Lib Dems call for pause to "shambolic" Universal Credit roll-out
The Liberal Democrats have demanded a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit, which according to charities, councils and housing associations is a disaster in slow-motion.
A mandatory six-week wait to receive a first payment is causing people serious difficulties, with over half of new claimants having to borrow money to make ends meet. Universal Credit's policy of making claimants pay landlords rent directly has also led to a major spike in rent arrears.
The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the roll-out be halted until major reforms are put in place, including ensuring those moving to Universal Credit get an Advance Payment and reducing the wait at the start of a claim.
The party has called on Labour to back a pause in the Universal Credit roll-out before it accelerates dramatically in October and causes more hardship for millions of families.
Stephen Lloyd, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesperson, said:
“We support the principle of Universal Credit, which is to help the disadvantaged into work.
"But the roll-out of Universal Credit so far under the Conservatives has been utterly shambolic.
"Families waiting weeks for their first payment are having to borrow money to make ends meet and rent arrears are going through the roof.
“As if this wasn’t enough, Conservative cuts to the amount people can earn before their benefits are reduced are destroying incentives to find work, while inflation is eroding the value of those benefits even further.
“That is why today I am calling on the Labour Party to work with us in demanding that the Government pause the roll-out of Universal Credit, before it is too late.
"These problems must be resolved, before more innocent people have their lives wrecked by this heartless and incompetent government.”