A new report on the impact of ‘full service’ universal credit by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland highlights administrative problems experienced by claimants, including:
- difficulty making claims for UC, with many online claims seeming to ‘disappear’
- UC being underpaid because ‘real time information’ provided by HMRC regarding income is not always reliable or accurate
- difficulty claiming contributory benefits that should be available alongside UC.
New rules and policies are also causing difficulties. For example:
- the six week wait for the first payment
- DWP’s policy of only working with a client’s adviser where there is evidence of unequivocal consent from the claimant
- claimants facing hardship due to the rate of deductions for rent arrears and other debts
- increased conditionality and sanctioning
In its Election 2017 manifesto CPAG reported that the number of children in poverty was 4 million and was projected to rise to 5.1 million by 2022. That is a far cry from the commitment in 1999 by then Prime Minister Tony Blair to eliminate child poverty by 2020, reported at www.cpag.org.uk/ending-child-poverty-by-2020.