Motion: Universal Credit crisis and transforming the benefits system

Please put this motion to your Constituency or branch Labour Party. It is based on a motion written by welfare rights and PCS activists which was submitted to Labour Party conference this year by Isle of Wight CLP, but not prioritised for discussion. If you submit or pass it, let us know:

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Transform the benefits system

This Labour Party notes:
• The steady stream of increasingly appalling revelations and scandals surrounding cuts to benefits, including those associated with the introduction of ‘Universal Credit’.
• John McDonnell’s pledge to scrap Universal Credit and the party’s announcement of a review of the whole benefits system.

The situation is shameful. Labour must completely reverse the decades-long drive, brutally accelerating since 2010, to make welfare less and less about supporting those in need and more and more stingy, punitive and coercive.  Neither Universal Credit nor the existing framework (JSA, ESA, etc) are good. We must redesign benefits in close consultation with recipients, workers and their organisations. This must be part of a wider anti-poverty program, with a goal that by the end of our first term foodbanks disappear.

Labour should clearly commit to and campaign for:

1. Ending the benefit freeze; uprating with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
2. Reversing all cuts/reductions; increasing benefits to 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. Paying benefits for all children and dependents.
5. Abolishing all sanctions.
6. Scrapping Work Capability and similar assessments.
7. Relevant health issues being addressed using medical professionals with appropriate knowledge of individuals’ conditions and disabilities.
8. Delivery by paid public servants via networks accessible to everyone, including provision of face-to face support for all who need it. Reversing DWP cuts and privatisation.

We agree to formally submit this policy to the party’s review and call on other CLPs and affiliates to submit similar.

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