How Universal Credit Will Create A Latchkey Generation of Hungry Children

The Tory Government’s war on women is to escalate even further when Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal new welfare regime begins in 2014.

The new Universal Credit scheme will replace Child Tax Credits and Income Support for both working and non-working parents alike.  The scheme is intended to ‘make work pay’, however in reality few will be better off than they are under the current system.  Already Universal Credit, which was intended to simplify the benefits system, is mired in complexity and running both behind schedule and over budget.  The vast computer database behind the scheme was originally planned to be in place by 2013, however recent reports reveal that date has now been pushed back to mid 2014.

A generation of latchkey kids, living in unprecedented poverty, will be one of the consequences of the new regime which will treat parents with older children exactly the same way it treats those with no childcare responsibilities  at all.

Universal Credit is under-pinned by a ‘claimant commitment’ which means that claimants will find themselves at risk of benefit sanctions or workfare if they are unable to find work for 35 hours a week at the minimum wage.  Part time workers will be forced to leave work at the drop of a hat to attend interviews for full time work, whilst self-employed claimants will face in-work benefit cuts if they fail to earn enough money in any given month.

It will be the treatment of single and low earning parents which is perhaps one of the cruellest aspects of the draconian new measures which will see children punished for the perceived sins of their parents and parents punished should they put their children’s interests before those of the Jobcentre.

Single mums whose children are over the age of 13 will be expected to work up to 35 hours a week.  Under the new rules, they will also be expected to travel up to 90 minutes to and from work.  This will mean that a single parents in a 9 to 5 job could find themselves having to leave the house at 7.30 am and not return until half past six in the evening.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith talks of truancy being one of the defining factors in increasing child poverty, he intends to take young people’s parents away at precisely the time they need to be getting the kids up for school.

Some childcare support is available under the scheme, but for those on low incomes, forced to spend a fortune on fares to get to work and back, it will prove to be unaffordable.  Only 70% of childcare costs are to be met under the new regime.

Once again the toff Government reveal they know nothing of the lives of those on low income.  No doubt ministers will point to the hard working middle classes who commute into London and leave the kids with child minders to get to work.  What they won’t mention is that a season ticket for many commuters can cost well over £100 a week  It’s not laziness that stops minimum wage workers from travelling long distances to work.  It’s unaffordable rail prices that trap people in the area in which they live.

Single mums could be forced to abandon their children to take up work that barely covers transport and childcare costs.  If they refuse they will face sanctions.  If they refuse more than once they could find themselves facing sanctions for up to three years.

Jobcentre staff – or whoever replaces them in the new system, which is set to be ‘digital by default’  – are to be given some discretion is assessing what kind of work is suitable for parents.  Whilst travel time and costs may be a factor that can be considered, the current target based culture inflicted by managers on DWP staff mean there will be constant pressure on advisors to sanction claimants.  Already it is the most vulnerable who are at highest risk of sanctions.  Figures suggest that of the 10,000 sanctions handed out to sick and disabled people last year, almost half of those were aimed at people with a mental health condition.  The harsh reality is that vital benefits which put food in children’s bellies will be at the mercy of the whims of DWP management.

Sanctioning parent’s benefits on such a huge scale however will still be a new low for even the DWP.  Under the current system, out of work parents can be forced to attend ‘Work Focused Interviews’ once their children are in school.  Failure to attend these interviews can result in a sanction, however these are the only sanctions currently in place for parents.

This requirement is now to be extended to all those with a child over 1 year of age.  Once the child reaches school age then parents will be required to work during the hours whilst the child is at school.  When the child reaches 13 then the parents will be treated the same as any other childless claimant.

Parents will be subject to work related activity requirements, such as being sent on the Work Programme, or could be sent to carry out mandatory unpaid work  should Jobcentre staff decide they aren’t trying hard enough to find work.  Parents will be expected to take any job offered immediately, and will also face sanctions for leaving a job, failing to attend workfare, or missing a back to work style interview with fraud ridden parasites like A4e.

Like now, those sanctioned will be able to make a claim for Hardship Payments.  However the ‘work related’ requirements will be carried over to Hardship Payment schemes, meaning even these can now be stripped leaving families with nothing at all to live on.  Even with these payments, the new rules state they will only be only be intended to meet immediate costs in relation to accommodation, heating, food and hygiene.  There is no mention of children’s clothes, toys, fares to school, household items and all of the endless other expenses that having kids can bring.

The nightmare scenario will see parents torn between providing adequate supervision and support for their children, or being sent to work from dusk till dawn 50 miles away for the meagre minimum wage.  Mums who cut down hours, or refuse full time work, perhaps because their teenage child is going through a rough time, will be stripped of benefits.  If they continue to refuse to abandon their children to the street, then they will not even qualify for Hardship Payments, meaning children going hungry and homelessness as rent goes unpaid.

