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Universal Credit Claimants: Covid-19 Support

Volume 685: debated on Monday 30 November 2020

What steps her Department is taking to support universal credit claimants as a result of restrictions on face-to face appointments during the covid-19 outbreak. (909450)

Throughout the pandemic, our covid-secure jobcentres have remained open to the most vulnerable in society who require face-to-face support. We have also introduced new processes to cut telephony waiting times and enhanced our digital platforms. That empowers our work coaches to engage with customers through appropriate channels, based on their knowledge of the customer and the local situation.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, but in some parts of our country, including parts of Harrogate and Knaresborough, access to broadband or even a mobile phone signal can be quite limited. How is he helping the excellent team at Harrogate jobcentre help those who cannot have a face-to-face appointment, yet struggle to gain access to the internet?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and he is a huge advocate and supporter of his local jobcentre. We have made all our jobcentres covid-secure, including Harrogate, by introducing a range of safety measures, including screened desks, social distancing signage, mandatory face covering for claimants, the provision of hand sanitiser and regular touch-point cleaning, but for those who are unable to attend a jobcentre, and depending on their individual circumstances, alternative arrangements can of course be put in place.