Sunday, 14 October 2018

How bad is the Tory Universal Credit disaster?


There are so many problems with the Tory government's botched Universal Credit policy it's impossible to list them all, but here are just a few:
  • Despite the 42 day wait a shocking one in six of the unfortunate people who have been subjected to the Tory Universal Credit experiment were still not even paid in time. Imagine if the business you were involved in had a 1/6 failure rate. There'd be hell to pay.
  • Another flaw in Universal Credit means that some people would actually be financially penalised for working extra hours. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that some people would actually end up with less disposable income if they changed from working 3 days a week to 5. What kind of incompetent government economically punishes people for working longer hours?
  • The way Universal Credit is paid out per household creates a very strong risk of domestic violence perpetrators taking control of the entire family budget. One victim told a committee of MPs that her husband would "wake up one morning with £1,500 in his account and piss off with it, leaving us with nothing for weeks". Shockingly the Tories have continued pushing ahead with the scheme despite these warnings, doing nothing but issuing an Orwellian statement that they take tackling domestic violence "incredibly seriously" as they simultaneously turn a deliberate blind eye to the devastating consequences of their own policy.
  • A leaked 2013 report described the absolute chaos in the Universal Credit team. One respondent said that there was "a near complete absence of anything that looks like strategic leadership in the programme", and another said "I have never worked somewhere where decision making was so apparently poor at senior levels. This programme should be a case study for how not to engage with your people to get the most out of them".
  • David Cameron had such a lax attitude to incompetence amongst his ministers that he simply ignored the hundreds of millions in scrapped IT projects and the reported administrative chaos at the DWP, allowing Iain Duncan Smith to continue as the minister responsible for the chaos until he resigned over Brexit in 2016.
  • In 2017 Labour Party and other opposition MPs voted for a "pause" in the roll-out of Universal Credit to deal with some of the most glaring flaws. The vote was won by 299 votes to 0 after the government deliberately abstained on the vote, but the Tories have carried on with the roll-out regardless.
Despite all of these problems the Tory government continue pushing on regardless. They don't care that the scheme is pushing people into poverty and Food Bank dependency; they don't care that it's an absolute gift to controlling domestic violence perpetrators; they don't care that it penalises self-employed people and entrepreneurs; they don't care that they've wasted over £500 million of public cash on this botched scheme; they don't care that it actually creates various disincentives to work; they don't care that it's years behind target; they don't care that parliament voted for them to stop and iron out some of the worst faults; and they don't care that Theresa May outright lied to the nation when she said people wouldn't be worse off just one day before the minister in charge of it admitted that they would be.

The only real hope that the Tories will stop pushing this malicious and incompetent farce is if they start getting stick from the wealthy Tory-voting landlord class who find that Universal Credit is impoverishing their tenants so much that they can't afford to pay the rent.

If the Tories won't listen to the interests of the rich, then who will they listen to?


The other option of course is a Labour government. Whether they'd "pause" the Universal Credit roll-out in order to try and fix all of the Tory flaws, or scrap it altogether is a question that will be answered by the next Labour manifesto.

Whatever the case, anyone who votes Tory in light of this absolute farce is complicit in the waste, the inefficiency, the dishonesty, the poverty, and the suffering.

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