People have been left ‘short-changed’ by Universal Credit
FIGURES from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggest a significant number of people in Llanelli have been left short-changed by Universal Credit – leading to accusations that the system is “botched”.
Responding to a letter sent by Llanelli AM Lee Waters, the DWP have said that up to 15% of people moving on to Universal Credit receive a late, or non-full first payment, and that 5% of claimants still haven’t received a payment after five weeks.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment which replaced six meanstested benefits and tax credits: income-based JSA, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, incomerelated ESA and Income Support.
Mr Waters said: “It’s appalling that the Tory government in Westminster has botched the roll out of Universal Credit so spectacularly.
“They’ve shamelessly taken money out of people’s pockets through continued austerity, and managed to do a bad job of managing the new system, too.”
He added: “The figures I’ve seen are staggering, and this is clearly a problem with the whole set-up of Universal Credit.”
Full roll out of Universal Credit began in Llanelli in December, and by February of this year 1,000 people in Llanelli were in receipt of the new benefit.
DWP’s own figures suggest that 150 of these people did not receive a payment on time, with another 50 waiting more than the target five weeks for payment, affecting people and families’ ability to plan and pay bills on time.
If the pattern continues, these numbers will grow considerably as Universal Credit rolls out in Llanelli.
Mr Waters argued that more than 500 households could be left waiting longer than five weeks for their first payment.
He said this wait will threaten people’s ability to pay regular household bills, such as rent, gas, electricity and council tax.
Mr Waters added: “The Welsh Labour Government can help ease the pain of Universal Credit here in Wales, such as providing support with council tax payments and ending the threat of imprisonment for late payment.
“We have to see a change in government in Westminster, to one that supports the vulnerable rather than punishing them.”
In response to Mr Waters’ concerns, a DWP spokesman said: “The majority of Universal Credit claims in Llanelli are paid in full and on time.
“No one has to wait to be paid as 100% advances are available from day one of a claim.”
Photos for Harp Weekend at the Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne