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Universal Credit ‘failing to live up to promise’

3 February 2016

Citizens Advice today warns that Universal Credit is failing to live up to its promise.

As both the Public Accounts Committee and the Institute of Fiscal Studies publish reports on Universal Credit the national charity renewed its call for support for people applying for the new benefit.

Last year Citizens Advice helped people with over 150 enquiries every week about Universal Credit, most commonly about who is eligible for the benefit and how to claim.

Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy said:

“Universal Credit is failing to live up to its promise.

“Right from the outset people have experienced problems with Universal Credit, with many turning to Citizens Advice as they experience difficulties applying for the new benefit, delays to claims and errors in their payments.

“The principles underpinning Universal Credit, of simplifying the welfare system and making every hour of work pay, are sound and should be protected. The Government must be watchful that any changes to the benefit do not undermine work incentives and reduce the support people need to stay in work.

“The roll-out of Universal Credit won’t be a success unless people are properly prepared, and those who need help with their claim can access the support they need.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.