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 Kate Osamor Kate Osamor Labour/Co-operative, Edmonton 3:39 pm, 4th May 2020

May I remind the House that back in March, when I wrote to the Secretary of State to ask what emergency measures were in place to allow the Department to cope with the increase in new universal credit claims, I was told that the Department would redeploy staff and review priority of work? The Secretary of State has repeated that today. However, I am afraid to say that, months into the crisis, I still have constituents who are being told that the waiting time is eight hours when calling the claim line. As a result, many have been forced to use food banks for the first time. Given the ongoing issues that my constituents are experiencing, will the Secretary of State give resolving the technical and capacity issues the highest priority by providing clearer guidance to the public and the hard-working DWP staff on the correct process for making digital and non-digital universal credit claims?