Response to NAO report on Universal Credit
Commenting on today's National Audit Office report on Universal Credit, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said:
"It was sobering enough to learn from the DWP's own survey last week that four in ten people claiming universal credit have financial problems many months into their claim. Now we have an NAO report confirming just how miserable the experience of claiming universal credit is for hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it. Organisations working with claimants have been saying the same to the DWP for many, many months.
"The picture the NAO presents is justifiably bleak. On the ground, new claimants can't even be sure they will be paid in full and on time. And how many people will be helped into work by the benefit is far from clear.
"There are clearly fundamental design and delivery problems in universal credit which must be fixed but it has also had its funding dramatically reduced so its capacity to deliver on the original aims has been compromised. The big work allowance cuts in particular have made it harder for claimants to increase the rewards from work.
"Today's report must give Ministers pause for thought. Will the Government press on with a programme that is demonstrably failing - causing financial misery for families - or will it restore the money that's been taken out of universal credit in an effort to rehabilitate it for struggling families?"
Note to Editors:
Child Poverty Action Group's Early Warning System collects and analyses case work from advisers across the UK, including universal credit casework.
CPAG spokespeople will be available for interview.
CPAG press contact: Jane Ahrends 0207 812 5216 or 07816 909302