Addressing a UNITE trade union rally marking a day of action against the Universal Credit benefits system, Workers Party representative Joanne Lowry has said that the new system is consciously cruel, is unworkable and has to go
“”We have heard the stories and witnessed at first hand the assessments which leave vulnerable people with little or no benefit entitlement and which compound the problems they already have”, Joanne said
“At a personal and individual level the stories are as unbelievable as they are heart-breaking. But we must not allow that to blind us to the bigger picture”, she warned
Universal Credit is a broken system and it is unworkable. But more than that, it is ‘conscious cruelty’
Punishment “It has been designed deliberately to make life even harder for the most vulnerable in our society. It targets those most in need and it punishes them for seeking benefits”, she said.
“We never see a system which pursues tax dodgers with the same level of intensity. We never see a system designed to flush out and penalise corporate greed and corrupt financial practices”, stated Joanne
“And the reason why the most vulnerable are always, always the ones to pay the price, is because the entire social and economic system is designed to deliver that very outcome”, she said
For those people who have to undergo medical assessments before receiving benefits the reality can be even grimmer.
Targeting the most vulnerable “Demeaning and humiliating interviews resulting in hurtful and insulting outcomes confirm that Universal Credit is ‘conscious cruelty. The most vulnerable in our society yet again bear the brunt of the social policies of right wing governments”
“But let us be clear” Joanne said, ” this need not be the case. Sinn Fein and the DUP kicked welfare reform decisions into touch. They surrendered the fate of thousands of vulnerable local people to the Tory Party and the Westminster government”,
They could have intervened, they should have intervened … but they did not! Today they will tell us that there was nothing that they could have done. Ironically that’s exactly what they did – nothing!
We haven’t had an Assembly here for almost two years. That is the priority and the concern that these parties place on people in need of help and support.
Our message from this rally today should be clear and unambiguous. Universal Credit is broken and unworkable – it has to go!