Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has called for the introduction of Universal Credit to be postponed.
The East Derry MLA said:
“Sinn Féin has repeatedly called for the planned introduction of the controversial Universal Credit system to be postponed. Tory plans to introduce the Universal Credit system, beginning in Limavady in September, have caused considerable concern, particularly in terms of the processing of payments.
“The unacceptable delay of, on average, up to six weeks in administering the first payment has the potential to cause severe hardship during the most financially challenging months of the year. The Universal Credit advance, if granted, will not meet the costs of winter fuel, Christmas, housing and rising living costs.
“This delay in payment could drive people further into poverty and debt. The seven Sinn Féin MPs have jointly written to Tory minister David Guake at the Department of Work and Pensions to demand that the introduction of Universal Credit be postponed; that the delay in administration of the first payment is reduced urgently; and that the payment process is more widely processed.
“The Universal Credit system is not fit for purpose and I am urging the department to take time to resolve the well documented difficulties experienced by many claimants in Britain.
“Our constituency services have already been contacted by people concerned about the implications of the Universal Credit system and I would call for the immediate postponement of the planned introduction of the first phase which is due to be rolled out in Limavady from 27th September.”