WHEN Universal Credit was dreamt up it was doubtlessly conceived that it was essentially aimed at an under-class, those not willing to work for whatever perverse reason and not really worthy of support. It was always designed to punish. But now many more people are finding themselves at its mercy. And what will they find?

I am on Universal Credit. The first shock to the system was that I was told that while the Department of Work and Pensions accepted that my rent for a single-bedroom flat was indeed £400 per calendar month (pcm), they would only give me £350 pcm. Apparently they have rules in place to set limits. My rent at £400 pcm is already under the market rate. What is going on?

So now I am expected to find that extra £50 from an already derisory payment of £96 a week, taking what I am meant to live on down to approximately £84 a week. And let’s be clear, that doesn’t mean just to feed and clothe myself. It means to pay for all my utilities, my phone, internet and TV licence.

It’s simply not possible.

We urgently need Universal Credit to be uprated now, probably at least doubling it and for realistic levels to be set on its rent component. Will any politician stand up and demand the decent thing? I increasingly doubt it, as they have ignored the facts for years.

I’d like to think that Scottish Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will step up to the plate and at least challenge her UK counterpart on this.

Michael Collie, Dunfermline.

IAIN Macwhirter has it all wrong. First of all the economic model we have today is essentially that which operated in feudal times; wealth is appropriated and controlled by the rich and powerful, poverty is a deliberate construct designed to maintain a social structure that favours a few against the interests of the majority. Poverty need not exist, unemployment need not exist.

Secondly, for him to suggest that changes could not be afforded without massive increases in income tax neglects the fact that our current system of taxation is specifically designed to ensure that the rich do not pay tax and enables, if not actually facilitates, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Government, as we currently witness, can, just like the banks, create money out of thin air. There is no reason why it needs to levy taxes at all, the only thing that stops it creating money through quantitative easing on a regular basis is the international banking cartel which is controlled by the same Establishment that currently avoids paying its fair share of taxes.

The major reason for having a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is moral not financial. That we all stand back and allow poverty to exist in the UK never mind elsewhere is a disgrace. That we allow British children to go hungry and live in hovels is just wrong. That we have a complex expensive benefits system that functions badly and is designed to minimise rather than maximise payments is pointless when all in need could automatically be given a proper living wage.That we have the worst levels of pensioner poverty in Europe is just unacceptable. It's wrong that we meekly accept that the minimum wage is less than the living wage and the existence of zero-hour contracts meaning that some have to juggle multiple jobs just to survive.

There is only one reason why we do not have a decent UBI and why it couldn’t work perfectly well and that is because it’s not in the interests of the Establishment that it happens.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.