Feeding Britain has been listening to organisations working to combat hunger in our local pilots around the country. These organisations- food banks, local community groups, advice services and many others- work on a daily basis with people who are at risk of hunger. We are concerned about the impact of Universal Credit as it is currently being implemented, and see significant challenges in the roll out that risk pushing people into financial difficulty, food insecurity and distress.
The in-built 6 week delay is a major concern, but we’re also seeing a whole range of other practical difficulties around the implementation of the policy that need to be resolved. For example, we’re seeing issues with the submission of real time information from employers to HMRC that is required for Universal Credit claims to be processed accurately. There is also a need for the emergency loan support available to claimants to be better publicised and more proactively offered to those who need it. The requirement to submit applications online creates real difficulties for people who have limited access to the internet. We would welcome measures that allow the system to be changed and improved before further roll-out is seen.
You can read our submission to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Here. Feeding Britain will also be participating in an event on 21st November organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Universal Credit, to highlight to MPs some of the issues we are seeing in the areas where Feeding Britain works.
We will continue to gather evidence from our local pilots over the coming months, to identify the aspects of Universal Credit roll out that need to be addressed, and will continue to raise these with relevant policy makers. We are also open to hearing evidence from other areas, so if you would like to share your experience of Universal Credit to inform our work, please email email@example.com.