Esther McVey keeps telling lies because no one but the Tories supports universal credit roll out

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On Monday, the  work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, announced some changes to the plans to manage the transfer of 3 million people on to universal credit following stark warnings from its own expert advisers that ithe government was not doing enough to stop thousands of vulnerable claimants being put at risk of hardship. 

McVey’s announcement followed a report by the government’s social security advisory committee (SSAC) that warned of “significant concerns” that the universal credit plans were rushed, too complex and placed too much risk on claimants. MPs will debate the ‘migration’ regulations over the next few weeks.

The government’s original plans have been widely criticised by front-line charities and others, with predictions that vulnerable people could be plunged deeper into poverty and that some people entitled to benefits could be left with no income whatsoever. The rules have been subject to a review by the SSAC, who presented their report to Department for Work and Pensions earlier in the autumn. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now said it will look again at 11 of the report’s 12 recommendations for change. McVey told the Commons on Monday: “We will take a measured approach to delivering managed migration, taking our time to get it right and working with claimants to co-design it.”

It’s rather late in the day for a democratic consultation with claimants, and it’s not as if the Conservatives have ever included ordinary citizens in the design of their policies, they tend to reserve that level of inclusion only for the very wealthy. 

The DWP has announced a number of measures as part of £1bn package announced in the budget to help claimants’ ‘transition’ to universal credit, including providing two weeks’ additional benefit to unemployed claimants to help them manage the five-week wait for a first UC payment. That isn’t enough. Leaving people – including families with children, and disabled people – without any money to meet their basic needs for at least 3 weeks is completely unacceptable. 

The SSAC report followed a consultation in which it received a record 455 responses, including more than 300 from individual claimants or their carers. It noted that it had been “particularly struck by the degree of anxiety” about managed migration expressed by this group.

Sir Ian Diamond, the SSAC chair, said he was pleased that the government had largely accepted the committee’s advice, but said much detail still had to be worked out. He said he was disappointed that the DWP had rejected a key recommendation to abandon plans to force all existing benefit claimants to make a claim for universal credit before they could be migrated to it. 

The DWP said making a new claim was essential to ensure all data was up to date. If that were the only reason, then why make people wait 5 weeks before their first payment? A government reform should not result in people – disabled people, lone parents, families – having no income for any length of time, let alone 3 weeks.

Frank Field, who chairs the Commons work and pensions select committee, said: ”[McVey] could not ignore the swell of expert voices warning that the government’s approach to moving vulnerable people to universal credit could end in disaster and destitution. The department deserves credit for listening, but its response fails to provide in full the necessary safeguards for claimants.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood called on the government to pause the rollout of universal credit.

She said: “The Budget last week did little to address the very long wait for payments which is causing significant hardship.”  

“Despite this the government is now planning to start the next phase of introduction of universal credit which it calls managed migration which will involve the transfer of £2.87m onto it.

“Universal credit is failing, the opposition has consistently called on the government to stop the rollout but this government is pressing ahead despite the terrible hardship it is causing.”

Mental health charity, Mind spokeswoman Vicky Nash said: “These regulations have confirmed what we have long feared and argued against – that in the move over to Universal Credit (UC) three million people, including hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems, will be forced to make a new claim.

This risks many being left without income and pushed into poverty.”

Yesterday, Mind called out the Conservative Party Work and Pensions Secretary , accusing her of lying about them in Parliament. McVey implied in Parliament that the charity supports the government’s new regulations for Universal Credit. In her statement to the Commons, McVey said:

“Other charities have been saying this Department now is listening to what claimants are saying, charities are saying and MPs are saying. 

“Trussell Trust has said that. Gingerbread have said that. Mind have said that.”

Mind released a statement on Twitter as they felt “it was important to set the record straight.” 

Gingerbread have also denounced McVey’s claims:

McVey has been caught out ‘misleading’ Parliament before. In June she was criticised by Sir Amyas Morse, of the National Audit Office (NAO), after she made false claims to parliament following a highly critical report by the government watchdog.

McVey was forced to present a humiliating apology following the rebuke by the NAO for falsely claiming the government spending watchdog had asked for an ‘accelerated’ rollout of universal credit. 

Furthermore, McVey’s assurance, in response to the NAO report, that Universal Credit was working was also “not proven”, Morse said. 

The NAO report concluded that the new system – being gradually introduced to replace a number of benefits – was “not value for money now, and that its future value for money is unproven”.

The report also accused the government of not showing sufficient sensitivity towards some claimants and failing to monitor how many are having problems with the programme, or have suffered hardship.

