Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:56 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 12:56 pm, 17th October 2018

I am going to make some progress.

When the National Audit Office raised the alarm with its damning report back in June, the Government misrepresented its findings and stubbornly claimed that it did not take account of changes that they had made, but they will not publish the figures that would enable the public and Parliament to hold them to account. This week in the Chamber, the Secretary of State met criticism of universal credit with accusations of scaremongering, so I will ask again: are Citizens Advice, the Child Poverty Action Group, the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers, Mencap, Mind, Scope, Parkinson’s UK, the Residential Landlords Association, the National Housing Federation, the Resolution Foundation, National Audit Office, the Archbishop of Canterbury and two former Prime Ministers scaremongering? The confusion of the last fortnight has caused families real concern about the transfer to universal credit and they deserve answers, so will the Government publish all reports and analysis that they have carried out into the effects of universal credit since the Secretary of State took office? People have a right to know.

The social security system should be there for any of us should we need it, yet the Government’s flagship programme has brought real hardship. How did it come to this—that people are facing hunger and destitution in the fifth largest economy in the world? It cannot be right. The Government must wake up and open their eyes to what is happening. That is why the Labour party is calling on the Government to stop the roll-out of universal credit.