Rugby political group holds 'productive' universal credit meeting with MP

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Universal credit is getting more people into work and helps people take control over their lives – said Rugby’s MP following the publication of a report criticising the benefit on several counts.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey made the comments following a meeting with Rugby’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

TUSC called the meeting after the National Audit Office, an independent parliamentary body, published a report on June 15 which cast doubt on the effectiveness of universal credit.

TUSC’s Pete McLaren said: “Despite once again having to agree to differ on whether or not, as TUSC believes, universal credit is now fatally flawed, the meeting was productive.”

Rugby TUSC said universal credit is not getting more people into work , those applying are forced to wait weeks or months for a payment due to delays – meaning they are forced to use food banks.

Mr McLaren said Mr Pawsey listened and said he was prepared to suggest improvements to the system.

Mr Pawsey said the DWP is taking a ‘listen and learn’ approach. He urged any resident having problems with universal credit to contact him.

The report states universal credit has taken ‘significantly longer’ that expected to be rolled out, it may be more expensive than the previous benefits system and, it argues, the Department for Work and Pensions may never be able to properly measure whether universal credit has increased employment levels.

Rugby was one of the five boroughs where universal credit was rolled out in 2016.

The Trussell Trust, which runs many food banks (including Rugby’s), has previously attributed significant rises in demand for food banks to the rollout of universal credit, Rugby being no exception.