Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:28 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 1:28 pm, 17th October 2018

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why we need to call for the changes to follow as quickly as possible.

At my surgeries, I have met constituents desperate for help with universal credit. I will give just two examples. The first is Shelby Bowrman from Airdrie, who has become a casualty of the disgraceful two-child cap. Shelby gave birth to her daughter, her third child, after the roll-out of universal credit locally—she was due to give birth before the roll-out but was late. Shelby has now been migrated on to universal credit, and it has cost her thousands of pounds. She has been told that the two-child limit, which did not apply to the childcare element of tax credits, now kicks in for universal credit. She returned to work just two weeks after giving birth, to provide for her three children, who are aged two and under. She worked as a dental assistant during the day and for Domino’s at night. The two-child cap in universal credit has made it impossible for her to work. After I raised the case with the Secretary of State on Monday, Shelby has been told that she can get support with childcare costs but has to pay up front and then be reimbursed. She therefore has to find £2,000. That is just ludicrous and highlights why the two-child cap is discriminatory, unfair, a barrier to work and needs to go.

Another constituent at one of my Friday surgeries highlighted how universal credit completely fails to support people with mental health conditions. Her son Jordon, from Airdrie, is currently receiving acute mental health treatment but needs his universal credit application to progress, for obvious reasons. Jordon’s mental health condition is such that he is in crisis and in hospital.