Universal Credit Campaigners to hand over petition to Louise Haigh MP Today, Friday 18th October 1.30pm outside Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield “Stop and Scrap Universal Credit” campaigners will today hand over a petition against the Government’s flagship welfare policy to Louise Haigh Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, outside Sheffield Town Hall at 1.30pm today. Louise and some of the campaigners are expected to make short speeches about the extreme hardships faced by many claimants who have been placed onto Universal Credit.
The names on the petition have been collected mainly from street stalls organised by the campaign at Firth Park and Manor Top, areas where many people have direct experience of Universal Credit or know friends or relatives who have. “We have picked up shocking stories of real hardship at these stalls, including one person who was “sanctioned” for being 10 minutes late for an appointment because her bus didn’t turn up” said Martin Mayer, acting chair of the campaign. “During the summer, many families were struggling to put food on the table simply because during summer holidays there were no free school dinners for the kids.”
Louise Haigh MP has been a big supporter of the Sheffield Stop and Scrap Campaign. She has helped many constituents facing acute financial hardship because Universal Credit leaves most claimants worse off, and a missed appointment for whatever reason can leave claimants with no money for weeks or even months on end. Food Banks in Sheffield have been overwhelmed with new claimants since Universal Credit began being rolled out in the city from November last year
Sheffield Stop and Scrap Universal Credit campaign aims to have the Government’s welfare system scrapped and replaced with a fair and just system of social security that supports people on low or no incomes in their time of need. We oppose the sanctions system that can see claimants having their benefits stopped for weeks,months and even in some cases years for minor “misdemeanours” like missing an appointment or failing to keep records of how many jobs they’ve applied for. This can leave families in acute distress and relying on food banks just to keep alive. This is a significant reason why child poverty levels are so high and were subject of criticism by a recent UN report. Other problems include having to wait a minimum of 5 weeks for any benefit when starting a claim, a time period that is often extended if their are any errors in the application. All applications have to be done on line which is a serious problem for many people on low incomes with no access to a computer and no experience of using them. Other problems include a draconian system of assessments for sick and disabled people unable to work, which declares chronically ill people as fit for work. This has resulted in countless suicides for instance.
Contact: Martin Mayer, acting chair Sheffield Stop and Scrap Universal Credit
tel; 0776 1078482
The campaign is supported by Sheffield Trade Union Council, trade union branches, Labour Party, Green Party, SWP, Socialist Party, Communist Party of Britain, Peoples Assembly and many individual supporters who are determined to fight injustice and a welfare system that penalises the poorest families in our society.