Kate Hollern MP

Working Hard for Blackburn

A better plan for Universal Credit

One of the government’s key welfare policies is the move to Universal Credit. The idea behind Universal Credit is that instead of receiving numerous payments of different types of benefit (Housing benefit, Jobseekers Allowance, etc), a claimant will receive a single monthly payment.

The Universal Credit programme has been a catalogue of errors so far and has been a source of real embarrassment for the government. The project has been delayed and is well over budget, word on the grapevine is that the full cost of the project's overspend is yet to be revealed.

Universal credit is going to change the lives of many in Blackburn, by the year 2020-21 18,000 households in Blackburn will be in receipt of Universal Credit payments. The move to Universal Credit is staggered so over the next few years, more and more people will be moved onto the new system.

Although many support the idea of a simplified benefits system, sadly the government’s cuts agenda means that many children will become poorer because of changes. That’s why today Labour took it to the Tories and questioned how a government can justify pushing children into poverty.

One of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government was the concentrated and strategic work it did in bringing down the levels of child poverty in the UK, research from the IFS has projected that the great work done by Labour will be almost entirely reversed by these government plans.

Last summer the current government announced two big cuts to in work benefits support, one was the cuts to tax credits that Labour pressure saw abandoned. The second is cuts to Universal Credit, that cut came into effect on April 11th this year.

In real terms, just some of the effects include;

  • Families with children will lose out of up to £2630 per year.
  • 100, 000 disabled children will lose up to £29 per week as the government cuts the disabled child addition.
  • Disabled Lone Parents with Young Carers stand to lose £58 per week as a results of the loss of the Severe Disability Premium under Universal Credit.

These numbers will sound staggering to many, and they are. That’s why Labour want another way, a better way.

Government simply must now issue a revised impact assessment so MPs can understand how the cuts to Universal Credit have changed the likely effects of the policy.

We want the government to ensure that the Universal Credit system reduces, rather than increases child poverty and we want a full reversal of cuts to the work allowance of Universal Credit.

I understand these cuts will cause distress and concern to many in Blackburn, we’ll keep fighting them in parliament and you can always contact my office for advice. 

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