Sanctioning parents on this scale is unprecedented in the history of the Welfare State and there has been little thought as to the consequences, both for the children affected and wider society.  A study carried out by the DWP themselves (PDF), based on the small number of parents sanctioned for not attending Work Focused Interviews makes for grim reading.  The report found that “the most common causes of a lone parent failing to attend (Work Focused Interviews) were centred on caring responsibilities, ill health and the customer simply forgetting.”

Despite the repeated slurs aimed at feckless  single parents the report found that: “there was no evidence of lone parents making an active decision to not
attend a Work Focused Interview.”

Perhaps of most concern is that the study found that those sanctioned had “demonstrated higher levels of ill health, both of themselves and of their children” and that a “greater prevalence of debt” was found amongst sanctioned parents.

Significantly the study also revealed:  “In response to the key research question of this project, this study has found that amongst the lone parents in this sample, the sanction regime has had negligible effects upon labour market behaviour.”

In other words sanctions don’t encourage parents to find work and simply increase the crippling financial pressures they already face.

Despite all this sanctions are to get longer, tougher and be extended to hundreds of thousands more claimants.  Hardship Payments are now to be recoverable, meaning that even once the sanction is over, benefit payments will continue to be reduced until they have been paid back.  With Hardship Payments covering soaring rents, this could leave some claimants thousands of pounds in debt to the Government, to add to the debts most of them already have.

It is not just single parents who will be affected by the ruthless new system.  Under the new rules, couple with children will both be expected to work up to 35 hours a week if they are only earning minimum wage.  Claimant conditionality for Universal Credit, which means the aforementioned workfare and sanctions regime, will only stop when both parents are earning minimum wage in full time jobs.  This grotesque economic discrimination will mean that if one partner earns twice the minimum wage then his partner can stay at home and look after the children without constant harassment from DWP busybodies.  However should one partner only earn minimum wage then the other will be expected to go out and work full time themselves.  The right for one parent to stay at home, whilst still in receipt of Universal Credit to top up family earning, will only be for those better off.  Once again this toff Government is punishing those simply because they are not able to earn a higher than minimum wage.

Whilst millions of parents are likely to be affected by the changes when Universal Credit is brought in, in practice it will be single mums, and mums in low income families, who will face the most insidious aspects of the scheme.  It will be their children who suffer the most hardship as lives and futures are devastated, all because of Iain Duncan Smith’s obsession with forcing mothers into full time work.  It has already been admitted that Universal Credit probably won’t save any money.  It is simply an ideological attack, executed by rich men, on some of the most vulnerable and poorest families.

Swivel eyed right wingers have often claimed there is no real poverty in the UK because children don’t go hungry.  Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal and ignorant reforms will mean that in future crippling debt, hungry children, forced labour and teenagers left on their own devices to prowl the streets, will be enshrined in social legislation.

The draft regulation for Universal Credit have just been published and are open to consultation at:

Universal Credit, Self Employment and the Minimum Wage

Universal Credit’s Attack on Householders (and who really benefits)

How Universal Credit Will Destroy Part Time Work

Universal Credit’s Attack On Volunteers

How Universal Credit Will Split Up Families

41 responses to “How Universal Credit Will Create A Latchkey Generation of Hungry Children

  1. Iain Duncan Smith is a Cunt

    Fuck this Nazi piece of shit!

  2. “Hardship payments” will also be fully recoverable under Universal Credit

  3. Why doesn’t he go and work in Poundland for free?

  4. US of Workfare

    “The nightmare scenario will see parents torn between providing adequate supervision and support for their children, or being sent to work from dusk till dawn 50 miles away for the meagre minimum wage.” – this is what happens in the good ol’ US of Workfare – a truly nightmare situation!

  5. Off topic a bit, I know – but Shiv Malik has just put up a piece in Society Guardian – A4E have got just 3.5% of unemployed claimants work. More than 100,000 people on the Work Programme have been sent to them – in parts of London, the “success” rate is 2%. This is what the parents you write about and the sick and disabled can expect – or maybe even worse, as the current failure is confined to “ordinary” unemployed as opposed to what the DWP calls “difficult to place” people. God help us all.

