Universal Credit - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:15 pm on 9th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Sherlock Baroness Sherlock Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Opposition Senior Whip (Lords) 11:15 pm, 9th March 2017

My Lords, if only it were that simple. In 2013 the Government introduced a rule that when you first claim benefit you are not entitled to any money for the first seven days. The problem is that universal credit is paid monthly in arrears so it means you get no money at all for six weeks. That does not sound very long, but the typical family in social housing has only £200 in savings and some people are in debt. Social landlords are now saying that tenants are getting into big arrears and people are turning to payday lenders and even loan sharks. Even the noble Lord, Lord Freud, recently told the Work and Pensions Select Committee that the seven-day waiting period should be dropped. Please can the Minister not be complacent about this. Will he go back to his department, look again at the evidence and please take action before anyone else is pushed into debt?