Margaret Greenwood MP comments on report looking at impact of Universal Credit on Liverpool City Region

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22 Jan 2020

Margaret Greenwood, the MP for Wirral West, has branded Universal Credit ‘flawed’ and ‘reckless’ following the publication of a report by the Resolution Foundation.

The report, titled ‘The long and winding road – The introduction and impact of Universal Credit in Liverpool City Region (LCR) and the UK’ was commissioned by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

The key findings of the report include:

1) 205,000 working-age families in LCR (31% of the total) are expected to receive UC once it is fully rolled out, compared to 775,000 working-age families in the whole of the North West (27%), and 6.2 million families in the UK as a whole (24% of the total)

2) Focusing on UC’s effect on incomes compared to the legacy benefits system it replaces, we find that more families lose from the switch to UC – and fewer gain – in LCR than the UK as a whole. 52% of benefit-recipient families in LCR lose out from the switch to UC, while only 32% gain. The respective figures for the UK as a whole are 46% and 39%

3) Many said that the five-week wait for the first payment put them under significant financial and mental stress. Some reported that the wait had forced them to use food banks, and worsened existing mental health issues

4) UC was expected to boost benefit take-up but 27,000 families in LCR will still not claim the UC support they were entitled to

5) Most recipients thoughts there was little online, telephone or face to face support from the government to help navigate the claim process if they had problems

Margaret Greenwood, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“This report carefully documents how the Conservatives’ key social security policy, Universal Credit, is failing many people in the Liverpool City Region and across the UK because of major flaws in its design and implementation.

“Rolling six benefits into one whilst imposing severe cuts and moving to a ‘digital by default’ system was simply reckless.

“It is completely wrong to leave people on low incomes, often without savings, waiting five weeks for payment.

“Labour is calling on the government as a matter of urgency to end the five week wait, the two child limit and the brutal and punitive system that they have created over the last decade."

You can read the full report via the following link: