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Dear Mims,

Re the roll-out of Universal Credit in Eastleigh. 


Your comments on ‘The Sunday Politics‘ this weekend suggest that Eastleigh is not experiencing the same problems as other constituencies around the country, including many Conservative ones, and can be considered “a positive experience”. You make the point that it has succeeded in getting more people into work, particularly women. We would be interested to know the data you are using to draw this conclusion?

The Department of Work and Pensions’ own data shows that one in four new claims is not being paid in full in six weeks and that half of those in rent arrears report that they went into debt after claiming Universal Credit – in light of this, can you still confirm that this can be considered “a positive experience” for those constituents concerned? You also stated that “it is easier to use” – does this include those more elderly and vulnerable claimants who lack computer technology or indeed a computer and find themselves in long telephone queues trying to speak to someone whilst being charged 55p a minute? Furthermore, your comment that it will provide a useful learning experience for budgeting must surely be felt by many claimants to be patronising and ignores the very numerous and varied reasons that anyone may find themselves requiring social support at any particular time in their lives.

There may well have been some individuals who have felt encouraged onto the employment market because of this and find themselves better off for doing so. However we would argue that being forced into the labour market in this fashion is no guarantee of increased financial security and some of your constituents may have been forced into low-waged, insecure and often unsuitable work because of it and for whom the experience is far from “positive”. Greater insecurity in housing, food and other basic items is universally considered to contribute to increased stress and mental health issues with costs for claimants, workers, their families and the wider community.

We in Eastleigh Labour Party absolutely agree that a “one stop shop” for benefits is, in itself, an excellent idea. However, we believe that the benefit system should look to prevent people from getting into debt not exacerbating it. It would appear that the problems experienced in this current roll-out of UC is a result of cuts and delays inherent in its design and implementation without adequate funding resulting in the numerous administrative problem described above. We would be surprised if you have not been made aware of problems in the roll-out of UC in Eastleigh and the very real difficulties experienced by some of your constituents because of it and suggest that to imply the overall roll-out as “positive” is at best misleading and at worst disingenuous.

We will be very interested to hear your comments on the above and your reasons for what we expect will be your vote on Wednesday not to back Labour’s call for a pause to the roll out while the full implications and effects of the delays and errors on individuals and communities can be properly looked into. 

Yours sincerely,

Eastleigh Labour Party

The Labour party also has a petition to pause Universal Credit rollout, you can sign it here:
https://donation.labour.org.uk/page/s/universal-credit

Mims Davies: Re the roll-out of Universal Credit in Eastleigh

Dear Mims,Re the roll-out of Universal Credit in Eastleigh. Your comments on ‘The Sunday Politics‘ this weekend suggest that Eastleigh is not experiencing the same problems as other constituencies around the...

Labour party members from all over the Eastleigh constituency arrived in the town branch office last weekend to volunteer for Labours national campaign day, following this year’s brilliant conference. Be it at the office, or in the high street, our team spent hours talking to the public and handing out informative leaflets. The positive responses were overwhelming; people waving from their cars, and approaching our stall eager to learn more about what Labour has to offer the Eastleigh constituency.

It was sad to hear that some in Eastleigh are struggling more and more under Conservative cuts, and feel that the local council is failing to help them on housing and the NHS. But an overwhelming positive is the huge interest among Eastleigh’s young people for Labours new kind of honest politics and all it can offer the local community. Many approached were Labour supporters, and we are hopeful they will take the next step and formally join the party.

All of this is brilliant moving forward, and I know myself and many others within Labour are ready for next year’s local elections, and today represents a brilliant start to the new, united and forward thinking Labour movement that has emerged from this year’s party conference.

Eastleigh Labour National Campaign Day!

Labour party members from all over the Eastleigh constituency arrived in the town branch office last weekend to volunteer for Labours national campaign day, following this year’s brilliant conference. Be...

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Jeremy talked about how Tory austerity is putting public sector workers under pressure with pay cuts. The Labour Party proposed an amendment to the Queens Speech to put an end to this, but the Tories voted against it.
Eastleigh Labour Party Members
Jeremy also mentioned how he is visiting all marginal constituencies across the UK this summer as it is possible that a new General Election could be called at any time. Here in the Eastleigh Labour Party we welcome the possibility of a new General Election whenever the opportunity may present itself. We believe that it IS possible for Labour to win in Eastleigh and that the time of tactical voting is over.

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Members of the Eastleigh Labour Party were among thousands that attended the Jeremy Corbyn rally at in Southampton at the Guildhall Square yesterday. Jeremy talked about how Tory austerity is...

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