'In some cases, people are waiting up to six weeks before claims are processed....
'A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Under Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system. Our research shows the majority of UC claimants are comfortable managing their budgets. We’re working with local authorities and landlords to get extra support to people who may find themselves in arrears. “We’ve been rolling Universal Credit out gradually so we have time to ensure it works in the right way.”''(2)
'Earlier this month, MPs slammed Jobcentre Plus for leaving 21 million calls unanswered. Despite government claims of improvements, stories of poor service continue to mount, Neil Bateman argues.'Jobcentre Plus (JCP) is the arm of the Department for Work and Pensions that administers benefits and job search activities or people under 60. It was set up in 2001 as a key part of the government’s welfare-to-work reforms, the aim being that people could obtain advice and help on benefits and job-seeking under one roof.
'Since the announcement in 2005 that DWP had to lose 30,000 staff over three years, on top of other spending cuts in the department, concern has been growing in the social care and welfare rights fields about the deteriorating standards of service provided by JCP. There has been concern about the effect on vulnerable customers, particularly care leavers, those with sensory impairments and people with mental health needs who have greatest difficulty with the JCP one-size-fits-all approach to customer service.
'Welfare rights advisers and social care specialists identify problems with JCP, including:
● Delays in processing claims and changes of circumstances – six weeks is common – leaving people destitute.
● Communications between different parts of JCP “not being received”.
● Huge difficulty accessing JCP by phone.
● JCP staff insisting that all benefit claims are made by phone, when the law does not state this.'
Is Universal Credit helpline's under-resourcing aimed at destroying the economically vulnerable?
'People wait a minimum of six weeks for claims to be processed.'
'Telephone calls [to the Universal Credit helpline] can cost up to 55p a minute from pay-as-you-go mobile phones, which are commonly used by people with lower incomes. Wait times to speak with an adviser can be very long – one claimant in Camden has reported that their phone bill for a month was over £140, used almost entirely on calls to the DWP.”'
'If we thought things were bad back in 2006…'
For those who have fallen
- 12 Noon: Assemble outside Kilburn Jobcentre, Cambridge Avenue, NW6 5AH for rally with
- local Labour MP Tulip Siddiq,
- PCS (jobcentre workers union) National Executive Officer Zita Holbourne and
- Brent Trades Council Executive Committee.
- 12:45: Black Flag march to Paddington Cemetry via Kilburn High Road.
- 13:30: Address at Leon Brumant graveside by
Dawn Butler MP and
- RMT Political Officer Cat Cray.
- 14:00: Prince of Wales PH, Willesden Lane NW6 for Tea & Sandwiches.