  6. Today I watched the service in remembrance of the airmen of Bomber Command – my father flew in Lancasters. Whatever the sins of Bomber Harris, men and boys like my dad went up night after night, knowing that they had a 50% chance of coming home because they wanted to fight fascism. He was born in Jarrow and watched the marchers leave for London as a child. My dad was offered the chance to buy his council house and refused – he believed in the welfare state and the homes we built for people like him and the future generations. He never regretted it. My daughter serves with the RAF today, and if she were injured, she might not be able to get the help she would need from the NHS or the DWP. And here we are, cutting off support to parents, children, the sick, the disabled – it’s evil.
    Your series on Universal Credit is excellent – I’ve looked at the drafts, and you’ve managed to make sense out of them for me, so thank you.
    I’m poorly and can’t do much beyond writing to people and generally being a nuisance. But I’ll keep on until people listen to us.
    On a day when we have a service for those who died and fought to save us from the fascists, here we are discussing the antics of the most vicious and mendacious government in living memory.
    Thanks Johnny. Thanks for this and the narking.
    You’re a good bloke – my dad would have loved you!

  7. Ephemerid, with you 100%…

    I hope johnny doesn’t censor me for providing this link, but so much of what is being said by Brian Gerrish in teh below video about the “State of the Nation”, in Penzance on the 3rd February 2012.

    Please take a look, the more we can spot the true agendas that are behind all of this the better…

    link to the BNP’s favourite conspiracy theorist removed

    Johnny, please dont censor this, if people find it silly and untrue, fine, but at least let people decide for themselves it has any merit on a wider aspect..

  8. This website is not a platform for people to continually spam stupid right wing nonsense. Engage with the discussion by all means, but the endless stream of spam to conspiracy sites will be removed.

  9. I’ve just been watching Question Time, that was a very bad idea, I definitely wont be watching it again. It’s bad enough being savaged by this vicious society, without subjecting myself to the ignorant self-righteous idiocy of the British public.

    What I’ve just witnessed was just an orgy of “benefit scrounger” bashing. It was like the two minute hate in 1984. The whole audience was in agreement that people on benefits are scum of the earth who have Sky TV and foreign holidays and are living the life of riley paid for in full by the hard-working decent taxpayer.

    A foolish hate-filled woman in the audience just said she’s low paid and really struggling so “why should someone on benefits get more money than her?” Instead of demanding a decent wage from the bosses who are paying themselves gargantuan salaries, she’d prefer someone lower on the totem pole to be destroyed. That would make her feel better. The Labour minister and the Labour supporter just meekly agreed.

    I’ve seen tonight just why the ruling elite will always win in the end and why there’s no hope for the future. The people are just to susceptible to propaganda and sophistry and they always will be. It’s just the way they are. For the ruling elite it really is like taking candy from a baby. They must have a good laugh at their champagne suppers at how easy it is. The British people are just like a cat chasing it’s own tail.

    • Kind of felt the same kind of exasperated despair as you, but don’t get too downhearted. The reality is that just about everyone now or knows someone receiving benefits and who are about as far removed from the despicable ‘feckless’ stereotype as you can get. This is influencing the public mood, especially when those at the top are creaming it in.

      The Labour Party is, I agree, a disgrace on this matter – not one of them is prepared to stand up and proudly defend social security.

    • And the lying, manipulating BB fucking C is a master of propaganda. Anyone who is being attacked and pilloried by this scum organisation should be fucking ashamed of themselves if they are feeding this monster and that fat cunt DumbleBee via the Telly Tax. Because if you are you have no fucking right to complain when they are screening pictures of Untermenschs being carted of to the “Happy Camps” in Eastern Europe. The propaganda machine that is the BBC needs is pure and fucking evil and needs to be closed down for good! Fuck you Auntie Beeb!

      • Agreed. They are just the British Bullingdon Corporation now, it’s just the vilest non-stop right-wing propaganda from them night and day. They are as bad as Pravda were in the Soviet era. Ironically watching RT the Russian news channel gives me much more of the truth than watching BBC does nowadays.

  10. The ‘Mussolini Option’ is always available for Obersturmbahnfuhrer In Da Shit….oops,I meant Iain D. Schmidt…
    Universal Credit has the same timbre as Final Solution.
    What an unholy cunt The ConDem Claggeron is.

  11. Whatever johhny.. Brian gerrish is not BNP you silly man, he has two members of his family who are black… Something is only conspiracy when there is no evidence? Its not conspiracy when there is evidence? I’m afraid you are talking utter shit here johnny.. Anyway, engaging with people trapped in ideological straight jackets is no fun, i will observe and respect your wishes JV …….

    I came across this headline in the daily mail about A4E… At first the articles headline originally contained something like this, A4e, payed 45 million, for fewer than four out of 100 unemployed people have secured jobs that last more than 13 weeks.

    This has now been removed and replaced with the following headline…

    Disgraced back-to-work firm A4e ‘failing to meet job targets’

    So i ask? Where has the 45 million figure gone? Any ideas? And what would a figure of 45 million be referring too? A4e entire contract cost?

    45 million for this garbage? How can this be right?

