This morning the Work and Pensions Select Committee published findings of its analysis of Universal Credit, revealing that potentially up to half of all Universal Credit claimants could be considered vulnerable. Seeing the negative impact Universal Credit has on people who access its centres in the UK, The Salvation Army is concerned that vulnerable benefit claimants are neither being correctly identified nor receiving adequate support. The church and charity is once again urging the Government to pause its roll-out to address a desperate need to improve the system for its claimants.
Head of Public Affairs for The Salvation Army, Helen Cameron, comments: “We are deeply concerned about the findings from this report, including the lack of any real assessment by government as to the impact of Universal Credit’s implementation on all claimants. We believe that these findings demonstrate an urgent need for changes to be made to the way Universal Credit identifies at-risk claimants. By revealing that up to 50 per cent of people claiming Universal Credit could be vulnerable, the Select Committee report published today ratifies our concerns that the current system does not adequately identify a claimant’s vulnerability, thereby forcing many people into potentially devastating situations.
“The Salvation Army has seen a sharp increase in referrals for food parcels and support in our community centres; while benefit claimants who are identified as vulnerable should be accessing additional support when they apply for Universal Credit, it’s clear they are not receiving adequate care from the system. In one area alone, we saw a 50 per cent increase in people referred to our food bank after the launch of Universal Credit in the area, with 30 per cent of those specifically waiting for their Universal Credit payments.
“The report recommends that the DWP must monitor ‘adverse effects on claimants’, and today, we are again urging the Government to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit in order to improve the system for vulnerable people. In order to do this effectively, the Government must draw on the expertise of charities like The Salvation Army to review the impact of Universal Credit and its roll-out.”