By Shaun Harkin
Universal Credit replaces different benefits but will mean a reduction in what many people can receive.
People moving onto Universal Credit are being left without benefits or any form of income for six weeks.
As a result, already overwhelmed food banks are preparing for a surge in requests.
The so-called ‘benefit cap’ will push working class families into greater deprivation.
Cuts in benefits include what’s being referred to as the ‘two-child policy’, whereby families on benefits won’t receive any additional financial help for a third or fourth child because they’re already deemed to have reached the ‘benefit cap’.
There’s no doubt this will lead to more poverty and is clearcut social engineering by the Tories. Outrageously, the Tories have created an exemption to the child tax credit limit known as the ‘rape clause’.
A third or fourth child resulting from ‘non-consensual sex’ can be exempted from the child tax credit limit. No woman should have to prove she was raped in order to access benefits for their child.
Thousands of people in receipt of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) have had their application for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) rejected by medical assessors from privately run and hugely profitable companies such as Capita.
People living with disabilities will be among the hardest hit by welfare reforms.
In 2015, the Stormont Assembly was almost collapsed over the implementation of Tory welfare reforms in the North.
Instead, the DUP/SF Executive handed the power to legislate on welfare back to Westminster.
With widespread opposition to the Tory attack on benefits cuts across all communities, by handing welfare powers back to London both the DUP and Sinn Fein could claim the cuts had nothing to do with them.
Sinn Fein promised financial mitigations from the block grant would protect the most vulnerable but that simply isn’t happening.
Despite all the promises and pledges from Stormont, the Bedroom Tax is also being implemented in the North.
Sinn Fein described anti-cuts campaigners as ‘scaremongering’ when they warned Bedroom Tax mitigations, set to run out in 2020, would not cover everyone.
It’s now clear they don’t cover everyone.
When the financial mitigation runs out the number of people who can be hit with the Bedroom Tax will rocket to 30,000.
The harsh consequences of the decision by the SF/DUP Executive to allow the Tories to implement welfare reform here are now becoming clear. Tory welfare reform should and could have been stopped.
Now it’s crucial we build a people power campaign to resist its implementation, to defend those on the receiving end of brutal cuts and to push for the complete abolition of policies hurting working class communities.