As the main union representing DWP workers, among other civil servants, PCS draws on the perspective of workers and those using Universal Credit in our critique on the effectiveness of the programme.
Our union has had serious concerns from the outset about the development, implementation and effect of the government’s Universal Credit programme (UC). To conclude our series of articles cutting through the positive spin the DWP is attempting to put on UC, we set out our key demands for its reform.
Our members are on the frontline, and are suffering as a result of the government’s chaotic welfare ‘reforms’, staff cuts and office closure programme. Our members see first-hand the devastating effect government policies have on the most vulnerable in our society, yet their voices and concerns are too often ignored by the Tory government.
PCS continues to oppose the huge cuts to the overall welfare budget made by the current and previous government and believe that without investment, both in our social security system, and in the staff who deliver it, the serious problems being faced by both our members and those using the system will worsen.
We have consistently made representations to DWP about the level of stress existing across Universal Credit Service Centres and, increasingly now, in the jobcentres, where staff are also being used to clear UC tasks. Despite this, DWP has refused to work with PCS.
We have fundamental concerns with the UC system and believe that without resolution, the system will fail the most vulnerable in our society and have a significant detrimental impact on UC claimants and their dependents.
Our key demands on Universal Credit are:
- Halt the rollout
- Allow claimants to determine their own payment interval; flexibility on this has been won for claimants in Scotland
- Legislation for a new emergency payment to supplement UC, to prevent evictions due to rent arrears, late payments and benefit underpayments.