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Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:05 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South 3:05 pm, 17th October 2018

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, as always. Where there have been systemic issues, measures have been taken to address them. One example is that housing benefit now gets paid for another two weeks after the change to address some of the issues with rent arrears that Members have properly raised. Secondly, claimants can now get a 100% advance, which addresses the point raised by the right hon. Member for East Ham. The seven-day wait has also been eliminated.

The Minister will also want to think about fine-tuning the period when calculating eligibility. A person who receives their last salary payment, particularly if it is quite a large salary payment, towards the end of their last month in employment may not be eligible to receive a universal credit payment in the following month because their final salary payment counts towards the calculation. I have such a constituency case, and the dates need to be fine-tuned and studied a little more carefully. I would be happy to sit down with the Minister to go through the particulars of the case, which is quite technical and complicated, if it would assist him in his work.

Croydon South has the joint highest proportion of claimants who have been moved across to universal credit, at 43%. Only two or three other constituencies in the country have such a high rate, so we have quite a good base of evidence in my constituency. The SNP Front Bencher said that we should take with a pinch of salt what Conservative Members say—