Reports are saying the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) plans to halt the full rollout of Universal Credit. If the Government is finally recognising this is a flawed system, then that’s welcome, but if that means they are halting Universal Credit roll-out, it needs to stop immediately in Nottingham.
In July, I called for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted before it inflicts more pain on families in Nottingham. The limited experience of Universal Credit so far in Nottingham has seen risinig levels of rent arrears along with more debt problems. It’s high time the Department for Work and Pensions accepted that the way they have implemented Universal Credit so far is actively hurting the people it is there to help. It’s totally unacceptable for them to simply plough on regardless while it damages people’s lives, driving them into debt and needing to use foodbanks.
There has been a chorus of opposition to the Government’s flagship welfare reform and a list of examples exposing the inherent flaw and problems with its implementation:
- Whistle-blowers described the IT system as “fundamentally broken.”
- The DWP helpline for Universal Credit charged callers seeking help 55p a minute.
- A fifth of Universal Credit Claimants still receive late payments.
- The Work and Pensions Committee warned that single household payments of Universal Credit could facilitate abuse and domestic violence.
- A National Audit Office report concluded the DWP was unsympathetic to claimants and refused to accept that Universal Credit has caused hardship.
- Sir John Major compared the Universal Credit to the Poll Tax.
- The Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, admitted some claimants could be worse off by £200 a month.
- Former Work and Pension Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith, has called for an extra £2 billion to make the scheme workable.
These problems have emerged while only a fraction of the total number of benefit claimants have been placed on Universal Credit. The Government should take this as a chance to stop the process, and fix the obvious problems that exist, otherwise they will be knowingly inflicting the same pain on more families in Nottingham and millions of other claimants due to be placed on Universal Credit.