In her own version of the appalling call of Tebbit in 1981 to get on your bike to look for work, Thérèse Coffey has claimed that the six million Universal Credit claimants set for a £1,000 annual income loss from this October merely need to work two more hours.
You would be forgiven for believing that Thérèse Coffey just hasn’t grasped the basics of Universal Credit (UC) when she claimed that UC claimants would only have to work 2 hours a week to make up the £20 cut, but not for long, as there is evidence to the contrary and a quick internet search reveal that she is in fact a Phd graduate. Further still many would find it difficult to believe that she was unaware of the UC taper given the number of civil servants and advisers she has to hand.
The resolution foundation however are very clear
“The Foundation notes that a UC claimant earning the National Living Wage (NLW) – currently £8.91 an hour – and with an income of at least £6,100 a year, would not take home an extra £20 a week for two hours work, as Ministers have implied.
In fact, they would take home just £6.60, falling to £4.48 if they pay tax and NI. Take home pay would be even lower than £2.24 an hour once any pension contributions or additional childcare or travel costs are taken into account.
A Universal Credit claimant on the NLW would need to work an extra six hours a week to make up the £20 cut in support, rising to nine hours if they pay tax and NI.”
The other group of UC recipients are those that have been assessed unable to work, what chance do they have to work 2 more hours, or 6 as the Resolution Foundation calculate it?
The two hour claim is a deliberate attempt to minimise the impact of the cut and in doing so give ammunition for those seeking to vilify UC claimants.
It is a crying shame that the only hope left is to rely on the architect of UC, Iian Duncan Smith and a group of backbenchers who are demanding a U-Turn