“The Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has been campaigning against Universal Credit ever since Rugby was chosen as a pilot area for it in 2012, regularly talking to claimants outside Rugby Job Centre. We have seen a significant rise in evictions, homelessness, food bank use and poverty in Rugby as a direct result of claimants being put on to Universal Credit, as is well documented.
"We are therefore delighted that Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd has today announced that the Government is scrapping plans to roll-out Universal Credit to a further three million claimants this year whilst they take stock and study the results of a new pilot scheme that will transfer just 10,000 claimants onto Universal Credit.
"Universal Credit is fatally flawed. The suffering it has caused claimants in Rugby needs to be seen to be believed, and we have regularly sent cases to local Tory MP Mark Pawsey, and have met with him to outline our concerns. Cases in Rugby include a man in his 50’s, with blindness caused by a brain disorder, with sick notes from his doctor, who had been receiving £691 a month whilst on Income Support which was reduced to £291 a month once he had been transferred onto Universal Credit; a 61 year old woman reduced to tears when describing how rent arrears caused by Universal Credit had led to her landlord, Rugby Council, taking her to court under threat of eviction; a 61 year old disabled woman struggling to walk into Rugby Job Centre who had been told that, in order to qualify for Universal Credit, she would have to be actively looking for work until she was 65. She was already in rent arrears.
We have dozens of other examples of the suffering Universal Credit has caused. We are now calling on the Government to use this stalling of the roll-out to see for themselves the horrendous effects Universal Credit is having on vulnerable people. Earlier concerns about Universal Credit have already led to several delays, and the plan to move all claimants onto it has been put back over six years. We hope now the Government will see that the project needs to be completely abandoned and replaced with a fair system of social security. We will continue to campaign until that happens”
Pete McLaren, spokesperson and secretary, Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)