• Home /
  • Blog / 123 MPs Join Urgent Call to Prevent October Roll-out causing Universal Credit Misery for Millions

123 MPs Join Urgent Call to Prevent October Roll-out causing Universal Credit Misery for Millions

123 MPs of different parties have signed a letter to David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, to urgently call on him to delay the planned roll out of Universal Credit to 55 new areas a month from next week, to avoid hardship and increased debt for millions of families.

The MPs pointed out how the complicated system of claiming is already struggling to cope with just 5 new areas a month having been rolled out earlier this year.

Mike Gapes MP (Ilford South) said, “The system for claiming Universal Credit is a shambles, even with only 5 new areas a month.  According to the government’s own figures, almost a quarter of claimants wait longer than 6 weeks for their payment.  Some families wait 12 weeks or more, pushing many into rent arrears or a spiral of debt that is almost impossible to get out of, as their income under Universal Credit is too low to pay off the loan.

“David Gauke must now do the decent thing and delay next week’s planned 11-fold expansion until Universal Credit systems are working properly.  If he doesn’t, then hundreds of thousands more families each month will have to suffer weeks with no money, causing them long-term financial problems.

“It would be a huge injustice for so many families to suffer simply because the government will not admit they still can’t get Universal Credit working properly.”

The MPs also pointed out that less than 40% of claimants register successfully with the government’s compulsory online portal, and that the phone ‘helpline’ is simply an automatic message, directing claimants to the website, so they can’t find out what is happening with their claim.

Citizens Advice has already called on the government to delay the programme in light of the evidence from the people they help, of whom over half had to borrow money whilst waiting for their first Universal Credit payment.

Councils and Landlords’ organisations have also called for the roll-out to be delayed as over half of recipients of Universal Credit are in rent arrears.  Many tenants are in danger of eviction and some landlords now refuse tenants who are on Universal Credit, making housing problems worse.

Full text of the letter to David Gauke:

 

Dear Secretary of State

Please delay the planned huge expansion of Universal Credit

We write to ask you to please urgently reconsider the planned huge expansion of the roll-out of Universal Credit next month.

Universal Credit has been rolled out to 57 areas so far this year and has around 500,000 household recipients.  As you know, the planned expansion from October is to 55 further areas per month – set to flood the system with almost as many applicants again, every single month.

In light of the mounting evidence of the problems caused by long delays in benefit payments - long-term debt, rent arrears and evictions, and the resulting impact on family relationships, anxiety and depression - we urge you to proceed with continued caution with Universal Credit so as not to endanger the millions of people due to be affected in the next few months.

Last week the DWP Select Committee heard about the current problems with the system and the information released by DWP showed that on the basis of roll-out to only 5 new areas per month:

  1. Only 77% of claims are currently processed and paid within 6 weeks.  The 6 week delay causes considerable hardship, but further delays cause real long-term damage to family finances, with long-term debt, bank problems, and direct debit payment of bills no longer available.  The huge influx of new claimants will cause hundreds of thousands more families to suffer such problems.
  2. Many claimants are unaware of hardship payments and by the time they claim it is too late to prevent debt problems.
  3. Only around 40% of users successfully log into the Gov.UK ‘Verify’ system to make an online claim.  New Universal Credit applicants in the roll-out are from more vulnerable groups, less likely to have IT or be able to use the complicated system.
  4. The ‘Helpline’ cannot be contacted.  We are told that phone waits are down to 3 minutes, but that is because after 3 minutes the caller receives an automated message to look online and is then cut off.
  5. The Landlord Portal is only at the bare minimum of functionality.  It needs to be fully functioning and rolled out to all Councils and large-scale housing providers so they can assist with applicant queries and are aware when claimants have not received their UC payment so we do not see unnecessary evictions.

Please would you ensure that these problems are fully fixed and that the Universal Credit application process is working well for the current small number of applicants before the Full Service is rolled out to so many more as it will otherwise create deep-rooted hardship for families and long-term problems for millions of families that will be far more difficult and costly to resolve.

