Wrexham MP calls for an urgent rethink on benefits changes

Reporter:

Geraint Jones

CHANGES to the benefit system being forced through this autumn will have a real impact on people.

That is the view of Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, who said he shared concerns expressed by professionals that the UK Government’s Universal Credit system will cause “chaos” when it is brought in fully to the town in October.

A small number of people in the Wrexham area are taking part in a test run of the benefit – but ministers have said they intend to extend Universal Credit much more widely in two months’ time.

This is despite concerns being raised that some of those people currently receiving the payments are already falling into arrears.

Mr Lucas has written to Department of Work and Pensions Minister David Gauke to ask for the current problems to be sorted out before the new system is fully implemented.

In his letter, he says: “Wrexham has a high percentage of local authority and social housing with an increasing rental market on which Universal Credit is going to seriously impact.

“Anecdotal evidence from Shelter is already showing an increase in rent arrears for those on Universal Credit.

“Professionals in Wrexham are also raising concerns about the changes that will be taking place in October 2017.”

Tenancy support officers from Wrexham have already raised concerns in the media, and Wrexham’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau is also calling for the Government to look again at their plans.

Mr Lucas said: “I’ve told Ministers that Wrexham is already feeling the effect of their austerity policies – something we see on our town’s streets day in, day out.

“Universal Credit is already causing problems for some Wrexham people – the Government needs to look at making changes to ensure that, when they bring their proposals in more widely, they do not cause chaos.

“Those who are working on the sharp end of these proposals are asking Ministers to think again – they should listen.”

For more information on Universal Credit visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Email:

geraint.jones@nwn.co.uk

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