17 October 2012
UNIVERSAL Credit is an assault in society’s weakest groups – and must be stopped in its tra cksimmediately, says the Green Party.
The Party’s Disability spokesman Jonathan Bartley said: ‘‘The Universal Credit scheme is an assault on society’s weakest, who are being forced to pay the biggest price for an economic crisis which is not of their making. For many people, welfare payments are the difference between sinking and swimming. In its current form this scheme will push many completely under.'
Mr Bartley spoke out after a report compiled for three charities found that Universal Credit, the government’s new welfare initiative, will result in nearly half a million people with disabilities and their families losing up to £58 per week.
The cuts are so serious, it’s estimated one in ten disabled households with children could lose their homes.
Mr Bartley said: ‘The welfare system provides a huge amount of the total income of many people with disabilities and their families, people who are already struggling to pay for food and stay out of debt. The Universal Credit scheme claims to be interested in helping people back to work, but what it will actually do is punish people who can’t work, for a situation which is out of their control.’
According to the report, compiled for Citizens Advice, the Children’s Society and Disability Rights UK, 100,000 children with disabilities could lose £28 per week, 230,000 people with severe disabilities with no adult to assist them could lose £28-£58 per week, under the Universal Credit scheme.
In perhaps the bitterest twist of all, up to 116,000 people with disabilities who work – the very people the coalition claims Universal Credit is designed to assist - could lose £40 per week.
Universal Credit is scheduled to begin replacing current welfare payments in 2013, with a ‘roll-out’ period of two years, meaning it will be in place in all parts of the UK by 2015.
Mr Bartley said: ‘Because of the way this is being rolled out, many people will not see any effects until it’s too late, and the policy is in firmly place and operational. It will be too late to act in 2013. Action is required now, to stop this assault on the vulnerable.’
For more information contact Zoe Hall on 0207 549 0315 or email@example.com
Notes to Editors
Spokespeople available for interview