Politicians of all parties in Sheffield have criticised Universal Credit – damning it as a “proven failure” and calling for it to be scrapped.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have united in condemning the Government’s new scheme which replaces six existing benefits with a single monthly payment.
Labour MP Louise Haigh raised the issue in Parliament and says she is already being contacted by constituents in Sheffield Heeley who are worried about how Universal Credit will affect them.
“Universal Credit is a proven failure which is causing misery for too many people,” she said. “It’s staggering that the Government continues to stand by it even after hearing time and again that it isn’t working.
“I’ve repeatedly raised in Parliament the risk posed for vulnerable people, including those experiencing financial abuse, and will continue to do so.
“The rollout has caused so much hardship in other parts of the country – in Hastings food bank demand shot up by 80 per cent afterwards.
“Until we can get Universal Credit stopped and scrapped, I will intervening where possible – but there is only so much that can be done with a system that is broken from the ground up.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “Universal Credit might be a good idea in principle, but the Conservatives’ botched implementation of it is causing unnecessary misery for millions in the country, including here in Sheffield.
“The leaked plans to reform Universal Credit will never solve the problem. They are only tinkering at the edges. Nothing short of restoring the billions the Tories cut from Universal Credit Work Allowance will be acceptable.
“As a matter of urgency, deep cuts to benefits that are disproportionately hurting poorer families should be reversed. I demand a halt to the roll of Universal Credit until the extra money has been restored.”
Green councillor Douglas Johnson said he was “very worried” .
“By forcing people to claim online, it’s a process designed to make it harder for people to get the benefits they are entitled to.
“That will have most impact on people who are already disadvantaged. It is also designed so that people will start to get into rent arrears immediately.
“It is going to be very important to make sure the Department of Work and Pensions has proper arrangements in place to make sure people aren’t excluded by the barriers they put up.”