New benefit scheme will hit single parents, nurses and teachers hardest
MINISTERS should halt the roll-out of a controversial new benefits system, Labour will say today, as new figures reveal a sharp loss of income for nurses and teachers.
The government is combining a number of benefits for people on low incomes into a single universal credit payment. The Tories assert that this will simplify benefit claims and save the taxpayer money.
But House of Commons library data commissioned by Labour shows single parents with dependent children working full time could be left up to £3,100 a year worse off.
It also shows that nurses and teachers will be hit particularly hard by a toxic mix of stagnating wages and social security cuts.
A single parent of two working full-time as a teacher who is a new claimant of universal credit will receive £3,700 a year less in 2018-19 than in 2011-12.
An NHS worker who is a single parent in the same situation will be over £2,000 a year poorer in real-terms in 2018-19 compared to 2011-12.
Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “It’s no wonder we are seeing record levels of in-work poverty, now standing at a shocking 7.4 million people.
“These analyses make clear that the government’s abject failure on living standards will get dramatically worse if universal credit is rolled out in its current form.
“That’s why Labour is calling for the roll-out to be stopped while urgent reform and redesign of universal credit is undertaken.”
Equality analysis shows that households which include a woman or ethnic minority person are more likely to be adversely affected by in-work benefit cuts.
Civil Service union PCS, which represents benefit clerks, said universal credit had been a “disaster” and was driven by a desire to “vilify” social security recipients.
“The full roll-out should be suspended and cuts to Department for Work and Pensions staff and resources must be reversed to give the department the means to develop a system that offers genuine help,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
The Department for Work and Pensions had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press.