BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field told the House of Commons delays in processing benefit claims are driving people into destitution and leaving them “dangling at the end of a string.”

In an Opposition Day debate by Labour on the performance of the Department for Work and Pensions , Mr Field told ministers there is a growing difficulty for people in gaining benefit payments quickly and efficiently so as to be able to put food on the table.

Mr Field said: “It is undignified not to have money. It is appalling to have to grovel across the counter for money. The alternative of attending food banks is, for many people, a very last resort.”

He added: “The Department has rules. It makes judgments about who is out of money, and money is paid to people in those circumstances.

“I ask the Secretary of State to ensure that an undertaking is given in the concluding remarks [of this debate] that he will look at how well—or not well—those rules are working.

“Although some people are without money because sanctions have been applied against them, others are seeking benefit genuinely but are not gaining it.

“When I asked the minister how many people had been without benefit for one month, two months and three months, he said that the Department did not know.

"Just imagine what it is like having no money and waiting one day, let alone months, for benefit to come through.”

He concluded by asking ministers to review the DWP’s processes and to bring in new rules quickly, so that people "are not left dangling at the end of a string, destitute, waiting for decisions that do not come".