Received from: PCS
Congress notes that UK benefits fall below the minimum living cost by £140 per month, which covers food, energy and everyday essential items. Millions of people are falling short due to the cost of living crisis and the long-term decline in benefit rates, which are at their lowest in over four decades.
Conference notes that PCS members working in the DWP have experienced chronic understaffing, low pay, unmanageable workloads and creeping privatisation for years. A truly supportive social security system requires a significant increase in staffing and resources to deliver the kind of system the public deserves.
Conference believes the Covid pandemic highlighted the vital role of the social security system with an unprecedented number of people turning to it during a time of national crisis. Conference believes the experience of claimants during the pandemic has strengthened calls for reform and we currently have the most sustained period of public support for social security since the 1980s.
During the pandemic, many elements of benefit delivery were paused, such as the sanctions and conditionality regime. These changes, alongside others, should be made permanent.
Conference believes there is an appetite for change but the Labour Party is failing to grasp the opportunity to propose the vital reforms needed.
Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for:
i. an immediate and permanent uplift in benefit rates to match inflation and provide for restoration
ii. the scrapping of punitive measures, including the sanctions and conditionality regime
iii. more resources for the DWP.
Public and Commercial Services Union
› After point iii., add:
“Congress also calls on the General Council to:
a. Review, outline and campaign for changes to disability-related benefits to ensure they meet the needs of disabled people.
b. Highlight the negative impact that conditionality and back-to-work narratives have on disabled people’s lives and rights.”
National Union of Journalists