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Rother Valley says Universal Credit is an attack on the poor

This month, Universal Credit was launched in Rotherham, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.

A recent report highlighted a number of significant problems with Universal Credit that have been raised by frontline advisors - including administrative errors, delays and migration issues.

Sir Kevin Barron MP

Sir Kevin Barron MP

I believe the report’s findings are deeply concerning.

The Government’s core ambitions for Universal Credit were to reduce child poverty by 350,000, simplify the social security system and ensure work always pays.

I believe that it has failed to realise these ambitions and I am concerned that it is, in fact, exacerbating, rather than reducing, poverty.

Furthermore, the Government’s decision to implement cuts to work allowances in Universal Credit and limit tax credits to the first two children in a family is an attack on low-income families which will increase child poverty.

Estimates from the House of Commons library indicate that nearly 13,000 people in February 2018 were not paid in full on time and 113,000 were not paid in full on time last year - representing a quarter of new claims.

This is outrageous and these delays are affecting people on low incomes who often do not have savings to rely on in such circumstances.

I am very concerned about the real hardship caused, leading people to have a build-up of debt and rent arrears.

I am committed to transforming our social security system so that it offers genuine support for people who need it, which is why at the last election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to reform and redesign Universal Credit and to scrap the punitive sanctions regime.

The Government must call a halt to Universal Credit and put forward a credible plan to fix its many failings before more people suffer.