Universal Credit - Question

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

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Photo of The Bishop of Oxford The Bishop of Oxford Bishop 11:15, 9 March 2017

My Lords, in the last three months I have visited a large number of food banks across the diocese of Oxford in seemingly affluent communities, building on my experience of food banks in the diocese of Sheffield. All have underlined to me that the most common reason why people access food banks is delay in accessing welfare payments. It is clear from the Government’s figures that too few people are aware of, or receiving, the emergency payments intended for them. Will the Minister please outline what steps the Government are taking to improve communication of and access to short-term benefit advances for existing benefits and to ensure that lessons learned from this are applied to the operation of universal credit.