Nottingham people will suffer homelessness and poverty if the Department for Work and Pensions (DwP) doesn’t heed the warnings in a damning National Audit Office report into Universal Credit.

That’s the view of the City Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Graham Chapman, who has previously called on the Government to halt the full introduction of Universal Credit until previously-identified faults were sorted out. A pause in the process means that full roll-out in Nottingham won’t start until October – but hundreds in the city are already receiving Universal Credit.

Now further criticism of the system has come from the National Audit Office (NAO) which scrutinises public spending for Parliament. In its report released today, it says the project is not value for money now, and that its future value for money is unproven, and that the DwP appears unsympathetic to claimants and does not accept that Universal Credit has caused some hardship.

Councillor Chapman says that there are already local examples of people being placed into further hardship and debt through Universal Credit, and he is concerned that if the Government continues implementing it in the same way, there will be more families made homeless, needing food banks and placed in a spiral of debt.

Councillor Chapman said: “This National Audit Office report clearly shows that the way the Government is implementing Universal Credit is chaotic and at times simply cruel.

“We’ve only had a limited experience of Universal Credit so far in Nottingham but we’re already seeing examples of rent arrears rising along with more debt problems. The Government should pay attention to the criticisms in the NAO report and think long and hard about the way it is being implemented.

“If it doesn’t we will see more homelessness, more families in serious debt relying on food banks and more children in poverty when it starts to be fully implemented in Nottingham later this year.”