The Conservative government are forcing Universal Credit (UC) claimants to attend face-to-face meetings with the DWP if they forget their online login details, it has been revealed today.
Under the current arrangements, anybody claiming UC who has forgotten their username or password for the online portal must change it in person at their nearest Jobcentre, rather than online, as sanity would usually dictate.
The inexplicable demand forced upon UC claimants was raised today by Labour MP Ged Killen at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Killen stated that:
The Secretary of State can’t give a date when this will be fixed.
And went on to ask:
Will the Prime Minister commit to no further Job Centre closures until Universal Credit claimants can access basic online functions as available in the case of HMRC and banking?
The government have instigated a wave of Jobcentre closures in Scotland since October, with three closures planned for this month in Glasgow alone.
Theresa May responded by stating that she would ask Esther McVey, the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to look carefully at ensuring that a date is identified to enact the change. However, serious questions are rightly being asked as to why this ridiculous policy was enacted by the Tories in the first place.
The revelation adds to the litany of public complaints surrounding the Universal Credit system since its introduction in 2013. These include the UC helpline charging people 55p a minute to call, with users waiting for periods of up to six weeks before initial payments were received – with 20% waiting even longer.
Let’s hope that it takes less than six weeks before the government manages to fix a mistake that many thousands of vulnerable people depend upon in order to survive.
A society can and should be judged on how it treats its most vulnerable members. So what does this latest debacle, so typical of cynical Tory attitudes towards the poorest, say, if anything at all?
Are they really interested in providing a social safety net that protects everybody? Or are they intentionally demeaning and dehumanising those forced to use the welfare system with despicable policies like this.
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