In its report, released in June, the NAO highlighted the hardship caused to claimants by delays in receiving payments under universal credit.

Paragraph 1.3c of the Ministerial code says: “Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

Telling lies about other people is particularly despicable, especially from a position of power. But that is how Conservatives have traditionally justified their exceptionally draconian policies.



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14 thoughts on “Esther McVey keeps telling lies because no one but the Tories supports universal credit roll out

  1. It’s time we started talking about the fact they’re selling off our Social Security the same way the did the NHS Atos Maximus Capita Serco G4S Concentrix Virgin Care and many other multinationals fully installed in our infrastructure already in place for when they sell us off to the so called ‘Trade deals’ which are nothing more than corporate protectionism #TTIPAnimationYouTube which will allow them to sue even the government if they stop them making a profit now or in the future. We need to push out the truth the same way as we did/are doing to save the NHS from privatisation

    Liked by 4 people

  2. it is beyond my comprehension why you have to “apply” for UC when you are already being paid any form of social security. The dwp know fine well what monies you are receiving and i see this as no more than another devious sly tory plan to stop people receiving the monies they desperately deserve.
    And given they know what monies you recieve and when, why can’t the DWP do the leg work beforehand rather than stopping claims and making people apply from scratch. Surely they could write to the claiment datailing what they will be paid and when, then if they agree they can sign a form and payments will proceed on a given date with a smooth transition over from one payment system to another .
    Maybe this is too easy, or I’m a simpleton missing something,or it is jus too much like common sense for the dwp to apply because as per usual it seems they complicate a matter for the sake of it, which leads me to think the persons that designed this policy are clueless as to how ordinary people live and we all don’t have thousands in the bank to tide us over.
    It’s like the DLA/PIP debacle all over again and why not have a straight switch istead of being “invited” to aply for monies that you already receive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well you are right, but UC has rules that other benefits may not have and you need to apply on line so that the UC system has the data to do the claim calculations and entitlement analysis.

      UC is a complete shambles, my own experience of fighting to get put right after 2 years when my claim closed things they got wrong is an appalling indictment of the system. It is like the Euro – getting 27 currencies with disparate exchange rates on a parity basis – which is why there are 6 countries about to crash out of that.

      Amalgamating 6 benefits into one can work in a Basic Income system where you get say £16k a year and you just transfer between statuses without any bureaucratic nonsense. Say 16-18, employed, unemployed, disabled, retired. The eligibility is being a British Citizen aged 16 plus and not dead. How simple is that?

      In my view there is no proper oversight of this shambled, no structure or management if claims or when things go wrong. I had to involve my MP who had the Director of UC personally try and solve my problems, with UC which she was unable to.

      You aren’t simple, you’re seeing what everyone else is. An expensive cock up that is not delivering.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. After 2 years of my claim being closed they are still not near to remedying the problems and errors they caused which left me £4000 out of pocket. This benefit is an egregious shambles that is poorly managed and a complete disaster. Those are the only facts you need. A Basic Income payment system would be the answer, we would all be better off including those in work, retired, disabled etc. In 2016 my MP said that the government ‘weren’t even looking at Basic Income’ – as we approach the times when many more jobs will go to automation and robots they are failing to see the obvious. We need real professionals running government with real business experience not a load of hapless but well meaning amateurs.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. We should give Ms Mc Vey credit for admitting that UC has its problems, she has also inherited this shambles from others as her portfolio, it is not her creation and will not be solved overnight, as I know from my experience of this benefit.

    The answer to UC is very obvious, replace it with a Basic Income payment system without the bureaucratic bollocks that the UC / DWP seem to wrap themselves in.

    I worked for a predecessor of the DWP and I can tell you that 25 years ago even their 2 sets of guides to employment law often contradicted themselves. Frontline staff may pass things as ok but backroom nit pickers then say it is not correct, this is why there are billions of pounds worth of ‘errors’ in the benefits system, in the old days we were more efficient than the shambles now.

    Basic Income is what the thinking people know is the answer for the future and is something that will make us all better off. UC is a zombie benefit, walking towards oblivion.

    Basic income should be for anyone over 16, until they die, one payment which means you won’t be on the piss poor pittance you get from UC, (I ended up on less than £100 a month on UC), just a change of status by ticking a box, no bureaucracy, no errors, no stress. How easy is that? Too easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. UC Is very lucrative for the Tories as is the revenue amassed from gambling both resulting in many deaths …Genocide by Stealth. notice that the 12 bodies found at Beachy Head recently have been very quickly covered up by the press ..


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