#StopandScrap Universal Credit was the message as demonstrators descended on High Riggs jobcentre and Argyle House disability benefits assessment centre in Edinburgh on 18 April.
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty called the protests as part of the Disabled People Against Cuts Britain-wide Day of Acton.
Universal Credit worsens an already unjust benefits system. A claimant going into High Riggs told us how under the Universal Credit system the jobcentre had been harassing him to find full-time work even though he already had a part-time job. This extension of “conditionality” to low-paid part-time workers means many more people will be threatened with sanctions.
Sanction rates under Universal Credit are higher than for the previous benefits. Another claimant highlighted how the monthly payment system made it even more difficult to budget on totally inadequate payments (in Scotland you can ask to be paid twice per month instead).
Universal Credit attacks disabled people. It totally removes vital disability premiums paid to people with serious health conditions.
Direct Action in Parliament
The Day of Action saw demos far and wide, including Dundee and Glasgow. In London Disabled People Against Cuts activists in wheelchairs attempted to storm Prime Ministers Question Time in Parliament. Demonstrators then defied police to blockade a major road junction in Westminster for over an hour.
Through its reliance on online technology Universal Credit attempts to isolate claimants and undermine collective responses. We need to counter this by supporting each other and accompanying each other to all benefits appointments. Never meet them alone!
Universal Credit is an integral part of the austerity attack on all working class people, an integral part of the ruling class drive to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Universal Credit is universally crap – we need to make it and all austerity policies unworkable!
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