Universal Credit is set to be rolled out across Enfield in August of this year, despite calls being made for the rollout to be delayed in order to address problems with the new system.
Universal Credit replaces 6 means-tested benefits, including Tax Credits, Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit and by 2022, 7 million families will be in receipt of it. However, concerns have been raised by Citizens Advice and others that the new system is failing many people and forcing them into destitution.
Research conducted by Citizens Advice shows that some people are waiting up to 12 weeks for their first payment; people are struggling to cope with the complexity of the new system and people are not getting they support they need.
Due to the cuts made to core grant funding for Citizens Advice Enfield, there is set to be a reduced capacity for their ability to assist the expected surge in people requiring support.
Kate Osamor, MP for Edmonton said:
"I welcome any steps being made to simplify our social security system, however, it is vitally important that the rollout of Universal Credit does not leave people destitute.
"It is deeply concerning that 1 in 3 people have had to wait longer than six weeks for their first payment and 1 in 10 over 10 weeks. Many of my constituents rely on our social security system and it is vitally important that we see an end to vulnerable people slipping through the safety net.
"I have written to the Secretary of State for the DWP and urged him to delay the rollout of Universal Credit and to work with Citizens Advice and others to alleviate the problems that have arisen”.