 Yours sincerely

 

Ruth

George

High Peak

Marsha

De Cordova

Battersea

Ian

Austin

Dudley North

Kevin

Barron

Rother Valley

Hilary

Benn

Leeds Central

Luciana

Berger

Liverpool, Wavertree

Paul

Blomfield

Sheffield Central

Tracy

Brabin

Batley and Spen

Benjamin

Bradshaw

Exeter

Lyn

Brown

West Ham

Karen

Buck

Westminster North

Dawn

Butler

Brent Central

Ruth

Cadbury

Brentford and Isleworth

Ronnie

Campbell

Blyth Valley

Dan

Carden

Liverpool, Walton

Bambos

Charalambous

Enfield, Southgate

Ann

Clwyd

Cynon Valley

Vernon

Coaker

Gedling

Julie

Cooper

Burnley

Rosie

Cooper

West Lancashire

Mary

Creagh

Wakefield

Stella

Creasy

Walthamstow

Alex

Cunningham

Stockton North

Jim

Cunningham

Coventry South

Nic

Dakin

Scunthorpe

Geraint

Davies

Swansea West

Gloria

de Piero

Ashfield

Thangam

Debbonaire

Bristol West

Tanmanjeet

Dhesi

Slough

Anneliese

Dodds

Oxford East

Stephen

Doughty

Cardiff South and Penarth

David

Drew

Stroud

Jack

Dromey

Birmingham, Erdington

Rosie

Duffield

Canterbury

Maria

Eagle

Garston and Halewood

Clive

Efford

Eltham

Chris

Elmore

Ogmore

Paul

Flynn

Newport West

James

Frith

Bury North

Gill

Furniss

Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough

Hugh

Gaffney

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

Mike

Gapes

Ilford South

Barry

Gardiner

Brent North

Preet

Gill

Birmingham, Edgbaston

Mary

Glindon

North Tyneside

Roger

Godsiff

Birmingham, Hall Green

Neil

Gray

Airdrie and Shotts

Kate

Green

Stretford and Urmston

Lilian

Greenwood

Nottingham South

Andrew

Gwynne

Denton and Reddish

David

Hanson

Delyn

Emma

Hardy

Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

Carolyn

Harris

Swansea East

Helen

Hayes

Dulwich and West Norwood

Sue

Hayman

Workington

Sharon

Hodgson

Washington and Sunderland West

Kate

Hollern

Blackburn

George

Howarth

Knowsley

Dan

Jarvis

Barnsley Central

Gerald

Jones

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

Sarah

Jones

Croydon Central

Barbara

Keeley

Worsley and Eccles South

Ged

Killen

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Ben

Lake

Ceredigion

David

Lammy

Tottenham

Justin

Madders

Ellesmere Port and Neston

Seema

Malhotra

Feltham and Heston

Gordon

Marsden

Blackpool South

Sandy

Martin

Ipswich

Rachael

Maskell

York Central

Kerry

McCarthy

Bristol East

Siobhain

McDonagh

Mitcham and Morden

Alison

McGovern

Wirral South

Liz

McInnes

Heywood and Middleton

Catherine

McKinnell

Newcastle upon Tyne North

Jim

McMahon

Oldham West and Royton

Anna

McMorrin

Cardiff North

Ian

Mearns

Gateshead

Madeleine

Moon

Bridgend

Layla

Moran

Oxford West and Abingdon

Stephen

Morgan

Portsmouth South

Grahame

Morris

Easington

Jared

O'Mara

Sheffield, Hallam

Melanie

Onn

Great Grimsby

Chi

Onwurah

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Stephanie

Peacock

Barnsley East

Toby

Perkins

Chesterfield

Jess

Phillips

Birmingham, Yardley

Laura

Pidcock

North West Durham

Jo

Platt

Leigh

Luke

Pollard

Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Yasmin

Qureshi

Bolton South East

Faisal

Rashid

Warrington South

Ellie

Reeves

Lewisham West and Penge

Rachel

Reeves

Leeds West

Jonathan

Reynolds

Stalybridge and Hyde

Lloyd

Russell-Moyle

Brighton, Kemptown

Naz

Shah

Bradford West

Paula

Sherriff

Dewsbury

Tulip

Siddiq

Hampstead and Kilburn

Ruth

Smeeth

Stoke-on-Trent North

Eleanor

Smith

Wolverhampton South West

Jeff

Smith

Manchester, Withington

Laura

Smith

Crewe and Nantwich

Nick

Smith

Blaenau Gwent

Angela

Smith

Penistone and Stocksbridge

Karin

Smyth

Bristol South

Gareth

Snell

Stoke-on-Trent Central

Alex

Sobel

Leeds North West

John

Spellar

Warley

Jo

Stevens

Cardiff Central

Paul

Sweeney

Glasgow North East

Alison

Thewliss

Glasgow Central

Karl

Turner

Kingston upon Hull East

Liz

Twist

Blaydon

Keith

Vaz

Leicester East

Thelma

Walker

Colne Valley

Martin

Whitfield

East Lothian

Hywel

Williams

Arfon

Chris

Williamson

Derby North

John

Woodcock

Barrow and Furness

Mohammad

Yasin

Bedford

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.