ANYONE unfortunate enough to have to claim Universal Credit from today will most likely have to wait until after Christmas before they receive a payment.

That is because there is an average six week delay on processing payments for new claimants and those switched over to the combined benefit.

It has been even worse with some people previously reporting a 12 week wait for their claim to be sorted.

This inefficient and hastily implemented system pushes people into debt and puts them in rent arrears through no fault of their own.

If your finances weren’t already in a mess before you were introduced to Universal Credit they pretty well will be soon, before you get a first payment through.

This week at the Evening Times we reported the case of Margo Laird from Glasgow who has been on Universal Credit since January, but has not had any payments because she has been sanctioned over confusion or a misunderstanding about not attending appointments while sending in sick lines from her doctor.

She is currently under a 132 day sanction.

It is obvious that Margo needs some help and support here but it has not been forthcoming.

One reason could be that there are many more people like Margo, too many people at the mercy of an at times cruel benefits system.

When Margo and the thousands like her were sanctioned she didn’t have a six week wait for the money to be cut off, it was done at the stroke of a pen or the click of a mouse.

The UK Government is using people in extreme hardship as guinea pigs. Ministers say when problems arise in one phase of the roll out they are identified and rectified so that the next roll out is better and eventually all will be well in the world of the DWP.

This is grossly unfair to the people are moved on to this benefit.

People claiming benefits should not be treated as lab rats for the government to conduct experiments on.

Pleas for Universal Credit to be halted until it is properly able to be administered have fallen on deaf ears and there can only be on explanation for that.

The Prime Minister, The Chancellor, Work and Pensions Secretary and DWP ministers do not care if Margo or the hundreds of thousands like her starve or freeze.

They are aware of them because MPs like David Linden in Glasgow East have told them so but they choose to ignore them.

Never mind Christmas which is now a luxury for many people on benefits struggling to afford the bare essentials.

As we approach the winter months there are people unable to switch on their heating because they have no money for the bill or who can’t afford a loaf of bread and pint of milk and have to be referred to a food bank.

Margo is in one way lucky, because she has the support of her family for food and heating.

Many others do not have that support and will suffer the cold and go hungry all because they are unwilling participants in a government experiment driven by the ideological agenda to reduce spending though cutting the welfare state. It should be stopped and the government should be forced to listen.