Letter to Jeremy Corbyn – the Universal Credit debacle


Jeremy Corbyn MP
House of Commons

16 November 2017

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

Thank you for reading out the letter from the GAP lettings agency in Lincolnshire in PMQs about the pre-emptive warning to tenants of coming evictions under Universal Credit.

It is inevitable that many hundreds, more likely thousands, of evictions will occur as Universal Credit is rolled out, forcing people into intolerable hardship and suffering with no opportunity or means to prepare financially in advance, especially amongst the poorest people in society who have been serially targeted by the Tories since 2010. Whatever slack people may, possibly, have had in the past, it will be long gone by now as austerity has gnawed millions of us to the bone.

People are going to be forced into these evictions by intent, under the bogus premise that delays in benefits ‘teaches’ people in-work discipline of working a month in hand. A practice I learnt from day one when I began working as a young lad, initially as a week in hand, which later extended to a month in hand. Accepting there may be a few people who are not yet aware of this practice, the majority will already be fully aware of how wages and salaries are paid. Applying this to subsistence, hand to mouth, benefits for six weeks is, therefore, I would forcibly argue, entirely punitive.

For vast numbers of people Universal Credit is going to be the straw that finally breaks them from which many will not recover and, without doubt, many people are going to lose their lives, not least, to suicide.

We already know there is a magic money tree for whatever the Tories want to do, tax breaks for corporations and the already wealthy, corporate subsidies, hundreds of billions of pounds in quantitative easing for the financial markets, the countless billions lost to the nation in tax evasion and avoidance, languishing in Tax havens, and refurbishing Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.

People are going to suffer for no better reason than the Tories have chosen to wage economic warfare on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. It began in 2010. I chose to write a letter a day to number 10 for three and a half years when it became clear what the Tory plan was for Britain’s poor, and as Theresa May said just prior to the last general election, ‘nothing has changed, nothing has changed’.

Mr Corbyn, it has got to change. Too many lives have already been lost. I do not know what to do, the Tories have rigged it so that they are nigh on super glued in place, but we cannot and must not go on like this.

I know of very few people within my circle of friends and acquaintances who have not lost someone to austerity already. The Tories can deny any causal link between welfare reforms and the suffering and deaths they have caused, but in the real world we know better because we have to live with consequences that never touch the lives of those responsible.

We have to do something, we cannot go on this way. The neoliberal Tory project, which is part of the global neoliberal project, must end. It’s all a horrific lie anyway. The world is not poor and this country is not poor, but the vast majority are, historically and currently, excluded from any just share in that wealth by intent. You are an old experienced hand, if you’ll pardon the expression, you know the reality of Westminster politics far better than I do, I beg of you, is there not something we can do, right now? Too many people are not going to survive until the end of this fixed term parliament, we must be able to do something if there is anything left of democracy to fight with to save the lives of people who are innocent of wrong doing and are helpless to protect themselves.

At the time of writing BMJ Open has just released a report which finds, ‘The squeeze on public finances since 2010 is linked to nearly 120,000 excess deaths in England, with the over 60s and care home residents bearing the brunt’, and warns there could be an ‘additional toll of up to 100 deaths every day from now on’. That equates to the loss of every woman, man and child in my village 17 times over. In addition to everything else, if that does not make the seven years of Conservative misrule a catastrophic national disaster, I do not know what would.

Yours sincerely,


Health and social care spending cuts linked to 120,000 excess deaths in England

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