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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 June 2019

It's official - Universal Credit forces women into prostitution

PCS has a clear demand for the replacement of Universal Credit with a fully resourced, supportive social security system, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS has a clear demand for the replacement of Universal Credit with a fully resourced, supportive social security system, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

A PCS union member in the DWP

A Tory minister has been forced to retract an official statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that there was no link between Universal Credit policies with people being pushed to go into to the sex trade to survive.

Will Quince, the minister for family support, claims to have been shocked by the evidence that has been supplied to the Social Security Select Committee that contradicted the official departmental line.

But this is not just an unfortunate impact. It is part of the whole design of the Tory welfare cuts to push working class people into poverty. And some women driven further into poverty are forced into prostitution to make ends meet.

This is another reason that we need to mobilise to defeat these attacks as no one should be forced into the sex trade to survive.

The Government was already slammed in a UN report in May which recommended that the impact of austerity on vulnerable groups should be examined to restore a social security safety net. This included specific mention of reversing cuts such as the two-child payment limit, and the five-week waiting period for universal credit.

Claimants who had been forced into the sex trade especially cited the minimum five-week wait for Universal Credit as a factor forcing them into prostitution as well as the cuts in the level of the benefit.

This UN report had also highlighted that austerity disproportionately hits women and especially single parents. It is clear that the current welfare policies are driving people further into poverty and many especially women are being forced into desperate measures to survive and feed their kids.

PCS has clear demands to scrap all the punitive measures that have been brought into the benefit system and for the replacement of Universal Credit with a fully resourced, supportive social security system.

PCS members are active in the TUC campaign to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit at local level.

PCS members have a key role in formulating the demands of what sort of social security system we want to deliver and what is needed to lift working-class people out of poverty to put an end to this barbaric scourge.

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