The horror of Universal Credit shows why we need to devolve welfare to Wales
Aaron Wynne, Plaid Cymru County Councillor
Universal Credit is currently being rolled out in my area. Both Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Job Centres, which cover the vast majority of Conwy County, is signing people on to the new system.
According to the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, two-parent families are set be £2,400 a year worse off, with single-parent families suffering an even harder financial punch in the guts.
Already poor families can scarcely afford such a financial squeeze.
In March 2018, Conwy Councillors supported my motion to call on the UK Government to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit, and that powers over welfare should be devolved to the National Assembly for Wales.
The Universal Credit poverty trap will plummet its claimants into a black hole of hunger and homelessness. Entrapment of the worst kind.
The savage sanctions regime that sees people having their money stopped for weeks and months at a time for minor errors, or a simple change in circumstances or status.
This will force families to take the humiliating walk of shame (because that’s what if feels like) past their local supermarket, and in through the door of a food bank.
It will also cause financial instability, inevitably forcing many families to surrender the very roof over their heads.
If there was any doubt, the Tories have well and truly reclaimed their title as the Nasty Party.
The risk of tenants falling into rent arrears will spike under Universal Credit. Housing Credit (packaged within UC) will now be paid to the claimant rather than to the landlord.
With families already struggling to put food on the table and with monthly unforeseen costs occurred it is easy to see why families are having to dip into their rent fund.
If a tenant becomes homeless due to rent arrears (dubbed ‘intentionally homeless’), the local authority is under no obligation to find new accommodation for that tenant. Not even in an emergency.
That’s right, we may well see a spike in the number of families living on the street. In 2018. In ‘modern Britain’, in one of the richest nation-states on the planet. Ych a fi.
Labour in Wales are still refusing to take on the responsibility for welfare and demand the system be devolved to Wales.
Under a Wales model, we could remove the sanctions culture currently rife in the benefits system.
A Wales model would be a fair system that worked to ensure that our citizens are treated as humans, and not merely as pawns on a political chessboard.
I believe that the administration of the welfare system should be devolved to Wales, as is the case in Scotland, in order to provide flexibility to mitigate the effects of this unjust policy.
Labour talk about ending hunger and poverty but where they are in power, Wales, they are not taking the necessary steps to protect the people from the Westminster Government’s cruelty.
The Welsh Labour government must step up, or step aside.
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