Universal credit slammed as ‘Orwellian’ by judge
Much-troubled Universal Credit (UC) has now been described as ‘Orwellian’, as hopes that anyone will ever say anything nice about it continue to fade.
According to high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley, the government’s flagship reform of the benefits system tends to make life miserable for claimants while simultaneously implying that it will rescue them from poverty.
The judge’s harsh comments have been delivered along with a report that reveals hundreds of people risked tumbling into greater debt because floundering old UC miscalculated their payments.
The report, by charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), cites the plight of a working mother who lost £400 a month because the bungling UC system somehow failed to include the child element for her daughter or a work allowance.
Judge Sedley said: ‘People in need are left to guess at and grope for things which should be clear and tangible. The consequences are not limited to over- or underpayment. They feed into the stress and worry that so many people managing on low incomes experience, which in turn can affect family life for children growing up in these environments.
‘There is something Orwellian about a system which is intended to alleviate hardship yet is administered in ways which generate and aggravate human misery. Whether this is happening by accident or by design is an argument for another time and place.’
And the government still want this thing rolled out across the entire country by 2024.
Anyhow CPAG’s chief executive, Alison Garnham, said: ‘The DWP must improve the information it provides so that universal credit claimants are not floundering in the dark about their award. Clear and accessible information on how decisions are made and your right to appeal is the bare minimum we should expect from a modern benefit.’