A study showing that the move to Universal Credit pushes people into financial difficulty has been published by the DWP and HMRC – but it is dated November 2017.
The report showed that 60 per cent of respondents to the joint survey said transitioning to the new benefits system – which rolls six benefits into one payment – made it difficult for them to pay their bills.
The six-week wait for a first payment was a key factor in the trouble Universal Credit caused, with more than half of claimants saying that they were not warned beforehand.
Some even said they experienced “considerable stress” as a result of payment delays, some of which meant they had to wait for as long as three months to be paid.
A quarter said Universal Credit caused them “real financial problems”, forcing them to fall behind with bills and commitments.
The research was carried out between October 2016 and July 2017. Months later, then-work and pensions secretary David Gauke said the new benefits system was working.