Tories plough on with Universal Credit without vital fixes

SNP MP Neil Gray has slammed Amber Rudd as she confirmed 10,000 people would go through a managed migration pilot with no assurances from the Secretary of State that any changes would be made to the deeply flawed system.

When questioned by the SNP MP in the House of Commons today, the Secretary of State was unable to commit to making any changes before the summer but confirmed the managed migration pilot would go ahead for thousands of people, adding to the million and a half already forced onto Universal Credit.

Serious concerns have been raised over the Tory government’s flagship welfare policy, with the SNP leading calls for the roll-out of the system to be urgently halted and fixed so that it provides real value and support for those claiming social security.


Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0]

Commenting, SNP spokesperson on Social Justice Neil Gray MP said: “The UK government have confirmed that the rollout of Universal Credit managed migration to 10,000 people could happen without any changes to the deeply-flawed system that operates at present.

“Contrary to the rhetoric trailed in the media at the weekend, Amber Rudd has rolled back on any concrete plans to make Universal Credit work.

“It is a disgrace that the Secretary of State is happy to use people as guinea pigs by continuing with managed migration to this flawed welfare system, which has already forced many thousands of households and children into poverty.

“Despite happily going along with the media circus on Sunday, it’s business as usual for the Tories and the Secretary of State is doing nothing more than kicking the can down the road.

“Whilst Universal Credit still carries the punitive benefit freeze, two child cap and rape clause as well as the brutal sanctions regime born from ideologically-driven Tory austerity, the policy is doomed to fail our constituents.

“It contains a host of built-in cuts and structural deficiencies that must be changed for the system to have any chance of truly supporting people.

“The Secretary of State must wake up to the calls of charities, experts, community groups, devolved governments and the UN – it’s time to fix Universal Credit once and for all.”

Vauxhall Food Bank – photo credit: Newfrontiers via photopin cc

It comes despite a recent admission that Universal Credit is pushing poor and vulnerable people to foodbanks.

Commenting during a recent visit to a Jobcentre, Amber Rudd said: “There have been issues previously, when UC started, with the time it took to get people the money that they needed, and we have addressed some of those.

“First of all, the vast majority of people, around 84 per cent, get the money they are expecting on time. I want to continue the improvement on that. It wasn’t like that when it first started.

She continued: “It was those elements, of getting the money into people’s hands earlier which were critical to stop the growth in foodbanks.

“I regret the growth there has been in food banks and I hope that these changes will stop that.”

Responding to an announcement of a delay in the roll-out of Universal Credit, that would have affected an estimated three million households, Margaret Greenwood MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “Hopefully the Government is waking up to the devastating implications of its so-called ‘managed migration’ to Universal Credit.

“However, Universal Credit is deeply flawed and many people are due to move onto it outside of managed migration. The policy is simply not working: it is pushing many families into poverty, rent arrears and to food banks.

“The Government needs to stop the roll out of Universal Credit as a matter of urgency and deliver a social security system that supports people rather than one that pushes many into poverty.”

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