Hartlepool MP Mike Hill calls on '˜aloof' Government to end Universal Credit roll out
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has called on the Government to rethink the roll out of Universal Credit '“ as the country stands '˜on the brink'.
Mr Hill has described the new benefits scheme – which is replacing six other benefits with a single monthly payment – as the ‘sick spectre of poverty’.
The controversial system is designed to replace income-based jobseekers’ allowance, housing benefit, child tax credits, income support, working tax credit and Employment and Support Allowance.
Mr Hill was speaking after the Bishop of Durham, The Right Rev Paul Butler, told the House of Lords about the case of a Hartlepool mum who visits St Aidan’s Church kitchen with her disabled son.
The Right Rev Butler added that she was moved onto Universal Credit and waited seven weeks for her money, while she took paper napkins from a McDonald’s store because she was unable to afford toilet paper.
According to Mr Hill, that is one of just many such cases in Hartlepool.
He said: “Universal Credit is already here in Hartlepool and not being rolled out as in other areas.
“People on other benefits like ESA and PIP are systematically being auto transferred onto UC often by untrained DWP advisors and this is causing untold damage and stress.
“The reality of the six-week rule is exampled by the fact that anybody placing a claim on November 6 will not be paid a benefit until Boxing Day.
“I’m sure the Government won’t be wishing them and their families a merry and happy Christmas.
“Universal Credit is in place in Hartlepool because, like Tory dominated Richmond in North Yorkshire, it was chosen as a pilot area.
“In 2015, Richmond had one of the highest rates of sanctions against UC claimants in the country and yet the Tories have refused to learn from experiences of those in their safest seat in the UK.”
Mr Hill added: “The example of the young woman using McDonalds napkins for sanitary products is not unique.
“In fact, it is becoming typical and so much so that it’s not just individuals coming to me for help, but also religious groups and charitable organisations who in all other circumstances I would be pointing to for help myself. We really do stand on the brink and yet we have an aloof, uncaring and dispassionate Government driving this agenda.
“It really is the sick spectre of poverty levelled against ordinary working class people by a Government which couldn’t care less, which is why I have gone on public record alongside other Labour and Tory MPs in calling for a rethink on the roll out of Universal Credit elsewhere.”