People applying for Universal Credit are being forced to wait for at least six weeks before they receive any payment.
This payment delay is having a dramatic and negative impact on applicants from Inverclyde. Scottish Government figures show a 35% increase in the number of crisis grants issued in Inverclyde, while Inverclyde Foodbank is reporting a 70% spike in the number of people requiring urgent assistance.
Evidence from my survey also suggests that online-only systems exclude the most vulnerable. 15% of those surveyed said they could not use a computer at all or only with great difficulty. 33% said they would not be able to go online or use a phone line to get specialist information without help. A similar proportion said they could not fill a form in over the phone or online without help. Over half of those who have contacted my office about Universal Credit did not receive their proper payment by the 6 week point at which it should be made.
The disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit is fast becoming Theresa May’s poll tax – for the sake of those affected in Inverclyde the roll-out needs to be halted as a matter of urgency.