Ministers cannot ignore warnings over Universal Credit, says TUC

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date: 22 November 2012

embargo: For immediate release

Responding to today's (Thursday) report on Universal Credit by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, which warns that the new benefits system could push low-income families into debt, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'The concerns raised over Universal Credit in this report must not be ignored. It is deeply disturbing that some local authorities are already warning that the new monthly payment system could force some low-income families to turn to pay-day loan companies and loan sharks in an attempt to get by.

'Ministers must also ensure that vulnerable people can access the new system. Moving the claims process entirely online seems like another potential recipe for disaster that could leave many applicants unsure about how to apply for their payments. Universal Credit is supposed to be about simplifying the benefits system not making it more complicated.

'With households struggling to make ends meet as a result of the government's ongoing tax credit and benefit cuts, botched delivery could mean that Universal Credit just makes this situation even worse. The best way to help low-income and vulnerable households would be to reverse the damaging cuts that are already forcing thousands into even deeper poverty. '

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Alex Rossiter T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07887 572130 E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk

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