Covid-19: Employment Support

Wales – in the House of Commons on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on support for people in Wales whose employment has been adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart The Secretary of State for Wales

I have frequent discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. At least 510,000 people in Wales have been directly supported by the measures we have so far put in place. However, the best possible support we can provide is to get behind the national effort and public health guidelines to ensure that we overcome this crisis sooner rather than later.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

With the UK’s unemployment rate at its highest level in three years, it is clear that many workers in Wales will need to rely on social security in order to get back on their feet. Does the Secretary of State agree that it is only fair to update legacy benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance to match the increase in universal credit that was announced earlier this year?

Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart The Secretary of State for Wales

I thank the hon. Lady for her comments. Conversations I have had with the Department for Work and Pensions, and indeed the Chancellor, have touched on this very issue. This is why the arrangements on universal credit have been as flexible as they can be. The Department is making an effort to ensure that everybody is accounted for and that those who might fall into the gaps we referred to earlier are properly looked after. That is very much uppermost in the minds of Cabinet and ministerial colleagues. I can give her that assurance.