Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has reiterated calls for the introduction of Universal Credit to be postponed following the latest problems with the system which have seen Irish passports rejected as a form of identification.
“Tory plans to introduce the Universal Credit system in September have already created considerable concern, particularly around the processing of payments.
“The unacceptable delay of, on average, up to six weeks in administering the first payment has the potential to cause severe hardship during the most financially challenging months of the year.
“Now this has been compounded by problems with the online system resulting in Irish passports and local driving licenses being refused as valid forms of identification despite assurances from the Department of Communities that this should not be the case.
“Clearly, Universal Credit and the online system which is supposed to underpin it is not fit for purpose and its implementation should be postponed until such times as appropriate arrangements can be put in place which do not disadvantage claimants.
“We have already asked the department to defer introduction and my party colleague Alex Maskey MLA is meeting the head of Social Security Agency on Friday to discuss this and other related matters. Given these problems we believe it is unacceptable to introduce this system without resolution.”