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Universal Credit roll-out delayed in Hackney until October

PUBLISHED: 14:18 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 07 December 2017

Phil Glanville, mayor of Hackney has welcomed the Universal Credit delay. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney Council

Phil Glanville, mayor of Hackney has welcomed the Universal Credit delay. Picture: Gary Manhine/Hackney Council

Gary Manhine

The government’s controversial Universal Credit roll-out has been delayed in Hackney until October.

Mayor Phil Glanville wrote to work and pensions minister David Gauke last month urging him to postpone the introduction of the new merged benefit system in the borough after “disastrous” results in areas that piloted the scheme.

Those areas have seen rent collections drop dramatically, impacting on councils’ ability to invest in social housing maintenance.

So last week’s news that it will not be introduced in June has been welcomed by Mr Glanville.

He said: “We’re pleased the government has listened.

“We hope they will spend this time working through some of the issues we have raised with the secretary of state, such as the cruel wait for support which has been reduced by just one week, meaning applicants must still wait for five weeks for the safety net of welfare support when they need it most.

“This will do nothing to help those going into rent arrears, being forced to use food banks and being dragged into debt through no fault of their own.”

The mayor has also called for councils to be given the necessary funding to provide advice services for anyone applying for Universal Credit when it comes in.

“Without these changes, as I have started to see in my own casework, the government risks increasing the pressures on stretched advice services, increasing debt and homelessness,” he added.

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