Told to Keep Silent, Charity Director Goes Public About Harm of Universal Credit

Pam Barker | Director of TLB Europe Reloaded Project

As you’ll hear from Ellie Waugh in a short video piece posted to Youtube within the last 24 hours, Director of the charity Humanity Torbay in the Torquay area of England, clients of her charity – some of the most vulnerable people in society – are having to receive sleeping bags and tents from her organization because they simply have nowhere to live. This as temperatures are about to drop. But it’s actually far worse than that. On top of that, she’s been receiving threats to shut up. Notice in the blogpost below how charities are not permitted to criticize UK government policy under threat to their funding.

About her charity:

Humanity Torbay is a community group with charity status that was set up last year to help the homeless and vulnerable people in Torbay. The charity founder and chief executive, Ellie Waugh, has previously said that an unofficial policy of ‘social cleansing’ is being applied to remove homeless people from Torquay town centre.

The charity has been offering support services and food to the homeless and disadvantaged groups from its offices in Castle Road, opposite Torquay Town Hall.

Waugh said it had been feeding around 200 people a week during the summer, with up to 500 in the winter, and there was a group of around 20 regular visitors who spent a lot of time at the centre.

Now, Waugh has chosen to speak out about the devastating impact of Universal Credit despite threats from the Council, because she thinks the public needs to know how dire the situation is for many people. Charities are not permitted to criticise government policies such as Universal Credit and may lose funding and aid as a consequence.

Please listen to Ellie Waugh (below) and share her account of the desperation, harm and utter destruction of people’s lives that Universal Credit is inflicting on increasing numbers.

See also: Charity CEO defies DWP threats and speaks out about Universal Credit

As the blogpost from KittyJones above demonstrates, the bigger issue is with Universal Credit, a scheme launched under former Tory PM David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith, to simplify (and no doubt drastically cut) the welfare payment scheme by rolling up to 6 benefits into one. Problem is, people are having to wait for periods of time to receive their first payment and have literally nothing to live on in the meantime. Many have to get into debt to tide them over or simply do without. Once received, these benefits are usually paid directly to the claimant, some of whom may have mental health issues which may thus threaten their tenancy with an existing landlord. We recommend this article by The Daily Express from last year, As damaging as the Poll Tax: Tory row over Universal Credit could destroy Theresa May. Universal Credit has been rolled out selectively over the country; the Torquay area saw its implementation in early September, 2018. The rollout has been beset by administrative problems, harmful to its recipients, which the Daily Express piece indicates.

Economic conditions have been getting worse and worse for people under the Tory government’s neoliberal policies with more and more children living in poverty and rickets making a comeback (I doubt Labour would be much better since extreme centrist parties these days all follow whatever the global, financial elites tell them.) Extremely sick people being given the run around over their welfare payments, told to get jobs that don’t exist under threat of receiving nothing, being cut off from welfare rolls, with a sizable number committing suicide – these are just some of the effects of The Nasty Party’s policies since the 2008 financial crisis. Yet massive numbers of illegal migrants continue to roll in at great financial and social cost to society, social justice themes of feminism and equal pay are trotted out along with LGBT and transgender rights, and a massive anti-Russia campaign that defies all reality barrels on. Anybody and everybody counts – just not those under our very noses.

As Ellie points out, some of her clients are having to turn to prostitution to put food on the table for their families, while others are turning to self-harm, threatening suicide or taking crack; most are starving and many don’t have a roof over their heads.

“It’s absolutely awful out there… People haven’t got any money … haven’t got anywhere to live … please give me all the abusive phone calls you want telling me to shut up and not say anything …”

Kudos to Ellie. Here is her appeal:

CEO of Homeless Charity ‘Humanity Torbay’ Breaks Gagging Order On The Effects of Universal Credit