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Theresa May is coming under pressure over the rollout of Universal Credit [Image: REX].

The problem with Universal Credit won’t be solved by “pausing” its rollout.

The system is inherently flawed, in that it allows Conservatives to harm benefit claimants by – for example – delaying their payments or inflicting unreasonable conditions on them.

It is inherently flawed because in households with more than one earner, the taper rate – the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn as earnings increase – is greater than under the current system of tax credits.

And of course, it is inherently flawed in that it was originally intended to be entirely computerised and in that sense it simply doesn’t work at all.

Put those issues together and the reputational damage to UC – and to the Department for Work and Pensions that spawned it – is too great.

Both should be scrapped.

Britain’s biggest foodbank charity has demanded a temporary halt to a benefits shake-up that’s leaving people stranded without cash for months.

The Trussell Trust said problems with Universal Credit had forced demand on one of its centres up by 67%.

The mammoth all-in-one system is slowly replacing six benefits including jobseekers’ allowance and Tax Credits.

But not only has it been delayed seven times, it’s sparked fury by delaying initial payments [to claimants] who transfer onto the benefit.

MPs have repeatedly heard of people waiting three months for payments to come through.

The Trussell Trust gave out nearly 1.2million emergency food parcels last year, its highest number ever and up from 61,000 in 2010/11.

Chief executive Mark Ward said: “Foodbanks tell us that Universal Credit is inadvertently leaving people without any money for six or more weeks, leading to debt, rental arrears, and poor mental health.

“We are concerned this will only get worse as winter approaches and more pressure will be put on stretched voluntary groups left to step in and help in the absence of other practical support.”

The Trust has joined a call already made by Citizens Advice for the roll-out to be halted “until appropriate emergency financial support is available and accessible to all people left with no income or food in the cupboard.”

Read more: Britain’s biggest foodbank charity demands halt to benefit shake-up that’s leaving people with no cash for months


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