Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd has been challenged by the Labour Party to sort out the ‘mess’ of Universal Credit.
Labour says the scheme has disadvantaged many of her constituents.
They have been the ‘guinea pigs’ of a flawed system, said Labour parliamentary candidate Peter Chowney in an open letter to the MP.
Mr Chowney said: “As the new Work and Pension Secretary, they’ll be expecting Ms Rudd to sort this mess out and to re-introduce fairness and compassion into the benefits and pensions system.”
Hastings was chosen as one of the first places to roll out Universal Credit but rather than helping those in need, it has made things worse, according to Mr Chowney.
He added: “The stories of personal tragedy are everywhere, with people losing their homes, placing huge additional burdens on a council (Hastings Borough Council) that’s had £40 million cut from its budget since 2010.
“As councillors, we’ve witnessed the impact of that, with families forced into poverty and having to use foodbanks.”
Mr Chowney said people are also caught up in ‘unfair and humiliating’ Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments.
He said Labour’s challenge to Amber Rudd is ‘simple’.
He added: “She has the opportunity to show the people of Hastings and Rye that she really cares about all her constituents.
“If she fails to do that, local people will remember the cruelty shown to them by Conservative austerity policies. And we’ll be making it very clear who’s to blame for those failings at the next general election.”
After her appointment as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – to replace Esther McVey, who resigned earlier in the week – Ms Rudd said the people of Hastings and Rye will her first priority.
Ms Rudd returns to the Cabinet seven months after resigning as Home Secretary in the wake of the Windrush scandal, where some migrants from Commonwealth countries who settled in the UK and their relatives had been declared illegal immigrants.