PEOPLE claiming the new universal credit have been left unable to pay their rent or afford food or electricity, according to a report co-authored by Citizens Advice Bolton.

Bosses from the advisory organisation presented their report at the Houses of Parliament, which aims to highlight problems with the new benefits system.

The report claims four out of five people surveyed by Bolton and 15 other Citizens Advice offices were unable to pay for such basic items while waiting for their first payment.

It says admin problems had contributed to the delays, such as claimants being asked to send documents which had already been provided, and claims being lost within the IT system.

Richard Wilkinson, chief officer of Citizens Advice Bolton, said some changes have been made but that there was more to be done.

He said “We agree that the benefits system needs simplifying and we support Universal Credit and its aims. However Universal Credit will not achieve its aims unless the problems identified in this report are resolved.”

Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, also met a representative from Citizens Advice Bolton and received a copy of the report ‘Waiting for Credit’.

She said the report "revealed flaws in governments troubled Universal Credit system".

Mr Wilkinson added: "At Citizens Advice Bolton we help approximately 1,300 people a month of which 500 will normally relate to welfare benefits and over the past year have become increasingly involved with clients claiming Universal Credit who have either needed advice on how to claim or help with dealing with issues they have experienced when making their claim.

"One of our core aims is to use these experiences as evidence top research and campaigns in order to give people an opportunity to be heard so we were pleased to take part in this important piece of research.

"Our contribution was substantial and the results of the report are very reflective of the experiences of the people of Bolton."

At the launch of the report in London, at which MPs and members of the House of Lords were present, the report and its recommendations were referred to Lord David Freud, the minister of state for welfare reform.