Universal credit has become a serious threat to public health, doctors have said, after a study revealed that the stress of coping with the new benefits system had so profoundly affected claimants’ mental health that some considered suicide.

Public health researchers found overwhelmingly negative experiences among vulnerable claimants, including high levels of anxiety and depression, physical problems and social isolation exacerbated by hunger and destitution.

“Universal credit is not only failing to achieve its stated aim of moving people into employment, it is punishing people to such an extent that the mental health and well-being of claimants, their families and of [support] staff is being undermined,” the report states.

At our meeting on the 10th November the members present discussed concerns about the roll-out of UC last month in Norwich. It was introduced in Dereham in June, and is due to be rolled out in Fakenham and North Walsham in December. On balance members present took the view that the system is so discredited that a future Labour Government should scrap the system and introduce a replacement service with the welfare of claimants at its core. The full text of the motion can be found here.

This motion has now been submitted to the General Secretary for consideration by the NEC.

Norfolk Against Universal Credit is organising demonstrations and event to highlight the significant issues with Universal Credit.

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