits, never got that “uplift”.

Sky.

It’s just under a month to go until the £20 Universal Credit uplift, put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, comes to an end.

It’s being called the biggest overnight social security cut since World War Two.

This autumn, as the government seeks to claw back some of the unprecedented emergency spending undertaken since COVID-19 hit the UK, familiar security blankets like the £20 uplift to Universal Credit are set to be removed.

It won’t be without its consequences.

Doctors, charities and even some Conservative MPs are calling on the government to rethink its decision to end the uplift.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says that most parts of England, Scotland and Wales will see more than one in three families and their children affected as a result of the £1,040-a-year .

The Trussell Trust estimates that nearly a quarter of a million parents on Universal Credit fear not being able to sufficiently put dinner on the table for their children when the £20 cut comes into force from October.

Benefits Boss Coffey has been on a jolly in Japan.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 5, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Local Impact of £20 a Week Universal Credit Cut: Ipswich Onwards…

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No Cuts To Universal Credit | Megaphone UK

Yesterday East Anglia Bylines carried this story:

Universal Credit cuts threaten Tory MPs in the East

Stephen McNair

Extracts.

The government’s planned cuts to Universal Credit will hit one family in five in East Anglia. Will the region’s Conservative MPs dare to back the Chancellor’s plan?

What about East Anglia?

In East Anglia 320,000 families receive Universal Credit, more than half of them with children. Forty percent of these claimants are in work, but not earning enough to meet the minimum needs for basic living. In every constituency more than 10% of families are on Universal Credit, and that percentage rises to over 25% in five of them (see table below). So the blow is going to be felt right across the region.

Will our region’s Conservative MP’s back the cut?

Thirty nine of the region’s 41 MPs are Conservatives, and the Party has traditionally been opposed to generous welfare benefits of any kind. However twelve of the region’s Conservative MPs have majorities smaller than the number of Credit claimants.  At the extreme, in Peterborough Paul Bristow MP has a majority of only 2,580, but 18,360 voters on Universal Credit.

So the Universal Credit cut is a real threat to at least ten of the region’s MPs, especially in Peterborough, Ipswich and Norwich North, where the Conservatives hold the seat with narrow majorities.  

Note, one would hope so, but people in working class Peterborough have already voted for those opposed to their own interests.

In Waveney, Peter Aldous has already written to the Prime Minister calling for the cut to be cancelled.  It will be interesting to see how large a rebellion there will be on the government benches when the issue comes to Parliament. Will our MPs be prepared to inflict cuts on such a large proportion of their own constituents, or will they swallow their traditional principles, and vote to block this cut?

Note, it is to be very much doubted that (many?) others will follow, though some might. The hard right Ipswich Tory MP Tom Hunt is more obsessed with fighting ‘cultural Marxism’ than standing up for constituents on Universal Credit.

One can hardly avoid mentioning that the MP for Suffolk Coastal, which adjoins Ipswich is this figure is the DWP Minister carrying out the brutal cuts…

Where will the cuts bite hardest?

The constituencies most affected are listed here. All are held by Conservatives (we highlight one..)

ConstituencyCountyMP2019 MajorityFamilies on universal credit or working tax creditsPercentage of families on universal credit or working tax credits
IpswichSuffolkTom Hunt5,47912,20024.3%

Yesterday the Ipswich Star published this:

‘Massive impact’ as 58,000 people to lose £20 a week in benefits

Citizens Advice has found itself helping many more younger people during the pandemic, with Mrs Harrison saying the “jobs they were in are no longer there”.

She has argued that a “delay would be ideal – especially to try to get over the winter period”.

Waveney (Note, this includes Lowestoft which has a large working class and some very poor areas) MP Peter Aldous is one of those calling for the £20 a week uplift to be made permanent.

Today, local press is doing its job.

‘Forced to live off £8.30 a day’ – man’s fear at impending benefit cut.

The princely sum of £8.30 might buy you a cinema ticket, a meal for one at a restaurant or a couple of ready meals from the supermarket.

But one Universal Credit claimant from Suffolk is facing up to the harsh reality of a life where that will be his daily budget – as he braces himself for a £20 a week cut to his benefits.

The claimant, a young autistic adult with chronic fatigue syndrome, was an electrician before the pandemic and lost his job in a kitchen as the Covid crisis started.

Since then, the man – who has asked us not to use his name – said he has been “struggling on the benefit system”.

This is a familiar story to our readers,

He says this is “barely enough as it is” – but with the government set to remove the uplift on October 6, the claimant is now asking: “How do they expect everyone to survive?”

“It will cause devastation to so many families across the UK,” said the man, who is one of 58,069 people in the county claiming Universal Credit.

“I can barely afford the things I need with the £20 uplift.

The details makes it worse.

When it gets reduced, people will be forced to live off of £8.30 a day, roughly. This is disgusting and cannot be allowed to happen.”

The claimant also argues the the DWP’s removal of the uplift contradicts letters he has had from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which warn of the continuing dangers of Covid-19.

“How on one side can the DWP cut off financial support to the most vulnerable people in our society, with the excuse of ‘this was only a temporary increase because of the coronavirus pandemic’, and then on the same day the DHSC can send me a letter saying that Covid-19 remains a threat?.

“So the DWP is saying we don’t need to provide you extra financial support, but the DHSC is saying that the virus remains a threat? It is so ignorantly stupid and a contradiction.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is very much still happening. Those who are vulnerable and disabled in our society still do not feel safe to return to normal.

“The DWP cannot be allowed to get away with this.”

Hats off to the Ipswich Star and the East Anglian Daily Times for the report.

This story can be reproduced across the country, and it is not hard to imagine our contributors having worse experiences of living on existing benefits. Not hard because many have written about it.

There are of course those on Legacy Benefits who never got the uplift.

UK Government urged to scrap plans to axe £20 Universal Credit increase.

ITV.

Ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have called on the UK Government to scrap plans to axe the £20 increase to Universal Credit and instead make the higher rate of payment permanent.

In a letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, they branded the change, which is due to come into effect in September, as the “biggest overnight reduction to a basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.”

Ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont raised concerns about the impact the reduction would have on poverty.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2021 at 5:29 pm