Labour will scrap “inhumane” Universal Credit, Corbyn vows

Sienna Rodgers

Labour in government would scrap the “inhumane” system of Universal Credit, which has been an “unmitigated disaster”, and overhaul the social security system, Jeremy Corbyn is set to confirm on Saturday.

The party plans to end the benefit cap and the two-child limit, suspend benefit sanctions, scrap the “digital only” requirement of Universal Credit, and introduce an interim payment to end the five-week wait.

Labour will also reveal its intention to help women by splitting payments, as well as not forcing women to ‘prove’ their child was born as a result of rape by abolishing the two-child limit that has been criticised by organisations such as Women’s Aid.

Addressing a rally in Chingford and Woodford Green, the Labour leader will say: “It’s time to end this cruelty. So today I can tell you that Labour will scrap Universal Credit. And we will replace the Department for Work and Pensions with a Department for Social Security – this will provide real security.

“When a Labour government takes office we will introduce an emergency package of reforms to end the worst aspects of Universal Credit. And we will introduce a new system that will be based on the principles of dignity and respect and it will alleviate and end poverty, not drive people into it.”

Corbyn will add: “We will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty by scrapping the two child limit and benefit cap. The pernicious five week wait which causes so much misery and suffering will go. We will suspend the Tories’ pernicious sanctions regime, introduce fortnightly payments, make payments directly to landlords and protect women by making split payments by defaultand never again will any woman have to fill in a four page form to prove her child was born as a result of rape.”

On the failings of the Tory welfare reform, Corbyn is expected to say: “Universal Credit has been an unmitigated disaster. As well as being behind schedule and over budget it is inhumane and cruel, driving people into poverty and hardship.

“Social security is supposed to give people dignity and respect, not punish and police them, make them wait five weeks for the first payment or fill out a four-page form to prove their child was born as a result of rape.

“The Universal Credit system sums up the priorities of the Conservatives – who think they’re born to rule. A government of the wealthy cutting taxes for the super-rich while forcing people to rely on food banks to survive.

“The Tories told us that Universal Credit would make work pay, but we have seen the opposite. More and more people who are falling into poverty have jobs, and more and more children who are growing up in poverty are living in working families.”

Commenting on the announcement, Margaret Greenwood said: “Universal Credit was meant to lift people out of poverty, simplify the social security system and smooth the transition into work. Instead it is failing those in need, pushing many into debt and rent arrears and forcing them to rely on food banks to survive.”

The Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has written a comment piece on the news for LabourList. In the article, she writes: “It is shocking that, in the face of all the evidence, the government refuses to back down on this fiasco. Labour will do things differently. We will rebuild a just social security so that it is there for anyone of us in our time of need.”

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