Yesterday was Unite the unions national day of action against Universal Credit. It was good to see Unite The Union and Jonathon Reynolds supporting this important day of action. Thank you to everyone that took part.
Their main focus this year was to keep the £20 universal credit top up permanently because theres no sign of the pandemic ending and this money is really helping people to survive.
Please note that I’m not forgetting everyone on legacy benefits. They still need the extra £20 top up. They’re struggling and it’s important to support them also.
Myself and other campaigners such as DPAC have been campaigning against universal credit since its conception. We read the paperwork, watched the debates in parliament and we knew how terrible it would be for anyone forced to claim it.
Back when when Jeremy Corbyn became the leader of the Labour Party. Both he and John McDonnell actually listened to our worries and concerns. We were invited to parliament to discuss it. We were being listened to at last and we had some hope that things could change.
There wasn’t an echo chamber but I did feel supported to some extent. At last our voices were being heard. I hoped that this would bring about the changes that were and are needed. Still I remained sceptical, but when something is so bad, so damaging to the poorest and most vulnerable in our country you tend to hold onto every bit of hope for change. We felt supported to a degree.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t putting all of my eggs in one basket so to speak. I knew that if, and it was a narrow if Jeremy Corbyn would have been elected as prime minister there would have been some changes made to the way that universal credit is paid and how it discriminates against people.
I still doubted that Universal Credit would be stopped, however I did believe that she very important changes could have been made to change it so it wouldn’t remain the cruel system that it is now.
I was also aware that it would be a very tough battle to get him elected. There was and is opposition towards him from both sides of the political arena including the Labour Party. When he lost the election I wasn’t surprised. There’s no way that they’d have allowed someone like Jeremy to be elected.
I’m not foolish enough to think that Corbyn was the messiah and that he would sort out all the problems with our social security system. I saw it as a good step in the right direction, to start changing things for the better. I respect him for that and for all of the hard work that he has done and continues to do on behalf of us.
To say that I was deflated was an understatement. All of our hard work looked as if it would be ignored. Thankfully Debbie Abrahams and Jonathon Reynolds are continuing the campaign.
I am a tad annoyed that there wasn’t any show of solidarity from Sir Kier Starmer. It would have been nice to have a show of solidarity, no matter how shallow but there was nothing.
To explain why I’m so frustrated at this I’ll explain further.
I and others have been campaigning against universal credit since its conception. I’ve stood outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for years, in the rain, snow, when ill, helping people to navigate this evil system. We offered and still offer help, advice, solidarity, food and compassion. All of this is missing from the DWPs remit.
Universal Credit is immensely complicated, it discriminates against everyone claiming it. It pushes people further into poverty and absolute poverty. The very fact that you have to wait at least five weeks for your first payment says it all.
The five week wait ensures that everyone will have rent arrears, and they won’t be able to buy food. Oh! But they can get a loan they say… Yes you can, but you then have to chose wether the money goes to pay the rent or does it buy you some food…. If you’re hungry then you’re going to choose the latter.
Universal credit ensures that any person claiming it remains in debt. The loans from the DWP have to be paid back and I’ve never spoken to anyone that actually manages to receive their full payments. Lets also not forget about other none DWP related debts that are garnished from a persons monthly payment.
If that isn’t bad enough, this system punishes you even further. DWP advisors give claimants unachievable goals… You must continue to look for work… It doesn’t matter if theres a pandemic and you have to self isolate… Claimants have to do as their told or else.
It’s no coincidence that the levels of homelessness have shot up as a result of rent arrears. For any caring person it makes no sense to force someone into debt. Having a home, shelter and food are basic requirements. It’s a sad indictment of the governments cruelty that they don’t consider this as a necessity.
There is so much more that I can tell you about how awful universal credit is, but you get the gist. It’s horrific, people have died and will die as a result of being sanctioned and of failing so called DWP medical assessments and the thought of attending one of their assessments. It’s heartbreaking.
Universal Credit was designed to punish the working class because they’re poor, because they need some help, have hit hard times, are disabled or ill. After all theres nothing that the Tory Party hates more than the working class.
What the Tory party wont tell you is that they see us all as a commodity, to be used to make money for themselves and their friends. If you’re ill or disabled then they value you as worthless, so they neglect you to the point of destitution. It’s so bloody awful.
I am hoping that the Labour Party will carry on with the good work that had previously been done by ourselves, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. I know that Jonathon Reynolds is trying to push this as is Debbie Abrahams.
There shouldn’t be a wall of silence from the leader of the opposition regarding universal credit and the suffering of the working class. It might not be trendy but its damn well important. Here’s hoping that he will in the future.
To everyone that is trying to survive whilst claiming universal credit.. You aren’t worthless, you aren’t stupid, you aren’t lazy or work-shy and you aren’t a commodity to be used whenever the DWP and the Tory party feels like it.
You are the bravest people that I know, you’re braver and smarter than any Tory MP is. In my eyes each and every one of you are heroes and I will never stop campaigning on your behalf.
Please know this.. There are lots of campaigners out there like myself that do care. We will speak up on your behalf and we will continue the fight for a fairer system, one that cares for each and every one of you. You all deserve this.
I hope that you are all as ok as you can be. I know that many of us are dreading Christmas for many reasons. Please know that I’ll be thinking of you. If you need to talk you know where I am.
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. It’s vital that we continue to get the truth out there.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads my blog, shares it and supports my blog and campaign. It really does mean the world to me.
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