Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Nick Smith MP has called on the Government to stop ignoring their own warning signs and pause the roll out of the Universal Credit programme.
The Department for Work and Pension’s own data shows that one in four claimants are having to wait over six weeks to receive any funds, with half of those in rent arrears reporting that they went into debt after claiming Universal Credit.
820 existing claimants in Blaenau Gwent are set to switch over to the system in April, which has been beset with problems for years -; causing misery across the country.
The Government refused to engage with a debate on the policy this week, resulting in a 299 to 0 vote in favour of a motion to “pause and fix” the system.
It also comes as the Government were forced to scrap charges on their helpline for claimants, which had previously charged up to 55p a minute.
Mr Smith, who as a former member of the Public Accounts Committee scrutinised the failed IT system to deliver Universal Credit, said it was time for the Government to listen.
“The Government has so far refused to listen to MPs’ concerns about the mounting issues with their shambolic Universal Credit roll out, and hundreds of people in Blaenau Gwent will suffer as a result”, he said.
“The social security system is meant to protect people from debt and arrears – not make their situation worse.
“The UK Tory Government must pause and fix Universal Credit now, before thousands of people in Blaenau Gwent and Wales are made worse off”.