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Covid-19: Universal Credit Roll-out

Volume 688: debated on Monday 25 January 2021

What progress her Department is making on the roll-out of universal credit to eligible (a) claimants and (b) people on legacy benefits during the covid-19 outbreak. (911275)

Since the start of the pandemic, the welfare safety net has been there to support nearly 6 million claimants. Parliament has voted for universal credit and to end legacy benefits. The nationwide roll-out of universal credit was successfully completed in December 2018, and we are committed to ensuring that those on legacy benefits move across in a safe and secure way.

I thank the Minister for his answer. It is quite clear that, during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside our massive vaccine programme and world-leading support of £4,000 a head—£280 billion in total—universal credit has been a real success. I praise the officials in Crook and Consett in my constituency for the work that they have done. Does the Minister agree that the last thing we should be doing is moving to scrap universal credit, which is a system that is really helping thousands of my constituents? Does this not show how out of touch the Opposition are, when this system is benefiting millions of people across the country at this incredibly difficult time?

I completely agree; universal credit is a modern, dynamic, agile and fairer welfare safety net, which, in the face of unprecedented demand, ensured that millions of people were paid in full and on time. This is a system that, by any measure, has passed the most challenging of tests, supporting nearly 6 million vulnerable people through this pandemic. There is little doubt that, had we relied on the legacy benefits system, we would have seen queues down the streets outside jobcentres, and long delays leaving families facing financial disruption without support.