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Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 4:33 pm, 17th October 2018

As we approach the end of this debate, the fact that such a huge number of my colleagues are still attempting to catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker, speaks more powerfully than any speech we will hear today about the full scale of the catastrophe that universal credit is visiting upon some of our most vulnerable constituents. The truth is that every single one of us will be getting emails from our constituents and, heartbreakingly, when we meet those constituents in our surgeries we see how appallingly badly these people have been treated and how far away many of them are from the world of work.

One of the things that upsets me most about universal credit is that a programme that was designed to get people into work is also making life a misery for people who are a long way from the world of work—those who are never seriously going to be available for work. The system treats those people most brutally. They are the very people we in this place should be defending, but they have done worst out of this system.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care got in trouble this weekend for claiming on television that he had not received a single letter from his constituents on universal credit, which I find hard to believe. He was disproved when one of his constituents wrote to the press. Is any Conservative Member willing to put their hand up and say that not a single constituent has got in touch to say that universal credit has made their life worse?