The Bridgwater Citizens Advice Bureau has highlighted the huge problems in the roll out of Universal Credit, which is forcing many working families into debt, homelessness and towards food banks, due to the inadequacy of the implementation of the system. Universal Credit is failing to support many vulnerable people locally. Growing income inequality and insecurity accentuated by austerity is not needed in a modern society. Sedgemoor Labour Leader Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) says “We should not be experiencing a time when those people who rely on “hard work” are facing a decline in their living standards.”
Cllr Lerry launched a major attack on the failings of Universal Credit saying “Unemployment does not appear to be the problem locally it is in fact low wages. All people should be entitled to a basic income that allows individuals and families to live without the fear of debt and homelessness. Such a policy would allow families and individuals to investment in their future and the local economy. Business and employers can rely on Welfare to boost the wages of employees, which is really a subsidy for employers while employees remain on low wages. Citizens who pay their taxes are paying for this subsidy.”
The minimum wage was introduced to protect those workers in a weak bargaining position; but income inequality still exists.
Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, from 2010 until 2016 has made it his mission to cut Welfare spending, he was also the architect of Universal Credit and responsible for the roll out of the scheme. Yet in the past decade his family has received over 1 million in agricultural subsidies.
Cllr Lerry continued “Universal Credit was supposed bring all Welfare benefits under one umbrella, to make the system easier, instead the roll out has forced some people towards poverty and debt, which will be difficult to recover from. There has to be a fairer national wealth fund or system, easy to access to provide a basic income for people and a fairer distribution to allow people to take control of their lives.”