I, along with 122 other MPs, have signed a letter to David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Work and pensions, asking for a delay to the planned roll out of Universal Credit and Labour has secured a vote on the Government’s plan to continue the roll out of Universal Credit Full Service.
There are currently 940 people in Hull West and Hessle who are on Universal Credit, but when I asked the Government what estimate they had made of the number of people in Hull who would claim Universal Credit after the roll out, I was told they had made no such estimate. How can the Government prepare for the roll out if they do not know how many people it will affect?
The way the Universal Credit system is set up, claimants have to wait up to six weeks to receive a payment. This would be bad enough, but there are reports that people are having to wait 12 weeks or more and this is pushing people into rent arrears and a spiral of debt. On top of this, the helpline is costing people up to 55p per minute to call.
On September 18th The Work and Pensions Committee Chair, Frank Field, called on the Government to pause the roll out, to prevent a “Human and political catastrophe.”
The Government need to listen up and delay the roll out of Universal Credit.