“Stop and scrap” Universal Credit

MP Gill Furniss.
MP Gill Furniss outside the Town Hall to support the protest against the introduction of Universal Credit.
MP Gill Furniss outside the Town Hall to support the protest against the introduction of Universal Credit.

Story by Carrie Hedderwick | Photo by Richard Belbin

Burngreave residents joined a protest against the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), which will hit Sheffield next month.

Marching down from Spital Hill, the group joined hundreds outside the Town Hall for a rally which heard from a variety of trade unionists and four Sheffield MPs, including Brightside’s Gill Furniss (pictured).

Olivia Blake, deputy leader of the council, told the crowd how SCC has worked with tenants’ rights group Acorn to ensure that no council tenant will face eviction due to arrears arising from UC. The rally also heard how Sheffield DWP workers (who will have to implement the benefit) will refuse to co-operate with the so-called ‘rape clause’ that requires women with more than two children to be asked if they were conceived ‘without their consent’.

The main call from the rally was clear though – the implementation of Universal Credit should be stopped now, and the system scrapped and replaced by one that is fair and that actually works.

At present, only new claimants and those with significant changes to their claim will be made to go onto UC, but reports from other areas indicate many people are being pushed onto the benefit when they should not be.

A group is being set up locally now to coordinate support for those affected by UC, and to campaign to halt its implementation. The Messenger will report on its activities, and how to join it, in future editions.