Universal Credit and Terminal Illness

Part of Petition - Royal Bank of Scotland Closure in Nairn, Grantown and Aviemore – in the House of Commons at 8:53 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 8:53 pm, 9th May 2018

I thank Drew Hendry for securing this debate on an incredibly important subject, and I praise Marion Fellows—I hope that I can call her my friend, because we were both Tuesday Whips for some time and we enjoyed our time together—for her bravery in speaking this evening at what is a terrible time for her, as it would be for anyone of us facing terminal illness. There will be no one in the House who has not had a member of their family or someone that they know receive the devastating news that their life is coming to an end. It is difficult for us to hear, and we all must do our best to treat everybody with the sensitivity, empathy, respect and dignity that has been requested this evening.

I want to reassure hon. Members that staff in the Department for Work and Pensions really do their utmost to support claimants and their families during this difficult period. The Department has significant experience in dealing with the legacy benefits system, and a lot of that learning has been transferred to universal credit.