Money and Mental Health responds to Public Accounts Committee report on Universal Credit

26 October 2018

 

The Public Accounts Committee has today published a report warning that the implementation of Universal Credit is causing unacceptable hardship to many people.

 

Commenting, Helen Undy, the Director of The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: 

People with mental health problems are already three times as likely to be in problem debt; the current proposals for the roll-out of Universal Credit will make this even worse.

The existing plans fail to recognise that when you’re struggling with your mental health, dealing with DWP letters about reapplying for benefits can feel impossible. The switch from fortnightly to monthly benefits will also prove extremely challenging for people whose mental health makes managing spending very difficult. Together with the long wait for initial payments, this is resulting in many people falling into problem debt.

Putting more money into the benefits system would help, but only if it reaches those who need it most – and that means fixing the design of the system too. The roll-out of Universal Credit should be halted until these issues are addressed, so that people with mental health problems are not unfairly disadvantaged.

 

ENDS


Contact:

To arrange an interview with Helen Undy, please contact Brian Semple (Head of External Affairs at the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute) on brian.semple@moneyandmentalhealth.org or 07595 439 638.


Notes to Editors

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops policies for essential services firms, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded MoneySavingExpert.com in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in- Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
  • Helen Undy is a passionate mental health campaigner and became the Institute’s Director in 2018, having previously led the Institute’s impact and communications work.