A number of UK charities have co-signed a letter published in the Guardian calling for an official halt to be called on the Universal Credit rollout until the issues with the system are finally addressed.

The letter comes from charities who support vulnerable people, children, disabled people and more, and raise concerns that the changes that have come with the rollout of Universal Credit will do no more than push vulnerable people further into poverty, a sentiment echoed by the Trussell Trust on Friday as they warned that continuing to push Universal Credit out will cause a significant rise in food bank usage.

In the letter, the charities note that they are “gravely concerned” that Universal Credit is not working at a standard which would enable it to be implemented on a large scale, saying: “One in five claims to universal credit currently fail because claimants find the process too complex. Based on this rate, about 400,000 households could see their universal credit claim fall through and be left without essential support. Some will then have no income whatsoever.”

Among the list of signatories are: Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind; Sophie Castell, director of relationships at RNIB; Amanda Batten, chief executive at Contact; and Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust.

The introduction of Universal Credit has received significant backlash, with Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying that the system “will have to go” at a fringe event, noting that the message the party is getting from a consultation on the system is that it should be scrapped.

Speaking further on Sky News, he added: “I think we’re at that stage now that it’s not sustainable anymore. It’s not a system that can work.

“It’s not a system that’s providing the safety net that people expect when they need support.”

Image: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

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