A heated PMQs clash over Universal Credit (UC) saw Theresa May accused of “pouring petrol on burning injustices”.
Jeremy Corbyn challenged May over the NHF, NFU, the Federation of Small Businesses, the NAO, Gingerbread and the RSA all attacking UC as flawed and failing thousands of claimants.
“Universal Credit isn’t making work pay, it’s taking money away,” Corbyn said.
Taunting a visibly rattled May with the Tory’s 2010 claim that UC would lift 350,000 children out of poverty, Corbyn referenced the recent report from the Child Poverty Action Group saying UC will put more children in poverty – a finding supported by a government survey.
Corbyn raised Trussell Trust stats saying foodbank usage is four times higher in areas where UC has been rolled out and the fears of the disabled as what they would lose by being “forced” onto under UC – including their homes.
Mind, said Corbyn, had said many people with mental health problems could see their benefits stopped entirely.
May proved unable to adequately address Corbyn’s robust evidence-based questioning.
In the face overwhelming and wide-ranging statistical interpretation, she fell back on a pre-prepared and unverifiable list of UC “success stories” before blaming the “the last Labour government” over welfare legacy.
Corbyn pushed on citing “millions” forced to foodbanks and “millions” on zero hours contracts, saying constituency MPs “know the pain” UC is causing with some 60% of the cuts hitting people in work.
“UC is creating hardship, and forcing people to use foodbanks. The NAO said (UC) could end up costing the state more.
“(The PM) is not tackling the burning injustices in this country, she’s pouring petrol on them,” he said.
Unmoved, May tried to shift focus by challenging Corbyn over Labour’s well-aired internal issues as the clash ended.
At the TUC conference in Manchester, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby pressed for an end to the roll-out of UC when “they cannot get it right”.
During a conference Q&A session, Welby said: “(UC) was supposed to make it simpler and more efficient.
“It has not done that.
“It has left too many people worse off, putting them at risk of hunger, debt, rent arrears and food banks.
“When universal credit comes into a local area the number of people going to food banks goes up – what is clear is if they cannot get it right they need to stop rolling it out.”