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Calls for Universal Credit Christmas truce

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A festive season of misery faces those receiving the controversial benefit

Universal Credit should be halted ahead of Christmas, an MP has demanded.

Labour MP Frank Field called for a Christmas truce on the controversial benefit as UK government ministers prepare to accelerate its roll-out next month.

The new system has been beset with delays and has been blamed for soaring levels of rent arrears and debt among claimants.

Commenting on an update on the progress and problems in the roll-out of Universal Credit, Frank Field MP said: “The secretary of state David Gauke still has it in his power to prevent a human and political catastrophe that we have heard about this morning.

People already on low incomes simply cannot cope without any income for such a long period of time.

“That people are as a result reliant on food banks, for example, is not an acceptable facet of our social safety net.

“It must behove the Government now to declare at least a “Christmas truce”, and fix all these problems before progressing any further.”

The Liberal Democrats, who helped to introduce the policy when in coalition with the Conservatives, said today that UC has become a “train wreck” that needs to be stopped.

The Work and Pensions Committee is currently investigating UC’s “troubled” rollout, which it says has caused real “hardship and financial difficulties.”

Evidence also suggests increased demand on food banks in areas where the new benefit is currently operating, as reports of long delays with payments and other issues continue to mount.