Food Banks

Part of Opposition Day — [11th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 17th December 2014.

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Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 5:53 pm, 17th December 2014

I would agree that in many circumstances it is probably too long. Circumstances will be different for different people, but for some people it most certainly is too long.

I want to consider what we should be doing about this situation. There has been criticism of the Department for Work and Pensions. I want to make it clear that most staff in DWP do an excellent job, and most DWP staff in my constituency really do try to help the people who come before them—not everybody, but we are all human beings.

First, we should improve access to short-term benefit advances. I think the Government recognise that. I hope they will do something about it and make it clearer how people can access those advances more readily. Secondly, we should look at sanctions policy and practice. Some of the instances that have been highlighted to me of how people have been sanctioned seem, frankly, to be over the top and in some cases ridiculous—in some cases perfectly justified, but in many cases I have questioned that.