Layla Moran

Universal Credit “failing claimants” and “causing unacceptable hardship”

Layla has slammed the Government for refusing to listen to problems experienced by those on Universal Credit as MPs urge ministers to make fundamental changes and restore funding to the benefits scheme.

The influential cross-party Public Accounts Committee – of which Layla Moran is a member and which scrutinises government spending and value for money for the taxpayer - has today published its report into the implementation of Universal Credit.

The committee concludes that:

- The DWP’s dismissive attitude to real-world experience is failing claimants

- The recent announcement of delayed roll-out is not a solution

- The Government must work with third-party organisations to shape programme

MPs found that instead of listening to organisations on the frontline supporting claimants, the Department has continued with its fortress mentality and as a result is failing claimants who struggle to adapt to the way Universal Credit works. 

The recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, of a further delay and a “slow and measured” approach to the rollout is not a solution on its own and the Secretary of State has admitted that some claimants will be worse off under Universal Credit.

The Committee concludes that if the current problems are not addressed and the funding needed is not forthcoming the hardship is likely to continue. The Department needs to work with third party organisations to help shape the new programme in light of the real-life experiences of recipients. 

Public Accounts Committee member Layla Moran commented:

“This report proves what many of us suspected – that the Government are refusing to listen to the truth that their roll-out of Universal Credit is having a devastating impact on some of those who have been moved over to the new benefit.

“Oxford and Abingdon were included in the early roll-out of Universal credit and stories of payment delays, penalties and technical cock-ups leading to hardship, mental health problems and forcing people to use food banks are sadly all too common.

“Instead of listening to constructive criticism about how the system could be improved, the Conservatives are desperately trying to save face for their flagship welfare reform.

“Government ministers must get a grip, listen to the damning evidence from MPs, benefit claimants and charities and now concentrate all their efforts on making Universal Credit work.

“The billions of pounds of funding that was cut from the Work Programme in 2015 must also be restored to make sure that people get the support they need and are always better off in work than claiming benefits.”

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