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Self-Employed Universal Credit Claimants: Covid-19

Volume 685: debated on Monday 30 November 2020

What steps her Department is taking to support self-employed universal credit claimants during the covid-19 outbreak. (909458)

The minimum income floor —the MIF—was first suspended in March this year, and we have now extended the suspension until the end of April 2021. This provides vital support for self-employed claimants by ensuring that they receive a full UC award during these uncertain times.

There is no doubt that the universal credit system has stood up well to the unprecedented increase in demand placed on it this year, including by being flexible and responsive in the way that the Minister described. Will she join me in thanking the staff at the UC service centre in St Austell, which I believe is the busiest and best performing service centre in the country, for their excellent hard work and dedication this year? Does she share my concern that all we hear from the Opposition is dragging down the system, which is working so much better than the legacy system we inherited, and while they call for it to be scrapped, they never say what they would replace it with?

I would be delighted to extend my thanks to the dedicated and hard-working team at the St Austell service centre and their colleagues across the rest of the DWP, who have played their part in processing a 90% national increase in UC claims since March. I agree with my hon. Friend’s point about the Opposition. Without the agile, digital universal credit system, we simply would not have been able to quickly and safely process millions of additional claims and get money and support to the people who needed it most in this health emergency.