Universal Credit debate 2018/19

Submitted by Zac Muddle on 21 October, 2019 - 5:23 Author: Will Sefton, Luke Hardy
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Submitted by martin on Tue, 31/08/2021 - 10:52

These are some ideas for transforming the benefits system which emerged from the debates running up to Workers' Liberty conference 2019.

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We want to replace the current mean and punitive benefit system with a welfare system explicitly committed to the following principles:

That the benefit system is not just a safety net but a mechanism for the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the working class. Especially the poorest, disabled people and those carrying out unpaid care work including as parents.

That the benefit system guarantees the universal right to decent housing, access to continuing education, access to free universal child care and a decent standard of living to all.

That the benefit system complements and supports union organisation and workers rights by not forcing people into un-unionised, casualised work, encourages union membership and provides access to the benefit system for those on strike.

To those ends we propose the following measures:
1. An end to the benefit freeze; uprating of benefits in line with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
2. Reversal of all cuts and reductions in benefits; increases to a level where they can afford a comfortable, not minimum, income.
3. Entitlement conditions that are straightforward, inclusive and available to all, including migrants (scrap ‘No recourse to public funds’).
4. Payment of benefits for all children and dependents.
5. Abolition of all sanctions.
6. The scrapping of Work Capability and similar assessments.
7. Relevant health issues to be addressed using medical professionals with appropriate knowledge of individuals’ conditions and disabilities.
8. Delivery by adequate numbers of paid public servants, via networks accessible to everyone, including provision of face-to face support for all who need it.
9. Reversal of all DWP cuts and privatisation
10. The right of different members of a household to divide the claiming of benefits.
11. Repeal of the longstanding Tory measure stopping access to benefits for workers on strike.
12. Quicker initial payments, more frequent payments.

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