The Liberal Democrats have demanded a pause in the disaster that is Universal Credit until the system can be reformed, as its policies and waiting times cause serious difficulties across the country. They have called on the Labour Party to work with them in achieving this aim, which builds on existing party commitments to reverse the damaging Conservative cuts that have undermined Universal Credit’s original aim of boosting incentives to work.
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.”