OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has called for an end to the 35-day wait for Universal Credit payment.

He has condemned the delay in payments as a "national scandal and a disgrace".

Mr McMahon said: "There are people in our society who are genuinely suffering as a result of this system and it needs to change now, before more vulnerable people are forced into using food banks.”

He went on: “This government is cruel, callous and calculated in the way they treat people on Universal Credit. They do not care about the people, they care about cuts, they see claimants as numbers and not people. This has to change.

“A Labour government would see Universal Credit scrapped, and a people-centric system implemented to deliver support for those who need it most.”

Research from the Trussell Trust has shown that the wait period has a devastating effect on the physical and mental health of the service users.

Where Universal Credit has been rolled out, areas have seen a 30 per cent increase in demand for foodbanks. The longer an area has Universal Credit the food bank usage increase further.

The charity Trussell Trust is working to end the need for foodbanks. Its chief executive Emma Revie said: “Universal Credit should be there to anchor any of us against the tides of poverty. But the five week wait fatally undermines this principle, pushing people into debt, homelessness and destitution.

“In a society that believes in justice and compassion, this isn’t right. But it is something that can be fixed. Universal Credit was designed to have a wait. Now it’s clear that wait is five weeks too long, and we must change that design.

“The recent spending review was a lost opportunity to protect people on the lowest incomes.

"Our Prime Minister must take action to end this wait, and help prevent thousands more of us being swept away by poverty. With the nation at a crossroads, now is the time to loosen the grip of poverty and make sure Universal Credit is able to protect people from needing a food bank, instead of pushing them to one.”