Speaking about the Universal Credit pilot scheme in Tameside, Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“Universal Credit is being rolled out to new claimants at Ashton Job Centre from today and I do have a number concerns about the impact that it will have on my constituents.
Universal Credit, which combines out of work benefits and tax credits, will be paid to claimants directly as a single monthly payment for all household bills, including rent. This will put claimants under pressure to manage a lump sum of money while ensuring that rent and other priority debts are paid.
I am also concerned about the requirement for all applications to be made online, as a significant proportion of the community cannot access the internet and would need support to make a claim.
Tameside is now the only pilot area, after plans to roll out Universal Credit in Warrington, Wigan and Oldham were put back to July. The scheme is already late and over-budget and I am sceptical as to how much can be learned from such a small sample to ensure that any problems are ironed out before it is rolled out nationally.”