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Covid-19: Universal Credit

Volume 688: debated on Monday 25 January 2021

What assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of universal credit in supporting people during the covid-19 outbreak. (911276)

Thanks to universal credit’s modern, dynamic and agile system, it has effectively supported nearly 6 million people, with over 90% of new claimants receiving their first payment in full and on time. This is in stark contrast to the paper-based legacy system, which would have seen queues outside our jobcentres and would have buckled under the pressure.

I have seen for myself on visits to the fantastic jobcentres in Guisborough and Loftus how the teams there really value universal credit, and how it has helped to support people over the last turbulent year. Will my hon. Friend reassure my constituents that there is no question of universal credit going anywhere, and does he agree that the Leader of the Opposition calling for it to be scrapped is simply the height of opportunism and irresponsibility?

The universal credit system and tens of thousands of dedicated, incredible DWP staff have processed an unprecedented number of claims—over 3 million since mid-March. It is not just my hon. Friend who is saying this; the IFS slammed Labour’s pledge to scrap UC as uncosted, as well as,

“unwise…expensive, disruptive and unnecessary.”

The Government believe that work should always pay and we need a welfare system that helps people into work, supports those who need it and is fair to those who pay for it. Remember: no Labour Government have ever left office with unemployment lower than when they started.