Search

Most vulnerable face ‘real challenges in getting by’ due to Universal Credit, MP warns

Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

© Archant 2015

The most vulnerable people in society are being put under “enormous pressure” by a change in the benefits system, a Conservative MP has warned.

Citizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLYCitizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Waveney MP Peter Aldous spoke out against his own party’s government on what he called a “torrent of complaints” that came to his constituency office when the new system was introduced in Lowestoft in May 2016.

Universal Credit is designed to replace six major benefits, including child tax credit, and combine them into a single payment.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that Universal Credit, due to be rolled out nationally, “replaces an out-of-date, complex benefit system with cliff edges that disincentivised work and often trapped people in unemployment”.

But the changeover has been widely criticised, with even former Conservative prime minister John Major complaining that is being rushed in and will hurt the least well off in society the most.

In a parliamentary debate on the issue, Mr Aldous said the roll-out of Universal Credit in Lowestoft “has not been straightforward”.

He added: “Almost from the outset, my office received a very large number of complaints.

“It is clear that many people, often the most vulnerable in society, have been put under enormous pressure and have faced real challenges in getting by on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr Aldous said many of the problems had been addressed, for example by making it easier for landlords to receive direct payments to prevent people falling into rent arrears.

Waveney District Council has also co-ordinated a group that provides people with budgeting and digital support, special disability advice and liaison with landlords.

Mr Aldous said: “The torrent of complaints that my office was receiving in 2016 and early 2017 has reduced, but it would be wrong to say that it is now down to a trickle.

“We probably receive three new complaints per week, most of which revolve around the migration from ESA to universal credit.

“Some of the complaints are resolved quickly, while others are not. The latter largely revolve around customers who are placed in serious financial difficulty as a result of the withdrawal of severe disability payments.

“That shortcoming needs to be addressed. With managed migration, the government need to move very gradually, learning and adapting as they go along.”

Other news

13:40

A young model needs your help to achieve her dream and become Miss England.

08:06

A 20-year-old man has gone missing from the Lowestoft area.

07:35

TV naturalist Chris Packham has called on energy bosses to “work harder” to avoid building a massive substation in a “beautiful” Suffolk habitat.

10:43

Former Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie opens up about his own battles with mental health and tells men who may be struggling - talk about it.

Most Read

08:06

A 20-year-old man has gone missing from the Lowestoft area.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:37

Thousands of pupils across the country attended school in non-uniform to raise money for Children in Need on Friday.

Read more
Ormiston Denes Academy
Wed, 14:04

A disgraced Suffolk teacher who sexually assaulted two teenage girls is facing a jail term when he is sentenced next month.

Read more
Ipswich Crown Court
Yesterday, 17:06

A 25-year-old man has been jailed for 14 months after he caught hiding ecstasy and cocaine inside Kinder Surprise Eggs at this year’s Latitude Festival.

Read more
Ipswich Crown Court
Yesterday, 14:06

Police are urging communities to secure their homes and vehicles and to be vigilant this autumn.

Read more
Suffolk Police

Winter Wonderland

cover

Click here to view
the Autumn
Supplement

View

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Lowestoft Journal weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy