Organisations representing more than 1m council households said universal credit claim processing problems had ‘notably worsened’ over the past few months [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].

Freud will refuse to accept that there is anything wrong with Universal Credit and will say it is working perfectly.

This is because it is designed to put people into debt and make them face eviction. A frightened benefit claimant is a pliable one.

Once they are desperate, they’ll do pretty much anything a Job Centre ‘adviser’ tells them.

They are easily exploitable.

Of course, UC also harms landlords, local authorities and utility suppliers, which means it threatens the economies of every area it has been rolled out, but Tories don’t really understand that sort of thing.

As we’ve seen from the last nearly seven years of misrule, economics is not the Conservative Party’s strong suit.

UC itself has cost a fortune, was intended to be totally computerised and ended up being worked out on bits of paper by overworked DWP staff. It is the most flawed of all the flawed ideas the Conservatives have produced in recent years.

That is hardly any wonder when you consider its architects – Lord Freud, a man who would refuse to accept the facts if he were a victim of his own scheme, and Iain Duncan Smith, a man who should be serving a prison sentence to atone for the thousands of benefit claimant deaths he has caused.

Thousands of benefit claimants are facing debt, rent arrears and eviction as a result of policy design flaws in universal credit, according to landlords and politicians, who are demanding an overhaul of the system.

They have warned that UC rules that require claimants to wait at least six weeks for a first benefit payment mean many are going without basic living essentials, forcing them to turn to food banks and loan sharks.

The findings have emerged during an investigation by the Guardian, which has also revealed that:

  • Eight out of 10 social housing tenants moved on to UC are falling into rent arrears or increasing the level of pre-existing arrears.
  • Families unable to manage the regulation 42-day wait for a first payment are regularly referred to food banks by housing associations or local MPs.
  • Some claimants are waiting as long as 60 days for an initial payment because of processing delays on top of the formal wait.
  • Uncertainty about the system has contributed to a dramatic decline in the number of private landlords willing to take on benefit recipients, even if they are in work.

Parliament’s work and pensions committee will challenge one of the architects of UC, Lord Freud, on Wednesday.

Source: Universal credit flaws pushing claimants towards debt and eviction | Society | The Guardian

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