Covid-19: DWP Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 4th May 2020.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Conservative, North Shropshire 3:39 pm, 4th May 2020

May I begin by heartily congratulating the Secretary of State and all the staff at the DWP on the astonishing achievement of handling 1.8 million applicants for universal credit and clearing 1 million? I draw her attention to those people, many of them self-employed, on working tax credits. They were encouraged by the Government to apply for universal credit, not knowing that at the moment they applied for universal credit, they automatically lost by law working tax credit. Some of them now find that because they have been prudent—they had set aside money for pensions and they had savings—they do not qualify under current rules for universal credit and cannot go back and claim for working tax credits. I have had letters from her Department talking about new-style employment and support allowance and the new self-employment income support scheme, which are very welcome. Will she go back to those people and make it clear that they have the right to apply for these schemes, because many of them are not accustomed to dealing with the benefits system and only went through the process under Government encouragement?