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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

Universal Credit: Campaign launched as three million people set for benefit stoppage, and charities gagged!

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LEADING campaigners, union leaders and politicians are backing the Mirror’s Stop the Universal Credit Cruelty campaign, and now Charity Today have thrown their support behind the paper’s campaign.

Writing for the Mirror, Labour’s Sadiq Khan called Universal Credit ‘flawed, cruel and harmful’.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, said: “We need an urgent conversation about how work is made to pay so people can live in dignity… not punished by the Department for Work and Pensions and pressed into pauperism.”

Until now, only people making a new application have gone onto Universal Credit. Soon the three million people receiving benefits or tax credits under the old system will get a letter telling them their benefits will be stopped and they need to reapply for support.

The Department for Work & Pensions has published an initial plan about how this next stage of Universal Credit could look, and by the end of October 2018, they will have made a final decision on what the process will look like.

Anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust fears the next stage could lead to a significant increase in foodbank use.

Emma Revie, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust, explains:

“We created our benefits system in this country to free people from poverty, not lock them into it. As we look at the current plans for the next stage of Universal Credit, we’re anxious that our network of foodbanks could see a significant increase in people needing help. Leaving three million people to wait at least five weeks for a first payment – especially when we have already decided they need support through our old benefits or tax credits system – is just not good enough.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. We know the problems people are likely to face as they move over to the new system so that we can learn from them. The Department for Work and Pensions has shown they can act on evidence from the frontline to make a real difference to people who need our benefits system’s vital support. Now is the time for our Government to take responsibility for moving people currently on the old system over, and to ensure no one faces a gap in payments when that moves happens. Universal Credit needs to be ready for anyone who might need its help, and it needs to be ready before the next stage begins.”

Charities gagged by ministers over universal credit

Many charities and companies working with universal credit claimants have been banned from criticising or harming the reputation of the work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.

Around 22 organisations have been made to sign gagging clauses as part of their contracts, worth a total of £1.8billion with the government.

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