Labour Councillor Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council has called on the government to pause the rollout of Universal Credit, as evidence shows if it is imposed in Nottingham next June, there will be increased homelessness, more people in debt and increased child poverty.
The Labour Group motion says “Given the failures identified by pilot schemes and concerns raised by the Work and Pensions Committee, this Council urges the Government to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit full service before it is imposed on the citizens of Nottingham”, and is due to be debated at Novembers Full Council meeting on Monday 13
Currently 2785 people in Nottingham are on Universal Credit, with the full service roll out to be imposed on Nottingham by 2022, which will affect nearly 60,000 city residents. Multiple failures have already been exposed by pilot schemes across the country, with places like Newcastle seeing one in five people waiting longer than six weeks to receive their benefits, and nearly 3,000 people pushed into rent arrears as a result.
Research has established that Universal Credit will eventually reach more than one in four working-age households and families of which more than half of these will be in work. Ultimately, the people likely to be most affected are disabled people including those with mental health problems and those in low-paid work.
As is cited in the motion, the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee has criticised the scheme, with the committee accusing the Government of withholding bad news on the scale of problems caused by Universal Credit, amid growing concern that the changes are forcing more people into debt and poverty.
Councillor Chapman said ‘We’ve only had a limited experience of Universal Credit so far in Nottingham but we’re already seeing rent arrears rising along with more debt problems. The Government needs to see sense and pause the full introduction of Universal Credit in Nottingham”.
He added, “I hope Conservative Councillors will not follow their Westminster colleagues and avoid voting on the motion, and instead join Nottingham Labour in calling out a policy that will do damage to tens of thousands of people in Nottingham.”