Universal Credit a ‘vehicle for austerity’ that must be stopped, ministers told

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Universal Credit is a “modern day digital workhouse” that needs to be stopped, according to a Labour MP.

Dan Carden told ministers in the Commons the benefit had become “another vehicle for austerity”.

The Liverpool Walton MP revealed how one constituent went 10 weeks without a payment and was sanctioned for three months in a row as she could not understand the online system.

Mr Carden made the comments after blasting Tory MPs, who had shared concerns over Universal Credit, for not having “the courage” to support Labour’s motion to force the UK Government to reveal the advice they took on the benefit’s impact.

He said: “I see this very much in the context of austerity, Universal Credit is now another vehicle for austerity since the cuts of the former Chancellor.

“They are ploughed on top of 64% cuts to Liverpool’s local authority and now reports that Liverpool has the second highest levels of destitution in the whole of the UK.”

He added: “This is not social security as we know it and as it should be, it is not a safety net for our most vulnerable constituents and it’s certainly not a welfare state.

“Nothing less than stopping the roll-out of Universal Credit to fix the problems will do.”

His comments come just days after another Merseyside MP, Frank Field, told the Commons difficulties with Universal Credit had led some women to take to the red light district in his Birkenhead constituency.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey faced criticism for her response as she appeared to suggest women who have turned to sex work as a result of government welfare reforms could find other jobs.

She said Mr Field and Jobcentre staff in Birkenhead could inform the women about the “record” level of job vacancies.

Ms McVey added: “And perhaps there are other jobs on offer.”

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