27 Sept 2022

Universal Credit hitting pockets this Christmas - Durkan

Mark H Durkan
SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has called for an immediate halt to Univeral Credit after the latest glitch in the system could potentially see families here losing out on a payment this month. Mr Durkan (pictured) said as a result of employers' early payment policy in December, some claimaints could find themselves above the threshold for their assessment period resulting in a 'zero award.' He said: "The latest chapter in the horror story that is Universal Credit is further proof that this cruel system is not fit for purpose; serving another blow at the most financially difficult time of the year. "This oversight in regards to early Christmas payments cannot be deemed a mere lack of foresight- the fact that no mitigations were put in place or allowances given for the possibility of this type of situation is disgraceful. This general mismanagement and uncertainty has characterized Universal Credit from the outset. "The creases have not been ironed out as time has rolled on, instead problems are piling up, adding to the litany of failures brought about by Welfare Reform. "We are well aware that the system is massively flawed- food banks here have braced themselves for their busiest Christmas to date, debt is rising, as is homelessness- it is clear UC is the crisis crippling our communities. This must not be accepted as the 'new normal', I can not stress that enough." "Whilst most people look forward to Christmas or prepare themselves for the new year, others will instead find themselves worrying about their next payment as they struggle to make ends meet." Mr Durkan concluded: "Perhaps members of the DUP, Sinn Féin and Alliance, who voted for this mess in the first place, will think twice before posing for pictures at their local supermarket food-bank drive this Christmas. They must hold their hands up to the chaos they have inflicted on their communities."

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