PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka called on the government to halt the roll out of Universal Credit during an interview on C4 Dispatches programme: Britain’s Benefit Crisis, tonight.
The union which represents workers at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found in a recent survey that 70% of DWP staff want the roll out of Universal Credit to be stopped.
79% of those who responded said there was an insufficient amount of staff to cope with demand from claimants.
Mr Serwotka told the programme: “The government can give us soundbites and gimmicks but what these statistics tell us is that frontline workers who face-to-face deal with people; single parents, disabled people, people with mental health difficulties, people facing eviction from their houses, people who are desperate and going to foodbanks, they see the reality of this every day of the week.
“And I think it is a wakeup call and the government needs to massively increase the resource in the department for work and pensions, to give the public the welfare system that they deserve.”
The PCS has made repeated representations to the government about the level of stress existing across Universal Credit Service Centres and, increasingly now, in the jobcentres, where staff are also being used to clear UC tasks.
Despite the union’s best efforts, the Department for Work and Pensions has point blank refused to work with our representatives.
Mark added: “The hardships benefit claimants are facing are truly shocking. The fact that many are having to resort to foodbanks and some are, as the Dispatches programme shows, even contemplating suicide, the government must stop the roll out.
“Together with testimony from our members who work incredibly hard to try to make this flawed system work, the time for a radical overhaul of how we treat those who need help, has come.
“It cannot be right for the government to push ahead with Universal Credit roll out and ignore the overwhelming evidence in the Dispatches programme tonight.”