Universal credit and child poverty

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.

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