Universal Credit will be debated in Parliament today and the JPIT churches have sent a briefing to every MP outlining our concerns. The briefing outlines some of the key problems but the central message is simple: Universal Credit’s processes suit the lives of the relatively well-off, the people who designed it, but fails to take into account the lives of real people struggling against poverty.
At Prime Minister’s Questions Theresa May defended the roll out of Universal Credit by saying that the new benefit gets more people into work. Since July the Government has used the phrase, “[with] Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system”, time and time again.
While it is true, as with many DWP statements, it is seriously misleading without the proper context.
As the Conservative Party conference rumbled on this week the European Parliament was discussing the future of the Brexit negotiations. The European Parliament voted to urge the EU not to open the next phase of Brexit talks until a ‘major breakthrough’ had been made in the current negotiations. This is only an advisory vote as the European Parliament is not involved in the negotiations between the EU and the UK, it only votes on the final deal. However, it is likely that the European Council, when it meets later this month, will agree with the European Parliament and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator that not enough progress has been made and therefore the Brexit negotiations cannot move forward to the talks about trade that the UK has been lobbying for.
This month we have a delegation of church leaders attending each of the four biggest party conferences, alongside The Salvation Army and Quakers in Britain. We have already been to the Labour and Lib Dem conferences. This week: the Conservative Party
Paul Morrison explains why the Universal Credit announcements are not what they seem.
Families applying for Universal Credit must wait 6 weeks for their first payment. This is causing huge problems. Families are building up rent arrears, debts and needing help from foodbanks as they wait for their money. David Gauke MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has said today that he would address these problems by speeding up Advance Payments – which sounds much better than it actually is.
The Nuclear Ban Treaty opened for signatures yesterday, and already 50 countries have signed up including Ireland and Austria and at least two states that formerly had nuclear weapons programmes, Libya and South Africa. The UK government has lobbied against this groundbreaking initiative that is based on international law.
A meeting with Sir Michael Fallon?
On occasions I have discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Ministry of Defence on nuclear non-proliferation issues. I would love to have a discussion with the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, about the Nuclear Ban Treaty. Not only is he opposed to the treaty at this point in time, he has been so bold as to say that the UK will ‘never sign, ratify or become party to the treaty’. His crystal ball must be working very well indeed.
We can work out from Sir Michael Fallon’s statements and from those of his department how a discussion with him might proceed. It might go something like this: –
This month we have a delegation of church leaders attending each of the four biggest party conferences, alongside The Salvation Army and Quakers in Britain. Watch this pace to hear about what we get up to. In this blog Paul Morrison tells us about the LibDem party conference.
The following are extracts from an article publish by Steve Hucklesby on the ethics and foreign policy implications of the UK Arms Industry.
FULL ARTICLE – Good for Us: The UK Arms Industry
The Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) Arms Fair 2017: Involving 35,000 people, the DSEI arms fair will bring together arms companies and weapons buyers from all over the world, including from some of the world’s most oppressive regimes. This will support the UK’s desire to be established as the world’s second largest arms exporter, an accolade for which we are competing alongside Russia, China and France.
Lucy Zwolinska spoke at this year’s Methodist Conference as part of the President and Vice-President’s resourcing session. The theme was on having the ‘goodwill of the people’ (Acts 2:47), in relation to the work of the Joint Public Issues Team. Watch it here: