Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss was interviewed on Monday’s Daily Politics programme on the BBC at the Tory party conference in Manchester, on the topic of the government’s disastrous Universal Credit (UC) benefits system, which the Tories insist they will continue to roll out in spite of enormous problems.
What she had to say was as revealing as it was mind-boggling:
Challenged by presenter Jo Coburn over the massive problems the switch to the new system is causing to claimants who are finding themselves penniless for six to twelve weeks because of delays caused by the change-over, Ms Truss:
- simply ignores the question of how one woman, who finds herself with four pence to last her a month, talking only of local Jobcentres
- answers a question about a ‘dire’ situation for people with no income by claiming an increase to the so-called ‘living’ wage would make it ok
- answers a question about the fact that over forty percent of families on UC are in arrears because of delays in payment by claiming that the system helps people with budgeting and the ‘positive habits of being in work’
- claims that UC ‘is working for people who are on the system’ and the system is ‘successful’ – in spite of having been told all the above
Ms Truss also claims she ‘knows lots of people who say that the system is great’ – presumably these are the same ‘people’ who the Tories claimed were praising the effectiveness of sanctions that summarily deprive benefit claimants of all income:
Most astonishingly of all, though, Ms Truss attempts to claim that the UC system is alright because her experience in a Jobcentre was good.: Truss answers Coburn’s challenge about UC being described as ‘a disaster waiting to happen‘ with:
Certainly my experience of my local Jobcentre, which I’ve visited very recently, is that the roll-out is going well, that people are benefiting from it…[I] strongly encourage you [Coburn] to go to a Jobcentre and see what’s happening because it is really quite exciting.
Yes, she really did say that in a nationally-televised interview.
According to Ms Truss, the problem with UC is not that it is depriving people of income for six to twelve weeks, leaving them penniless and starving.
It’s just that they’re not a government minister.
Could anything more clearly depict how out of touch and utterly callous the Tories are?
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