Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington has met with the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Damian Green, to raise the concerns of many constituents who are being failed by the roll out of new Universal Credit system due to IT failures, digital issues and inadequate staff training.
London Borough of Sutton is one of the pilot areas for the digital rollout of Universal Credit system, which is intended to replace the current working age means-tested benefits.
Universal Credit was designed as a simple benefit, but poor staff training means that the hardworking Jobcentre staff are being failed and this impacts constituents.
Concerns from constituents has Tom to demand s meeting with the Secretary of State to challenge the Government on their record and failure to rectify the problems people are encountering and repair a defective digital system. Tom highlighted the cases of his constituents and demanded urgent improvements to the Universal Credit system.
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group:
“We very much support Tom Brake for raising these important issues and welcome the new secretary of state’s willingness to listen. The problems faced by the Sutton residents who have sought help from Sutton Citizens Advice and in the MP’s casework appear to indicate that the universal credit system is struggling to deal with the complexities of merging all of the main working-age means-tested benefits into one. Of particular concern are the apparent inability of the system to process childcare payments effectively, the unreasonable work-related requirements being imposed on people with serious health problems and the maladministration around the payment of housing costs which has left vulnerable claimants facing arrears and possible eviction.
“It is not clear whether these problems are due to inadequate training of DWP staff, ineffective administrative systems or problems with the IT underpinning the service. However, with such clear evidence that elements of the new system are causing unnecessary hardship to claimants, the Government needs to urgently work out what’s going wrong and fix it quickly so the problems faced by Sutton residents are not replicated more widely as the system rolls out to the rest of the UK.”