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Universal Credit: Victims of Domestic Violence

Volume 641: debated on Monday 21 May 2018

9. What assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of universal credit on the ability of victims of domestic violence to claim benefits. (905442)

Universal credit continues to support victims of domestic violence to claim benefits through a range of measures. These include special provisions for temporary accommodation and same-day advances. Work coaches will also signpost domestic violence victims to expert third-party support.

I am grateful for the Minister’s response, but the Government have still not committed to assessing the operation of split payments or collecting data. Will they commit to looking at specific areas of new universal credit roll-out, such as Leigh, which has also been highlighted as a hotspot by the local police, to ensure that we are adequately safeguarding victims?

Obviously we take domestic violence enormously seriously at the Department, and we certainly believe that we should play our part in detecting and seeking to combat it. We will keep the position under review. As we have said, we remain open-minded on the issue of split payments. If the Scottish Government proceed with their wish to introduce them, we will note what progress is made, and will review the issue in due course