News & press releases

Press Release: Anna McMorrin MP asks Government to pause Universal Credit rollout.

October 9, 2017

Anna McMorrin MP for Cardiff North has joined an increasing number of voices calling on the government to delay the rollout of Universal Credit until the failings in the system have been resolved.

There is growing evidence of the problems caused by significant delays in the payment of Universal Credit. The latest research by the charity Citizens Advice showing that 1 in 5 people are being left without money to live on for over 6 weeks leading to long-term debt and rent arrears[1]. Most worryingly, The Trussell Trust have reported that foodbanks in locations where a full rollout of Universal Credit has taken place see, on average, a 16.85% increase in referrals for emergency food.[2]

Alarming evidence recently presented to the Work and Pensions Select Committee revealed that in Newcastle, where there has been full roll-out, over half of those claiming Universal Credit were in rent arears. It has also emerged that only 40% of users have been able to register with the online system used for Universal Credit, leading to concerns that more vulnerable claimants, and those without access to IT facilities, will be unable to use the complex system as the roll out continues.[3]

Despite this, so far in 2017, the Government have rolled out Universal Credit to 57 areas, with a planned expansion to a further 55 areas from October, and to Cardiff in early 2018. 

Anna McMorrin MP for Cardiff North said, “It is clear that the current Universal Credit application process is not fit for purpose. The lengthy delays in receiving payments clearly has a devastating effect on families, causing significant financial hardship and distress. Yet, the Government are determined to aggressively roll-out the complex online system over Christmas and New Year when people are already struggling financially.”

“I am not against simplifying the system, I welcome that, but the Government have ignored professional advice demonstrating that this new system is not ready, as well as evidence that delays are forcing people to apply for emergency food which is simply unacceptable”

“That is why I am calling on the Government to delay the roll out of Universal Credit until it can be sure that no-one will be left unable to make ends meet for weeks on end and forced into debt to support themselves and their families.”


 

[1] Citizens Advice report, “Universal Credit needs to be paused now”, September 2017

[2] The Trussell Trust report, “Early Warnings: Universal Credit and Foodbanks”, April 2017: https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/04/Early-Warnings-Universal-Credit-and-Foodbanks.pdf

[3] Government Performance stats, 11-17 September 2017: 39.4% access on account creation: https://www.gov.uk/performance/govuk-verify

 


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