Local MP voices concerns about Universal Credit system failings

On 7 May 2019, Parliamentarians again expressed their worries to the Government about the universal credit helpline, and the evidence that those struggling to use the system are denied the help they need.

Among concerns raised were that on the helpline, claimants were being directed to digital platforms, meaning that those who struggle with online access are unable to complete basic actions such as submitting a complaint.

Local Member of Parliament, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, added his voice to the list of Parliamentarians who spoke and stated that whilst there are issues with the help available, that the whole system needs to be addressed.

Mr. Thomas-Symonds has regularly spoken out on the issues caused by Universal Credit in Torfaen, which was one of the areas chosen as a pilot area for full service Universal Credit.

Asking the Member for Midlothian who called the debate, he said “does my hon. Friend agree that there are far deeper problems and that actually the whole system needs to be looked at? Certainly, in my constituency, universal credit is driving up debt, driving up rent arrears and driving up poverty for those in work and those out of work.”

When asked about the debate, Mr. Thomas-Symonds stated:

“Many organisations in my constituency do great work mitigating the effects of the universal credit roll-out, though it continues to cause great hardship.

“The failings of its helpline add insult to injury – when first conceived it wasn’t even free to call – not only is this Government’s botched roll out of the Universal Credit system is making people poorer, but they are even failing to offer help to those who find themselves in need due to the Government’s own inadequacies.”

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