A cross-party House of Lords committee has concluded that Universal Credit needs a massive overhaul to make it reliable for those who will depend on it, as the COVID-19 economic crisis grows.

The economic affairs committee said public support for the troubled universal credit system was “seeping away” because of multiple design faults, the inadequacy of benefit rates, and lack of specialised support for claimants.

It proposes a series of reforms to make universal credit “fit for purpose”, including an urgent catch-up increase in the generosity of benefit rates: “Universal credit should be set at a level that provides claimants with dignity and security,” it says.