• Claimants forced to go hungry by payment errors, report says
  • Lawmakers say lack of data from government prevents scrutiny

Delays to the U.K. government’s flagship welfare system risk exposing poor people to hunger, a cross-party panel of lawmakers warned.

Universal Credit, which is supposed to replace the current system of multiple payments with a single welfare benefit that rewards people who find work, is years behind schedule. Data on what’s happened to existing systems in the meantime are too scarce to monitor government performance properly, according to a report from the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, published Monday.

“Delays and errors in delivering benefits are not just an administrative issue,” the committee chairman, Frank Field, a member of the opposition Labour Party, said in an e-mailed statement. “Late or insufficient payments are plunging families into hunger or putting their homes at risk. The paucity of data about benefit delays has made our scrutiny of this issue difficult.”

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