Local MP, Luke Graham, hosted a ‘Universal Credit Action Group’ with DWP, local service providers and delivery partners as well as local council representatives on Friday. The purpose of the group is to identify local problems with the delivery of Universal Credit and improve communications between government agencies and third sector partners.
Mr Graham has campaigned vigorously on Universal Credit in Parliament, raising it twelve times in the House of Commons, and helped to successfully lobby for increased investment and changes to payment terms, both of which have been seen in the past year.
There has been cross-party support for the principles of Universal Credit since its implementation, but there have been increased calls for greater action to be done in order to address some of the complications which have arisen in Clackmannanshire since its full roll out a year ago.
This prompted Luke Graham to launch the ‘Universal Credit Action Group’ to which all local councillors, churches, civil groups and third sector organisations were invited in order to identify issues and work out how best to address them.
The group will meet quarterly, using some of the figures such as housing rent arrears as KPIs to track performance moving forward.
Speaking after the meeting, Luke Graham MP said:
‘I would like to thank everyone who attended today’s launch of the Clacks ‘Universal Credit Action Group’.
Clackmannanshire has already had the full roll out of Universal Credit for a year now and I have been aware of issues with it through the constituent’s casework which has come to my office.
While we have a great deal of success in addressing those issues for those who have come to the office, that does not mean we have yet been able to fix every issue. That is why I wanted to launch this action group; to recognise the issues and act to address them.
There has been cross-party support for the principles of Universal Credit, simplifying a multitude of benefits into one single payment designed to reflect the work experience.
No one should be left behind by the benefits system and so while I still get cases coming through to my office I will keep pushing to see the system improved.’