The Work and Pensions Committee has today released its report on Government proposals to move people from older benefits onto Universal Credit.
The influential group of cross-party MPs has called for the Government to delay the vote on these regulations even going so far as to say that ‘getting the process wrong could plunge claimants into poverty and even leave them destitute’.
If these proposals are voted through, three million people currently receiving many older benefits – including those with a mental health problem – will be forced to make a new claim. If people aren’t able to apply for the new benefit within three months, they could lose their income.
The Committee recognises more time is needed for politicians to fully understand the potential consequences of these proposals on people who need support from benefits because their disability or health condition makes it difficult to work. They are calling for the vote to be postponed so the Government’s own Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) and Parliament have the chance to properly assess these plans and their impact on disabled people.
Mind’s Director of External Relations, Sophie Corlett said:“We have been calling on the Government to stop placing the full responsibility on people who are unwell to move themselves onto a new benefit. It’s unjustifiable that those who have already been found to be so unwell they need to receive benefit support will be forced to navigate the labyrinthine process of making a new claim all over again.
“It is welcome that the Work and Pensions Committee has recognised the strong possibility that many people could be left without income and pushed into poverty in the process. We need the proposals to be withdrawn altogether and replaced with plans that would guarantee that no-one faces the risk of losing their income and even their home in the move to Universal Credit. If proposals are not withdrawn then MPs of all parties must vote against them. There needs to be a welfare system which works for everyone and allows people to live full and independent lives, not one that leaves people destitute.”