LABOUR party and trade union activists have held a day of action in a former steel town ahead of the rollout of the controversial Universal Credit.

The demonstration was held in Consett as the government prepares to rollout the Universal Credit in the town and neighbouring Crook on Wednesday December 13.

Protestors say the Government is pressing ahead with the rollout regardless, against advice given by Citizens Advice Bureau and other advice agencies.

North West Durham Constituency Labour Party campaign co-ordinator James Colwell, said: “It is reassuring to see so many activists out on the streets campaigning on this issue.

“We have had an amazing response from members from across the Labour and trade union movement who want to come out and campaign to let it be known that we will not stand by as this policy is rolled out.

“From collecting signatures for our petition and speaking to residents, the strength of feeling is clear.

“The Government need to stop the roll out and address the serious and fundamental flaws of this policy which will lead to many people being subjected to poverty during the winter months”.

Labour MP Laura Pidcock has spoken out against the scheme in Parliament said: “Time after time, this DWP has missed the opportunity to pause the accelerated Universal Credit roll out and address the flaws, which will lead to many people going short this Christmas and having to rely on foodbanks.

“The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke, only needed to listen to the people on the front line, delivering this policy, to understand that it is in crisis. Instead, we’ve heard only platitudes, including from the Chancellor, in the Budget.

It’s particularly worrying for our constituency because of the timing of the rollout (over the festive period) and the fact that the small changes announce in the Chancellor’s Budget speech, won’t take effect until early next year.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “Universal Credit lies at the heart of our commitment to help people improve their lives and raise their incomes. It provides additional, tailored support to help people move into work and stop claiming benefits altogether.

“And it’s working. With Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer. Universal Credit is already in every jobcentre for single claimants, and we are rolling it out to a wider range of people in a safe and controlled way.”