Universal Credit "shambles"


Universal Credit is leaving claimants in hardship, failing to deliver what it promised and is not delivering value for money, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

However despite this, the NAO report states that too much time and money has been put into the new welfare programme to abandon it now.

The report highlights three main criticisms:

Value for Money

The watchdog has said that the supposed benefits of Universal Credit, such as boosted employment, are unlikely to be demonstrable at any point in the future.

On top of this, Universal Credit could end up costing more than the benefits system it replaces; it has not delivered value for money and it is uncertain that it ever will.


The NAO has seen evidence from local and national bodies that many people have suffered extreme hardship during the rollout of the full service.

In some cases, it has taken claimants up to five months to receive their first payment. It has also led to increased arrears and use of foodbanks.

Some landlords are now refusing to rent to people claiming Universal Credit, as four in ten are now in financial difficulty.


The rollout of Universal Credit was due to be complete in 2017, however it is currently only fully available in 10% of areas.

There was also major criticism of administration throughout the report.

Debby Mulling, Head of Engagement at Turn2us, said:

“This NAO publication repeats countless previous reports and inquiries. It is no longer news that Universal Credit is not working for many people.

“We want to see action taken to fix these problems so that Universal Credit becomes the social security it needs to be.”

Frank Field, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said*:

“Too many claimants are being screwed down into destitution while the DWP insists that all is okay. The Universal Credit we have seen is a shambles.”

If you need information on Universal Credit, visit our Universal Credit information page.


*UK Parliament website: Shambolic Universal Credit may never realise promised benefits