On 31st July Jon Cruddas MP co-signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions along with 30 other Labour MPs requesting a delay in the introduction of Universal Credit. Under the government's current proposals Universal Credit is due to roll out in Dagenham and Rainham during November and December this year (2017).

Jon Cruddas echoed concerns raised by Laura Pidcock MP stating: "The winter months are always the most financially difficult for vulnerable residents, with the temperature dropping and the festive period both making demands on families. We have seen from the introduction of UC in other areas that the transition is by no means perfect, leaving many without benefits for seven weeks. This, coupled with the possible removal of the severe disability premium has the potential to push many into desperate situations at an already difficult time of year."

The letter sent to The Rt. Hon. David Gauke MP asks that the introduction timetable is adapted, pushing back the introduction of Universal Credit to a later date in 2018.

In other areas of the country Universal Credit has left many in precarious positions, and although some are entitled to crisis loans, the rate of repayment is adding further strain on people already facing financial difficulty – pushing many people further into debt.

Jon Cruddas added: "Universal Credit was sold to us as a more efficient system but it is panning out as something quite different. In the interests of local residents I will be fighting alongside my colleagues to ensure that the transition process is ironed out before it is introduced locally."

The letter was submitted by Laura Pidcock MP for North West Durham and can be read in full HERE