27 April 2017
Work and Pensions Committee writes to Minister highlighting concerns about Universal Credit
Today the Work and Pensions Committee has written to Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, highlighting a number of serious concerns about how Universal Credit is operating in practice and saying that the practical operation of Universal Credit must be an urgent priority for the Department following the General Election.
The letter comes after the Committee re-opened their inquiry into Universal Credit in February 2017, allowing written submissions up to 20 March. In that short time they received 179 submissions from various individuals and organisations. The written submissions can be viewed on the Committee’s website. The Committee say that while many respondents to the Committee’s inquiry supported in principle the objectives of Universal Credit, the Committee heard a near unanimous set of concerns about its implementation, including:
- Claimants waiting 12 weeks or more for their first payment, resulting in hardship and distress.
- Vulnerable claimants struggling to adapt to receiving UC as a single monthly payment.
- The seven waiting days at the start of a claim, for which claimants receive no benefit, adding to claimants' financial difficulty.
- Rent arrears amongst UC claimants rising.
- Poor communications between landlords, support organisations and the Department where UC ‘full service’ is operating.
- UC inadequately supporting claimants in emergency temporary accommodation.
Concerns were also raised that the timetable for roll-out (which sees roll-out increasing from July 2017) risked exacerbating any problems in the limited current rollout that are not resolved.
The letter to Damian Green is available on the Parliament UK website.
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