Over the next six months or so Universal Credit (UC) will be rolled out throughout Derbyshire.
It was devised by Iain Duncan-Smith after a tour of one of Glasgow’s poorest housing estates.
Although the idea of combining six different benefits into one payment sounds simple, the way it has been introduced has led to all sorts of problems.
Problem one: people will have to wait up to 12 weeks for their first payment without any income.
Problem two: UC is far too complicated, people struggle to use it.
Problem three: people are not getting help when the system fails them. For those who cannot afford a computer, they will be asked to go online from a range of outlets, including libraries.
You may ask where this evidence comes from. Most of it has come from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), not known for its campaigning. More than one in three current claimants has been helped by the bureau. CAB reports that most have to wait six weeks before any money is paid, 11% waited more than ten weeks.
As many as 30% of people helped by CAB made ten or more phone calls to the helpline to sort out their claim. Everyone claiming UC has to call the helpline to complete their claim.
This costs 55p per minute.
More than 40% were not aware that they could get an advance payment to help them out, and of those who did, found themselves in debt later.
More than half the people who receive UC had to borrow money whilst waiting for their first payment.
The government knows that this system is not working. CAB estimates that 7 million people will be on Universal Credit by 2022. The Government has so far not listened to the CAB, Resolution Foundation, MPs and many respected bodies.
Solely, in my opinion because it doesn’t care about people who live in poverty. I believe the Government has no intention of asking those who will suffer as a result of this vicious scheme. It needs to be halted in its track NOW..