Tory chancellor Philip Hammond threw more money at the hated Universal Credit (UC) benefit in this week’s budget. MPs’ fears of unrest because of the impact of UC forced his hand.
The money won’t stop claimants being pushed further into poverty. It’s a desperate attempt to keep a rotten scheme going that should be scrapped.
MPs on the Public Accounts Committee found that UC is causing “unacceptable hardship and difficulties” for many in a report last week. They said the government’s “fortress mentality” means ministers are in “denial” about it.
An investigation by the Observer newspaper on Sunday found that UC is fuelling homelessness. One homeless shelter said a third of its clients were there partly due to UC.
And a food bank supplier warned it might have to cut its distribution to cope with the full rollout of UC—due to begin on Wednesday. But the supplier has already nearly run out of food at least three times this year.
“Universal credit leads to an increase in food bank usage,” said Dave Simmers from Community Food Initiatives North East. “Our concern is how on earth do we manage to support people.
More money for UC isn’t a gain for claimants. It means the blinkered Tories are determined to stick with it. We need to keep fighting to scrap UC.