  12. Eric Greenwood

    Everyone on this scheme at a4e, gets a4e an attachment fee of £400.. thats before they do anything..If they get someone else a job.. they get more money depending on their needs. there are 115,000 people on a4e’s schemes.. thats 115,000 times £400.. £46 Million. With a success rate of 3.3% or 4,020 people got jobs that lasted more than 13 weeks.. that could be 13 weeks 2 days.

  13. So they are basically employing a back street two bit employment agency, who i wouldn’t employ to sweep my pathway for free and paying them £400 quid just for walking in their doors?

    The fact that A4E are operating in other countries all over the globe is very concerning to me? What the hell is going on here? Is the tax payer funding this employment agency in foreign countries for people to find work too? Is it being used to import foreign labour even? How do we know that some of this money is not being used to subsidise employment services in other countries?

    Anyway, the daily mail article has restored the 45 million figure now…

    • Eric Greenwood

      Yes, and the most in need of support can earn a4e £13,700..A4e is Amin in isreal/palestine. The have been caught rorting in australia, and paid the money back.. they also have an interest in CAB or did, they were going to be partners in an university in wales. they wanted to set up a bank.. they run child teaching services called vox.. I kid you not Bob..

  14. omg? What the hell? This is insanity? This A4e need to be taken down.

  15. Light Vehicle

    Parents need to be there for their children . . . to nurture the next generation. People cannot be deprived of love . . .

  16. I think what is going on here is far far worse… These are not polices changes we are witnessing, we are witnessing an all out attack on the fabric and stability of this countries society. We are all under lethal attack, via the judicial system, legal system, welfare system, everything… Even the army is coming under attack..

    Battalions face axe in Army cuts

    Hospital closures ‘inevitable’ warns think-tank

    We will see private armies and police running about the place soon?

    We are in grave danger in my view.. When the Olympic is finished, that’s when things will really start to cook in my view..

    • Eric Greenwood

      Oh yes bob. i forgot they are helping run the money advice service, and mis -selling things. So have a kid, it goes on vox.. (they wanted vox for tots), you are unemployed from 16-25.. sent on the so called training work programme for upto 2 years.. but then that will last a long time as there is no limit to how many times you will be put on it, Then when you get into debt you talk to a4e involved in money advice service, then if you have a problem with a4e and whats happening you go to the CAB in leicester/hull. “The CLACs are A4e’s two contracts, together with Howells solicitors, to provide advice services to people in the local authority areas of Leicester and Hull. The Leicester one has been going for a year, but it was the Hull CLAC which stirred up a hornet’s nest when the CAB, now deprived of funding, was facing closure. At that point the government decided that the CLACs weren’t such a good idea; and it has since given some funding to the Hull CAB (which has amalgamated with the East Riding CAB).” Then “Ministers have made the firm [A4e] ……… the preferred bidder to take over the sensitive Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) helpline to advise people of their rights in discrimination cases.” As i said they wanted to set up a bank, so that they can give loans to people(it fell through).. Am just waiting for then to go into the funeral line.

  17. Pingback: Street Homelessness Soars … and we haven’t seen anything yet | the void

  18. I’m readin all this and becomming increasingly depressed. What can we do? Anything? ~Or shall I go off to bed with me cyanide.

  19. Pingback: Cash In Hand Payments Will Soar Under Universal Credit | the void

  20. here to help fight the bedroom tax please join

  21. And sign the petition:

    If we can stop this, it’s a start; then set our sites on this UC crap.

  22. Pingback: Universal Credit is Falling Apart Insiders Claim | the void

  23. Pingback: Universal Jobmatch – The Brutal Farce at the DWP Continues | the void

  24. I hate to say this but I can’t help thinking that with these measures and the pressure being put on lone parents then the suicide rates amongst lone parents could rise to an all time high. This government need to mindful of the fact that there is only so much that a human being can take and that a person can be pushed before they break.
    Or on a happier note it could even lead to a baby boom where women will continue to get pregnant every 4/5 years so that they can qualify for I.S as apose J.S.A. xx

  25. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 | the void

  26. Pingback: Repost/reblog from “the void” 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 « Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  27. i cannot think of anything more draconian than forcing parents to neglect their children in order to serve economic growth. this horrid government are doing all they can to destroy the family unit by removing women from the home and detrimenting the working class father and breadwinner even further. we are losing our souls and our right to family life to the fat cats.

  28. Pingback: 60% Of Claimants To Be Worse Off Under Universal Credit Says Child Povery Charity | the void

  29. Every time I read articles about more ill thought out plans of this government, a part of me thinks there will be civil unrest against these idiots in their ivory towers

  30. Pingback: How Universal Credit Will Create A Latchkey Generation of Hungry Children | tummum's Blog

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