The Government must fix key elements of the Universal Credit application process or  millions will fall into hardship in 2019, a new report from Christians Against Poverty.

The report cites the experience of low-income debt clients migrating to the new six-in-one  benefit that has caused them threats of eviction, escalating mental health issues and extreme vulnerability.

The debt charity is supportive of the simpler new benefit but warns changes must be  made urgently, if it is to serve those needing a safety net.

Chief Executive Matt Barlow said “It’s obviously a very difficult time for Government  but while Brexit plays out, some of the UK’s most vulnerable families are sinking in  bureaucracy and we owe it to them to give them a voice and press for change.”

“As we sit down to our Christmas dinners and presents, we must remember there  will be many unable to pay for the basics of life.”

Interviews with debt clients on CAP’s books included one with a woman who described how six weeks with no income left her “dirt poor”.

In the second half of 2018, the charity has seen a 32% rise new clients saying that  Universal Credit was the primary reason for their debt problems.