A cross-party group of MPs have been conducting a wide ranging inquiry into hunger in the UK, and their report is out today. Amongst their findings is that delays in the payment of benefits to newly unemployed claimants have become a major reason why people have to turn to food banks in such numbers in recent years.
They want to see a maximum of 5 days wait, and call on the DWP to improve its data gathering to be able to measure this.
“We heard extensive evidence suggesting that lengthy delays in the administration, and subsequent receipt, of benefit payments is causing severe hardship for new claimants. … We believe the Government must urgently reform the benefits system so it is able to deliver payments quickly within five working days.” (section 51 of the report)
But this is based on hardship caused by delays under the DWP’s current target of 16 days. How much worse will things get when Iain Duncan Smith’s new plans come into force to extend the delay to at least 5 WEEKS? This report shows just how out of touch the DWP’s plans for Universal Credit will be, and only hints at the chaos they will wreak in the lives of vulnerable people, exactly at the time they most need a safety net.