Friday, 17 November 2017

Even Scrooge might have balked at Universal Credit

If further evidence was needed what a disaster the British tory government's 'Universal Credit' is it came with a shocking report released yesterday which showed that tens of thousands of households -  40,000 children among them - will receive zero income over Christmas.The Peabody Trust estimated that 60,000 households will make new claims for Universal Credit in the run up to Christmas but because of the bizarre and cruel payments system which has been devised they wont receive a single payment for 6 weeks.

In his famous novel 'A Christmas Carol' the brilliant 19th century author and social reformer Charles Dickens gave the world Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly miserable and cruel figure who thought the poor were to blame for their own poverty and that the workhouse was too soft an option for them. But it's doubtful even someone with as little compassion as Scrooge would have thought up a system which means tens of thousands of people - many of them children - face the very real prospect of near starvation over Christmas (scores of food banks have warned they cant cope as it is). And the Peabody trust's warning is of particular concern to us here in Wales with Universal Credit seeing a roll out from this month in places like Cardiff, Newport, Neath and Swansea.

Course in the novel Scrooge undergoes a 'pauline conversion' and rushes round to Bob Cratchit's house with the biggest turkey he can find. But however entertaining and warm hearted an ending that was that it was fiction - no one will be rushing round to the tens of thousands of households who face surviving without any income in the next 6 weeks. Also worth mentioning this post is being written on the same day BBC television screens its 'Children in Need' programme - what are the odds the tens of thousands of children living in households presently applying for Universal Credit wont get a mention on the beeb's annual celeb laden charity fest?

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