BACK in 2010, almost a decade ago, we were promised we would all be in it together as the Conservatives restructured our economy and welfare system.

But look what actually happened.

Inequality has grotesquely widened.

The bankers who crashed our economy continued to earn billions with outrageous bonuses on top and the Amazon’s and Google’s of the world continued to dodge their taxes while we witnessed the cruellest welfare reforms inflicted on the many.

Universal Credit, introduced to Leigh in 2013, has shown exactly how the welfare system has been turned on those it is designed to help.

In our constituency more than 4,000 households are claiming Universal Credit, 42 per cent of which were households with children.

They have been subjected to a system so harsh it often removes their sense of belonging in their community and their stake in society.

Quite simply it is a system that dehumanises and pushes those less well off into harsher poverty.

As a pilot area for Universal Credit it is no surprise at all that last year we saw a rise in food bank usage of 20 per cent in our borough alone.

That meant 5,000 emergency food parcels handed out – 2,000 of them to children in our towns.

And I see often in my surgery these are to hardworking families who struggle to make ends meet and have been let down by our economy.

Personal Independence Payment and Work Capability Assessments are the most disgraceful and disgusting welfare reform of all.

We will all have been shocked at the sight of Stephen Smith earlier this year.

A 64 year old man who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis and an enlarged prostate that left him in chronic pain.

He was suffering with pneumonia and his weight dropped to just six stone.

But he was declared fit to work.

His employment support allowance was stopped and he was told to visit the jobcentre once a week to prove that he was looking for work.

In February Stephen died having just managed to overturn this inhumane decision.

This should shame us all.

This is not a country working for the people.

The last decade of austerity has punished the grafters in this country whilst the privileged few have never had it so good.

For the past few years I have been calling for significant reform to the welfare system to ensure it is supporting not subjugating those in our community.

However, after hearing the truly traumatic stories from those across suffering it has become clear that our welfare system is fundamentally and intrinsically cruel.

So I have concluded that the only way we can properly reform our welfare system is by scrapping universal credit and replacing it with a system that provides dignity and humanity.

Our welfare system should not only care for those less fortunate or going through a period of hardship but also one that motivates and unites our community rather than dividing and turning people against each other.

What's your thoughts on the MP's column this week? Email