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Universal Credit Roll-out

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th October 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 12:00 am, 15th October 2018

What progress she has made on the roll-out of universal credit throughout the UK.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Universal credit is now live in 495 jobcentres available to new claimants, and within weeks it will be available throughout the country.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

In two weeks’ time the remaining two thirds of my constituency will receive universal credit, following the one third who have already received it. Notwithstanding the frankly irresponsible narrative that we hear from Opposition Members, the work and pensions staff in the Aberdeen jobcentre cannot wait to get started and to deliver this transformative benefit. Can the Minister confirm that it is on track to be rolled out in two weeks’ time?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I thank my hon. Friend for engaging with his local jobcentre, which is not always done by Opposition Members. I hear the same thing from other jobcentre staff across the country. Universal credit is working, and I say to the Opposition, “Stop scaremongering: you are not helping the people who need the support.”

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Labour, Don Valley

As universal credit is rolled out, the Government have announced that they are removing local authority funding support for claimants and placing the role solely with Citizens Advice. When will Doncaster Citizens Advice, and all the other branches in the country, know for sure exactly what resources they will receive, and when?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Let me be clear. Local authorities will continue to provide that support until the end of the current financial year, and will work in parallel with Citizens Advice, which is starting its work in the autumn.