The Greater Manchester Law Centre (GMLC) have announced their refusal to assist the implementation of Universal Credit. Instead, they support calls to stop the roll-out.
They state: “If Universal Credit is so convoluted and ineffective that voluntary sector organisations are relied upon, then it should not be implemented at all”.
GMLC reveal that a local Job Centre approached them even before introduction of Universal Credit to request that they provide computers and supervisors to help people to access the scheme. GMLC responded: “This is not the role of the voluntary sector. We will not be complicit in a scheme which results in further adversity and punishment for vulnerable people”.
“We therefore refuse to offer Universal Credit services and we demand that its roll-out is stopped”.
As reported in the Manchester Evening News, Greater Manchester’s Mayor, public sector bosses and MPs have also demanded an immediate halt to the policy. Experts have highlighted a series of serious problems with the system, including a minimum six-week wait for payments to be processed. Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said she was “dreading” its expansion, describing the system as “chaotic and broken”.
GMLC opened in August 2016 with premises in Moss Side. They currently specialise in welfare benefit claims, and in their first year, they helped clients with lost benefits to claim back £370,000. Their recent AGM outlined their plans for strategic litigation, which means using legal cases to challenge and change welfare policy.