Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the roll out of Universal Credit (UC). I am extremely concerned about the impact that UC is having on people living in Lewisham Deptford (and across the UK).
As you may know, UC is a single payment which will replace six means-tested benefits and tax credits for working-age individuals and families. It is the Government’s flagship welfare reform and it has been plagued by problems in its design and delivery. I completely agree that the roll-out should be stopped.
UC was designed to lift people out of poverty and smooth the transition into work to ensure that it always pays. However, the reality is that UC has acted as a vehicle for cuts and caused real hardship for many people across the UK.
The National Audit Office recently found that UC may end up costing more than the benefit system it is replacing. It also stated that it cannot be proven that UC helps more claimants into work and concluded it is unlikely to ever deliver value for money. In addition, an inquiry by a House of Commons Select Committee concluded that UC is causing unacceptable hardship and warned that the Government’s approach is failing claimants.
I am aware of recent reports that the Government plans to delay an upcoming vote on UC managed migration draft regulations, which would see three million people transfer across to the new system. While I hope that the Government has woken up to the devastating implications of managed migration, UC is deeply flawed and many people are due to move onto it outside of managed migration. The policy is simply not working: it is pushing many families into poverty, rent arrears and to foodbanks.
I firmly believe that the Government needs to stop the roll-out of UC as a matter of urgency and deliver a social security system that supports people rather than one that pushes many into poverty.
Thank you once again to everyone who has contacted me about this. I am committed to ensuring our social security system is there to support any of us should we need it and my Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government on this at every opportunity.