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Universal Credit

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th December 2017.

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Photo of Laura Smith Laura Smith Labour, Crewe and Nantwich 12:00 am, 13th December 2017

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the time taken for universal credit payments to be made in Wales.

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

At the Budget, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced additional support for universal credit claimants. Advances to people who need them will be made available earlier, more generous and interest-free. All claimants will be eligible for universal credit from the first day they claim it, and we will improve the transition from housing benefit to universal credit.

Photo of Laura Smith Laura Smith Labour, Crewe and Nantwich

The Department for Work and Pensions’ own analysis shows that half of those with rent arrears under universal credit said they had gone into arrears after making a claim. Is the Secretary of State content with the fact that more Welsh families who are currently not in arrears will begin 2018 in debt once they have made their UC claim?

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I simply do not recognise the hon. Lady’s doom and gloom. I have visited jobcentres throughout Wales and staff are telling me that UC is the biggest change in a generation. I met the regional manager for north Wales, and he said that in his 40 years of working for the DWP this was the most positive and customer-focused change he had been aware of. This change is helping people back into employment. The hon. Lady should support the changes and the efforts the Government are making to get people back into work.