Shadow DWP Sec Jonathan Reynolds won’t say Labour will reinstate £20 additional payment to protect vulnerable and alleviate poverty – they’ll just rename Universal Credit, as Starmer’s abandonment of leadership campaign pledges continues
Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, has refused to say that Labour will reverse the Tories’ planned £20 a week cut to the punitive Universal Credit benefits system.
The system, which has been blamed for hideous poverty and hardship and described as needlessly cruel by a UN envoy, saw a £20 a week uplift during the pandemic – one that still left payments woefully inadequate – and the Tories now plan to remove it, despite mass child poverty, food insecurity, hardship and discrimination that was endemic in the UK even before the coronavirus.
In an interview with the Mirror, Reynolds’ answer when asked whether he would reverse the cut was:
I can’t give a specific commitment on that at this stage.
I think it’s time MPs made a decision on whether [the cut] should proceed. The overall level of any benefit I can only set out before an election.
Reynolds did say Labour was opposed to the cut, but in the absence of a firm commitment to do differently the opposition is essentially notional.
Risibly, the Labour front-bencher also said that he planned to rename Universal Credit, to remove the ‘stigma’ – but his party leader campaigned for election to the leadership last year on a firm promise to abolish Universal Credit entirely, along with the ‘cruel sanction regime’ of the Tory government:
However, last week Starmer’s allies began briefing the press that he was about to start ‘moving away’ from his ten ‘pledges’ – a clear signal that he is tacking even further to the right, no doubt because of the party’s failure so far to attract the wealthy and corporate donors he was hoping would replace the mass exodus of members and save Labour’s rapidly-disastrous finances.
As his critics said would happen, it seems that the poor and vulnerable are to be cast aside in Starmer’s quest for ‘credibility’ with the super-wealthy and their tame media.
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