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Josephine Tucker @josietucker
, 18 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
What have people lost from social security cuts this decade? How much is down to #universalcredit? Should we focus on reviewing/fixing UC, or on reversing cuts, many of which affect the ‘legacy’ system too. Both: the amount of money matters, but so does the system’s design (1/18)
First, cuts. There have been calls for £2bn to be put back into #universalcredit. That would be good, but remember a whopping £37bn has been cut from working-age social security since 2010. Most cuts apply to both the legacy system and UC, but UC takes cuts further. (2/18)
The freeze on working-age benefits is the biggest single cut - for years support hasn’t risen with rents or inflation. Over the decade failure to uprate benefits properly will cost the poorest 10% of households over 10% of their income.… (3/18)
Families with children lose very large amounts. This graph shows losses through cuts since 2010 (purple = 2010-2015, yellow = 2015-2020, brown = 2015-2020), in tax credits but they have carried into UC. (4/18)
This graph shows cuts to #universalcredit since it was first designed. Single parents are hit very hard indeed. (5/18)
Families with 3 children (or more) face particularly enormous losses and a sharp rise in poverty. Money for children has been cut generally, and the 2-child limit removes support in tax credits/UC completely for 3rd or later children.… (6/18)
Disabled people have also faced a barrage of cuts. Among other cuts, half a million ppl preparing to go/return to work lose ~£30 a week in ESA cuts. 100,000 disabled children and 230,000 severely disabled adults also see their money slashed in UC.… (7/18)
For some people these losses add up to be mind-bendingly large. A disabled single parent with a disabled child, for example, loses on average nearly £10,000 a year in support from tax/benefit reforms this decade.… (8/18)
So people are right to say it’s not just about #universalcredit. But on top of cuts in legacy benefits which are carried into UC, moving to UC will still make most families worse off. Table shows working families but most non-workers also lose.… (9/18)
Then, design and function. There are many reasons to worry about #universalcredit rollout, and call for fixes, while acknowledging that stopping UC wouldn’t reverse most cuts. (10/18)
Monthly assessment of pay and circumstances can cause havoc with budgeting and even lead to arbitrary benefit capping of people in work.… (11/18)
The 5-week wait for a first payment remains a big problem. Advances have to be repaid and repayments - plus other deductions - can cause significant hardship as cases from @CPAGUK #earlywarningsystem show. (12/18)
The rewards from work in #universalcredit are limited and have been slashed by work allowance cuts. A single parent would have to work almost 2 extra months a year full time (if on national living wage) just to make up for those cuts.… (13/18)
This is combined with heavier conditionality. Yes that’s happened in the legacy system too but it’s worse in #universalcredit. Parents of 3yos can be sanctioned, and with all benefits in one, sanctions stay with you if you become too ill to comply or have a new baby. (14/18)
With all benefits in one, money for children is not protected. @CPAGUK has spoken to single parents w/ young children receiving NOTHING to live on, because their UC is reduced by the benefit cap but their landlord is automatically paid the full housing amount leaving £0. (15/18)
Self-employed people will be hit by the minimum income floor in #universalcredit which will arbitrarily treat them as if they’re earning more than they are. Many groups representing the self-employed have spoken out.… (16/18)
Those are just some of the design issues. On top of those, the administration of the system can’t cope with current numbers of claimants. Key processes are being done manually, leading to widespread errors, and help is hard to access.… (17/18)
To summarise: we need to reverse devastating cuts like the freeze and two-child limit to stop poverty soaring, whether or not we stick with #UniversalCredit. We should also suspend the #universalcredit rollout & look at whether the flaws which cause hardship can be fixed. (18/18)
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