Labour has kept Philip Hammond on pressure by unveiling a demand list related to Universal Credit rollout. Debbie Abrahams, the shadow pensions secretary, has communicated with the chancellor and placed a number of demands. These include making changes to the UC. According to critics, UC is pushing people into debt as it gets rolled out to other parts of UK.
What Labour wants
Abrahams wants an option of payment every 15 days instead of payment every month. Labour also wants changes being made to assessment period and the modifications to make sure that benefits will always reward people who find more work. According to the shadow pensions secretary, rising evidence suggests that Universal Credit does not suit the aims. Labour believes that the budget represents a chance to correct the system. She reminded everyone that the systems' original aims, like simplifying the social security support, reduction of child poverty, and making sure that people were better working compared to subsisting on benefits, have Labour support as well.
The principal request pushed forward by Labour is a reduction of the six-week wait to receive a payment as per the system. The aim is to substitute a number of other benefits like housing benefit and tax credits. Those charities who function with the claimants said that the wait of six weeks usually puts people into arrears. These mostly happen with rent. Many even enlist the support of food banks to survive. There was speculation that the government plans to reduce this specific period.
Abrahams not only highlighted the initial wait of six weeks and the compulsory monthly payment but also the absence of responsiveness from Universal Credit when it comes to income changes of people who are self-employed. Elaborating on the problem, she said that the person concerned is assessed on a 'per month' basis, with zero discretion for natural peaks and also the troughs of any self-employed work or on the joys of a few holidays. It means that if self-employed people take a break during Christmas, then they could be sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions for having not satisfied work requirements.
Labour said that the Universal Credit has consistently failed to deliver when it came to objectives. The party said that these claims were proved by numbers crunched by a few respectable charities like Gingerbread, Child Poverty Action Group, and Citizens Advice. Abrahams pointed out that even former civil servants, ex-government advisers, and even Universal Credit's own architects have become critical of this scheme.