Universal credit has had problems since it was introduced.
There have been problems with universal credit since its beginnings in 2010.
Universal credit brings together 6 previous different benefits. One payment now covers all 6 benefits. It has been gradually rolled out across the UK.
The initial plan was for the system to be fully operation by April 2017. However, it has faced numerous delays and is now not expected to be fully operational until December 2023.
Ms. Rudd said the government was “committed to a strong safety net where people need it”.
“It is absolutely clear that there were challenges with the initial roll-out of universal credit,” she added.
“The main issue which led to an increase in foodbanks use could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough.
“We have made changes to accessing universal credit so that people can have advances. So that there is a legacy run-on after two weeks of housing benefit, and we believe that will help with food and security.”
Pushed again on the cause of the issue by Labour’s Stephen Timms, Ms. Rudd added: “I have acknowledged that people having difficulty accessing the money on time as one of the causes of the growth in foodbanks, but we have tried to address that.”
The Department for Work and Pensions has said that, under universal credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer.
According to the Resolution Foundation think tank.
2.2 million families are expected to gain under the system, with an average increase in income of £41 a week.
However, 3.2 million families are also expected to be worse off, with an average loss of £48 a week.
Labour has called for ministers to halt the roll-out “as a matter of urgency”.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said:
“It’s promising to see the secretary of state is listening to the evidence of foodbanks across the UK.
“We’re a country that prides itself on making sure proper support is in place for each other when help is most needed – our benefits system was created to do exactly this. But Universal Credit isn’t the poverty-fighting reform that was promised.”
Ms. Revie called for action to address why the new welfare system has forced some people to foodbanks.
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