Local Rotherham MP John Healey is warning more families across Rotherham will be worse off as the Government ploughs on with full Universal Credit in the borough.
The new welfare system has now come into force in the town and replaces six working age benefits with a single monthly payment.
Experience in other areas where Universal Credit has been put in place shows one in five claimants do not receive their full payment on time, while landlords have seen rent arrears soar when UC is introduced. This has led the Parliamentary watchdog National Audit Office to tell Ministers to fix the flaws before fully rolling out UC in the rest of the country.
And research from foodbank specialist Trussell Trust also shows an average 52% increase in foodbank users in the twelve months after the full rollout date; 70% of those that responded to the survey told the Trust they found themselves in debt with 56% experiencing housing issues.
John Healey MP said: “The Tories’ Universal Credit system is pushing thousands of families into poverty, homelessness and debt. It should be helping people make ends meet but too often in makes managing the family finances much harder and leads to debts that many will never be able to pay off”.
“Both the design and implementation of UC have been botched but Ministers refuse to pause the roll-out to sort out the problems. People in Rotherham currently on benefits will now be switched to UC and face long waits for a first payment and the risk of mounting debt and rent arrears.
“Labour’s been arguing for a moratorium on the Universal Credit rollout until Ministers have fixed the flaws. But the Government has rejected the evidence of UC’s serious failings and I fear more people will be forced to turn to Rotherham’s already hard-pressed foodbanks for help”.”
Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018 3660 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network in Rotherham, 1335 of those were children.
Figures sourced from Trussell Trust Foodbank Data and the NAO Rolling out Universal Credit Report: