EVER since it was announced in 2010, the government’s new welfare system Universal Credit has been defined by its problems.

Claimants are getting into debt at the very beginning of the process thanks to the five-week wait for first payment, and the advance payment system – which is actually a loan.

Universal Credit was part of former chancellor George Osborne’s four-year benefits freeze – its working-age benefits won’t rise in line with inflation, therefore making people worse off. It is “digital by default”, with the aim to get 80 per cent of claimants managing all their benefits online, but in general, people who are struggling financially and older people are less likely to have a computer or smartphone of their own, or an internet connection.

Reports show that council tenants claiming Universal Credit have more than double the rent arrears as those who have not yet been moved onto the new benefit system.

According to the UK’s biggest foodbank charity Trussell Trust, more people are turning to foodbanks, especially in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out.

And once again, there have been stories of families with no benefits coming in over the festive period in areas where Universal Credit was rolled out before Christmas.

The list is endless, but no matter the good intentions behind Universal Credit, this epic failure should not push any more people into poverty and although many have suffered in the latest rollout, another delay must mean a serious attempt to get it right once and for all.