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Universal Credit

Volume 664: debated on Wednesday 4 September 2019

3. What assessment he has made of the economic effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit in Wales. (912226)

8. What assessment he has made of the economic effect on low-income families of the roll-out of universal credit in Wales. (912231)

People claiming universal credit move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings. The latest labour market statistics show the positive impact of universal credit, with unemployment in Wales down 10,000 on the previous quarter.

What discussions has the Minister had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about making it easier for private sector tenants in Wales to have their housing element of universal credit paid directly to their landlord?

We are always having discussions across Government about how we can improve the experience for universal credit claimants. It is possible already in certain circumstances for rent to be paid directly, but part of universal credit is ensuring that benefits mimic more the experience of being in a job and encouraging people to find one.

Does the Minister agree that, thanks to the changes that his Government have introduced this year, couples forced to transfer from pension credit to universal credit will lose up to £7,000 each and every year? What is he doing to mitigate that personal economic disaster for those couples all across Wales?

I must say that I do not recognise the figures the hon. Lady has just given, but I would say that the introduction of universal credit has ended the 16-hour cliff edge that many families faced and the introduction of the national living wage has helped boost the incomes of many across Wales.

11. Mr Speaker,“Women survive violence then have to survive on peanuts, we have nothing, no furniture, no food, no recourse to public funds, we need money to live on, otherwise we are either destitute or die.”Those are the words of a Welsh survivor of domestic violence. Is the Secretary of State aware that his Government’s universal credit scheme is responsible for causing victims more pain, more hardship and more heartbreak? These survivors need help, not hurdles. When will he start speaking up for them? (912234)

I can say that the Department for Work and Pensions has been working with Welsh Women’s Aid to deliver training for domestic abuse specialists in jobcentres. By the end of September, every jobcentre in Wales will be covered by a specialist who will further raise awareness of domestic abuse and be able to provide additional support.