The DWP have come under fire in recent months, mainly because of the austerity that has been introduced by the Tory government. Welfare cuts have swept the nation, and have arguably targeted the most vulnerable in our society causing homelessness and poverty, and unsurprisingly, there are calls for it to end. Pronto. Theresa May’s new government have wasted no time setting about to take action on some of the issues that have upset the nation, and this includes taking down the DWP and replacing it with a fairer system. Labour Party Politician Owen Smith has argued that the DWP now brings nothing but insecurity and as a result should be replaced with something more stable, like a work ministry. He continued to say that if he became labour leader (he is currently in the running with jeremy Corbyn, both who;s fate will be decided in September), this would be the case. Will Theresa May succeed in reducing cuts to help those most vulnerable, as well as protecting the country’s economy after a shock Brexit?
Universal Credit Failures
The DWP incompetence has recently come to light with the delays to Universal Credit getting longer and longer, leaving them to come under fire from ministers who are saying that the delays could have been avoided, and that the whole thing has not been managed correctly. Many people that are in recipient of Universal Credit have spoken of their anguish in trying to obtain their payments, with many comparing getting the money you’re entitled to as like getting blood from a stone. Universal Credit is not yet available to everyone in the UK , but some areas of the country are classed as ‘trial areas’, which means that if you are in need of unemployment benefits, your claim will be registered as Universal Credit. News has emerged that it will take until 2022 for the new system to be fully ruled out, which shows somewhat of a mass incompetence on the DWP’s part. Complicated new computer systems are being seen as one of the main reasons to blame for its ever growing delays. The situation has now become severe and the reason for this is that it is causing a large increase in poverty, with a huge amount of respondents to several surveys admitting they have to cut down on food in order to survive. It is about time the new prime minister realises that the country’s current social security system is not working for vulnerable people in our society.An element of irony also clouds the whole claims process that definitely needs to be addressed. Because the process is so lengthy and inconvenient, claimants are having to take time out of applying for work and finding a new job, to attend several universal credit interviews, to see whether they are even eligible. The other half of the country is still receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance amongst other benefits and have no idea when they will be switched over to Universal Credit, which will definitely see a cut to the payments that they receive.
Owen Smith has voiced his wishes to shift power back to employees. He has not only insinuated that the DWP is incompetent, but has also called them cruel. Those that are new to claiming and claim for Universal Credit because they have found themselves suddenly out of work, will (eventually) be able to have a claim submitted, after form after form and an interview, only to be told that although the claim has been processed, payment will not begin until September. The sad fact is that you can no longer rely on the inefficient DWP for financial security should you find yourself out of work, and , of course, this is a reflection on the government, which is probably why Smith is determined to change this should he come into power. On top of dealing with the DWP, Owen Smith has expressed a need to return the country to a 50p top tax rate, as well as setting a new rate to the richest 1%, cancelling ex-minister George Osbourne’s cuts to corporation. This may be met with some hostility as this was to encourage trade with EU countries, despite a Brexit. However, the money they gain back from this will help towards the 4% spending rise by the NHS, which could arguably suggest he has better priorities. It seems Smith is determined to target the rich, by introducing a 15% tax levy on income that was not earned, but rather invested. This aims to target those with £150, 000 or higher income. This is to be known as the wealth tax. Owen Smith ultimately, enthusiastically calls for a socialist revolution in which to ‘build a better Britain.’
Could Owen Smith’s ideas of totally scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a ministry of labour and a department for social security mean that those who are most vulnerable, out of work and relying on the government, get the help they actually need, instead of being told they will have to wait due to a ‘backlog of claims’ or an ‘inbuilt delay’. Is this a true take from the rich and give to the poor scenario, and will there really be a ‘socialist revolution’?