MP raises concerns more people will end up sleeping on Chesterfield's streets

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is concerned about the number of people sleeping rough on the town's streets.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins is concerned about the number of people sleeping rough on the town's streets.

Toby Perkins has raised concerns that the Government's flagship benefit reform will lead to more people sleeping on the streets in Chesterfield.

The Chesterfield MP has written to Damian Green, work and pensions secretary, urging the Conservatives to delay the roll-out of Universal Credit and carry out a full assessment of it.

The Government plans to introduce Universal Credit in Chesterfield in November.

Universal Credit merges six existing benefits - including housing benefit, income support and Jobseeker's Allowance - into one.

Mr Perkins said: "Chesterfield is recording rough sleeping levels similar to what we would previously only expect in city centres.

"This is putting vulnerable people at risk and has led to an increase in street drinking and anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

"I have spoken to a variety of agencies and housing providers, all of whom are concerned that Universal Credit will lead to further evictions, more people on the streets and increased pressure on services."

According to Citizens Advice, the roll-out of Universal Credit is a 'disaster waiting to happen'.

The organisation said people it advised who were in receipt of Universal Credit would, on average, appear to have fewer than £4 per month left to pay all their creditors after they have paid essential living costs.

Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice chief executive, said: "The roll-out of Universal Credit is a disaster waiting to happen.

"While the principles behind Universal Credit are sound, our evidence shows that if the Government continues to take this stubborn approach to the expansion of Universal Credit, it risks pushing thousands of families into a spiral of debt and placing an even greater strain on public services."

The Government says Universal Credit helps people improve their lives and raise their incomes.