Universal Credit: Court of Appeal Judgment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:31 am on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 10:31 am, 25th June 2020

I pay tribute to the four women who brought this case and all those who supported them, including the Child Poverty Action Group, and I thank the Work and Pensions Committee Chair, Stephen Timms, for securing this question. This really is damning for the Government and successive Secretaries of State, who have belligerently fought this in the courts. Why should women and disabled people have to go to court to get basic fairness? I am sorry that the Secretary of State is not here to respond.

The issue of people getting paid salaries on irregular but predictable days of the month is something that the Scottish National party has been raising as an issue with UC for years, and the Court of Appeal has ruled that it was irrational for the Work and Pensions Secretary not to act to resolve the problem. Why should claimants lose UC support simply because of the day of the month that they are paid? That question has not been answered. As part of the process of accepting this ruling, will the Minister at the very least ensure that the predicted 85,000 people thought to be directly impacted have their situations resolved? Will the Minister work with the Chancellor to finally add flexibility to the monthly assessment period to resolve this issue and the five-week wait, which is also impoverishing people?