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Covid-19 Temporary Measures

Volume 682: debated on Monday 19 October 2020

What recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on extending the temporary measures introduced by her Department in response to the covid-19 outbreak. (907679)

What recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on extending the temporary measures introduced by her Department in response to the covid-19 outbreak. (907695)

Earlier this year, we suspended face-to-face assessments. That suspension is still in place and is kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that 1.3 million people across Scotland will lose out if the DWP does not make the £20 increase to universal credit permanent and extend it to legacy benefits. The Resolution Foundation also reports that one in three working-age families in the so-called red wall constituencies will be £1,000 a year worse off if the planned cuts to universal credit go ahead. How exactly is that levelling up?

I refer the hon. Member the answer that the Minister for Welfare Delivery has already given. The Government have introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the pandemic.

More than ever, with millions facing unemployment and reduced hours or earnings, our social security system must be properly funded. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has rightly pointed out that cutting social security takes money out of the economy by reducing consumer spending. If the Minister is not yet convinced that cutting universal credit is grossly unjust, will he at least consider making this permanent to stimulate the economy?

As I have just set out, we as a Government, through our £9.3 billion-worth of temporary support, which we continue to keep under review, have shown throughout these unprecedented times that we will be flexible and provide the support, including our comprehensive £30 billion plan for jobs, to make sure that we are standing side by side with those who are navigating the challenges of covid.