Disabled People Against Cuts have staged a series of protests around the country today to protest universal credit.

Introduced in 2013 by the Conservatives as a total overhaul of the benefits system to replace six means-tested benefits systems, including Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance, but has been aggressively criticisised by many, including the disabled community for its impenetrable and inaccessible nature.

The overhauling of the benefits system has to date cost £15.8 billion in its implementation, but the government expects only £1 billion to be saved by 2020.

A main protest took place in London both inside and outside of Westminster while Prime Minister’s Questions went on inside, with protesters also taking to the streets of Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh and others calling for the Tories to abolish the unfair system, which will affect seven million households and coming down hardest on disabled families, who can lose £2,000pa, and as a couple over £4,000pa.

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A spokesperson for the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty told Third Force News:

“Universal credit will mean no more disability premiums, sanctions for those in part-time work and cuts to child disability payments. No-one on the benefit is allowed a holiday and hardship loans are repayable.

“It is a mess with IT failures, unclear rules, understaffing, and under-training.”

The protests also seek to highlight the number of suicides and deaths which have been linked to the Universal Credit system, including those of disabled people like David Coupe, Elaine Morrall and Jodey Whiting, all of whom died soon after their benefits were stopped.

For updates, follow #StopAndScrap or #StopAndScrapUniversalCredit on Twitter, or DPAC on Twitter.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact Samaritans, Mind, or CALM, and know that you are not alone.

Images courtesy of Mark Harrison and Keith Walker/DPAC

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