Universal Credit:

We fear the consequences of claimants’ transfer from existing benefits onto Universal Credit (UC) because UC:

  • Characterises claimants as ‘welfare dependent’, access to benefits is not a right but based on conditions/tests, regardless of labour market conditions and personal circumstances.
  • Uses punitive sanctions, leaving claimants in poverty, debt, and malnutrition.
  • Has reduced meagre benefit support available to disabled people, and to single parents, most of whom are women.
  • Is paid to only one person per household, leaving women in abusive relationships with no guaranteed income or financial autonomy.
  • Reduces the financial incentive for ‘second earners’ in couple households to increase their hours of work, meaning fewer women with an income of their own.
  • Was cut in 2015/6, leaving claimants, especially single parents and low paid workers, worse off.
  • Is used to cut benefit costs at the expense of claimants’ quality of life and dignity.

 

This Women’s Conference agrees to OPPOSE the roll out of UC, to SUPPORT SCRAPPING this benefit, and to PROPOSE a benefit system informed by a new way of thinking which:

 

  • Recognises that a progressive benefit system puts claimants’ right to financial support and a living income at its heart.
  • Acknowledges how social and economic changes, and changes in personal circumstances, can lead to marginalisation and demoralisation.
  • Recognises the importance for women of financial autonomy and access to an independent income
  • Breaks down the barriers to employment for disabled people and single parents with young children.
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