The Government continue to press on with their roll-out of Universal Credit in the face of clear evidence that the policy is pushing people into spirals of debt and poverty.
Only a small number of people are currently claiming Universal Credit but over the next few months this will increase rapidly.
Labour continue to lobby the Government in Parliament, calling for an urgent pause so that the problems can be fixed before any more families or financially vulnerable people are put into serious difficulty.
I have signed the following Motion in Parliament:
That this House is concerned that research from Citizens Advice indicates that over half of claimants of universal credit are in debt, putting huge anxiety and stress onto families; notes that on average universal credit claimants have less than £4 per month to repay creditors and that the system of advance payments immediately puts claimants into debt; further notes that the six weeks initial waiting period and further payment delays for around 20 per cent of claimants increase the number of claimants who have to resort to loans or debt at the start of their claim; calls on the Government to report monthly to the House on the number of full service claimants on universal credit and the numbers receiving their payments in full and on time, and to pause the roll-out for an urgent review of the level of support received under universal credit, the seven day waiting period for which no payment is made, the 63 per cent clawback of earnings, the work allowances which have been severely cut and the support for families with disabled children which has been abolished within universal credit; urges the Government to ensure that households that combine work with support under universal credit can achieve a decent minimum standard of living, that levels of personal debt are not increased and that universal credit is no longer a factor in the projected increase in child poverty; and further calls on the Government to make it a priority to update the 2011 impact assessment on universal credit on the 10 million households that will be affected.
I hope that this will help to keep the pressure on the Government. We need to see meaningful changes as soon as possible.