The roll-out of universal credit continues to be a matter of concern in my constituency. Some of my constituents have been temporarily unable to pay their bills because of the long waiting period between one benefit and another, and the bailiffs were sent around. There is clear evidence of discrimination against women in the way in which the system works. People who have made national insurance contributions and lose their jobs do not get unemployment benefit as they used to on the basis of six months’ contributions if their husbands are in work. I am very grateful to Samantha Townsend, who has collected some 1,100 signatures.
The petition states:
The petition of residents of Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Spennymoor and Teesdale,
Declares that the Universal Credit programme is pushing people into poverty, debt and homelessness.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Work and Pensions to pause and fix Universal Credit before its rollout in Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Spennymoor and Teesdale.
And the petitioners remain, etc.