Ex PM's John Major and Gordon Brown Condemn Universal Credit.
A Tale of Two Ex - Prime Ministers.
I wrote the other day that John Mcdonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that if Labour wins power Universal Credit would be scrapped. Now two ex-Prime Ministers namely Sir John Major and Gordon Brown have joined in the debate on this controversial 6 in 1 benefit.
Gordon Brown who was in power for Labour between 2007 - 10 expressed worries about the rollout and implementation of UC. Sir John Major who preceded Tony Blair as Prime Minister spoke at length on his concerns about UC.
John Major came to power on the back of Margaret Thatcher's downfall. Her downfall was caused according to an article in 'The Daily Mirror' by the Poll Tax. Back in 1990, the theory of the Poll Tax was that everyone, whether you are a duke or an ordinary working person, should pay a flat tax. In other words, everyone regardless of the class should pay the same amount of tax to their local councils. Of course, this caused an uproar and led to riots and civil disobedience. It was after this that Thatcher was ousted from power by her own MP's and replaced with John Major who went on to win the 1992 general election. Subsequently, the poll tax was scrapped and replaced with the council tax. So Sir John has likened the rollout of UC as being similar to the rollout of the Poll Tax. He has predicted unless Theresa May acts fast to either scrap or halt UC riots and civil disobedience could follow as in 1990 with the Poll Tax.
Sir John Major who has often intervened since the Tory government came to power in 2010 said, in theory, universal credit was a good idea. Replacing 6 benefits with one, however, he attacked its implementation with no thought for the consequences. Consequences where people are left five weeks without payment and consequently are finding themselves in arrears with bills. This had led unfortunately to some claimants (waiting for their first monthly instalment of UC) of taking their own lives. Sir John has argued that the government should be protecting the weak and vulnerable while they are waiting for their UC to be paid. Many have had to borrow money from family, payday loan companies, loan sharks, and even from DWP (Department of Work and Pensions). Of course, all this financial chaos has a detrimental effect on those applying for it for the first time in the ways described in this article.
Esther McVie who is overseeing the rollout of UC has come clean and stated recipients could be £200.00 a month worse off. She is coming under increasing pressure from some of her fellow Tory MP's, opposition MP's and others to halt or scrap the benefit. McVie breaking cover like this and stating the above is a complete break from the official line coming out of Downing Street.
There is a petition operated by pressure group 38 Degrees to stop or halt UC. Likewise in the 'Daily Mirror,' there is also a petition to do the same thing and they are hoping to get 15,000 signatories.
John Major added in his diatribe against UC that the British people have a sense of fair play. However, the way UC was being inflicted on the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society was not fair.
Could history repeat itself? Just as Margaret Thatcher was brought down by the Poll Tax controversy could the same happen with Theresa May and Universal Credit? It is possible as May what with Brexit and everything else going on around her could fall for many reasons. The obituary in May's career as Prime Minister has not been written yet. It seems come what may she has a steely determination to hang on in there. Like Margaret Thatcher, she may have to be dragged kicking and screaming from No 10. I for one will be glad to see the back of this evil and uncaring pathetic excuse for a government.
How DWP Woman Esther McVie Voted.
General Universal Credit Info.
Single Under 25 £251.77
Single and over 25 £317.82
A couple both under 25 £395.00
A Couple both over 25 £489.89
The benefit is paid monthly as opposed to fortnightly under the old benefit system. Usually, you have to wait about 5 weeks before the first payment. You are paid apparently on 7 of every month.
If you cannot wait for your first payment you can receive an advance payment. The downside is you will probably have to pay it back.
If you are privately renting an amount will be given in your UC payment which you yourself must pay to your landlord. You must have a bank or building society account to receive payment and if you do not you must make it known to DWP online.
To be able to receive UC one of the requirements is that you must attend the jobcentre for an interview. There you will make what is called a commitment to look for work. No difference really from the old system with the requirements that you must be able and willing to look for work, attend courses etc. This only applies to those who were formerly on Jobseekers Allowance. Information for those not on JSA is available on the government DWP website.
You can work and continue to receive UC and the sickness benefit ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) will also be replaced by UC. Unfortunately, the same regime of going through a so-called health professional will continue.
What will be the fate of Universal Credit in the coming days, weeks, months, years and under a new government remains to be seen?