The following motion was moved by Toby Jarman and carried by members at a General meeting of the CLP on 10 November 2018 following a lengthy and interesting debate.
Broadland CLP welcomes the decision by Conference 2018 to support Composite motion 3 “In-work Poverty”. We note that the motion calls for “An immediate halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit and a fundamental overhaul of the system”. Furthermore, we welcome the statement made by John McDonnell our Shadow Chancellor on Sunday 27th September; “I think we’re moving to a position now where it’s just not sustainable, it’ll have to go.”
We therefore call upon the NEC to formally adopt this as Labour Party policy, confirm that Labour in government will scrap the Universal Credit system, and work in consultation with the NPF, DPAC and other claimant organisations to develop a comprehensive, adequately funded benefits programme which provides a realistic safety net and which leaves no family in poverty. The aim of such a policy will be to eliminate the need for Food Banks by providing a basic income sufficient to meet the needs of all.
The secretary has reciecved a response from Jennie Formby’s Office: ” Thanks for forwarding Broadland CLP’s motion in relation to Universal Credit. I can confirm this has been forwarded to the relevant Policy Commission.”
According to Skwawkbox Labour has committed to voting against Hammond’s budget if the UC roll-out continues.
- Cut the five-week wait: people having to wait five weeks for their entire payment is unprecedented in social security. The excessive waiting period is causing severe poverty, food bank use, rent arrears & even homelessness
- Remove the insistence on making & managing a claim online: the Govt insists that claimants must make a Universal Credit claim online. One in three (29%) claims to Universal Credit are closed & not paid within the complicated system that people find hard to navigate
- End counter-productive sanctions (e.g. requiring people to demonstrate in an online journal that they are spending 35 hrs a week looking for work): a major study led by the University of York found that sanctions are pushing people into destitution, survival crime & ill health
- Protect domestic abuse sufferers & allow families to split their payments: it’s been estimated that in 80% of cases the payment will be paid to the male partner – problematic & harmful if domestic abuse exists in a relationship & one partner exercises coercive control
- Protect families from homelessness & give tenants the right to have their housing costs paid directly to their landlord: vulnerable people, who should be on alternative payment arrangements but are not, are getting into arrears & are put at risk of homelessness
- Reverse cuts to disabled people: Universal Credit abolishes both severe & enhanced disability premiums. Disability groups have warned that these cruel cuts to disability benefit are likely to result in them struggling to pay for basic essentials such as food & heating
- Reverse the cuts to children’s benefits: reinstate the family element & get rid of the two-child limit: it cannot be right that the Govt is making children a target for austerity, treating one child as if they matter less than another
- Support people on fluctuating incomes: the way that someone’s UC is calculated fails to take account properly of fluctuating incomes that are a fact of life for many people on low incomes, e.g those who are self-employed or in insecure work such as zero-hour contracts
- Restore work allowances: the cuts damage financial work incentives, directly contradicting the Govt’s stated agenda of ‘making work pay’. According to @CPAGUK, work allowance cuts have the greatest impact in cash terms on households in the ‘just about managing’ group
- End the freeze on social security: the Govt froze working-age benefits (Child Benefit, UC, some Tax Credits, Housing Benefit limits, JSA, Income Support & ESA) for 4 yrs from 2016. According to @resfoundation, the real cut to many benefits from the freeze is over 6%