To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of research by the Trussell Trust which found a 52 per cent increase in food bank usage in areas where universal credit has been implemented for 12 months or more.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the press release entitled Foodbank demand soars across the UK, published by the Trussell Trust, published on 8 November 2017, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of that research which found a 30 per cent increase in food banks usage in the first six months in areas in which universal credit has been rolled out.
We work closely with The Trussell Trust and welcome their feedback. It is worth noting that much of their analysis was carried out before the improvements we announced at Autumn Budget 2017, and which were introduced earlier this year. The comprehensive and wide-ranging package worth £1.5 billion to help people in their first assessment period included, the abolition of waiting days, the introduction of advances up to 100% of a claimant’s indicative award (repayable over a period of up to 12 months), and a two week transitional payment for those previously claiming Housing Benefit.
The Trussell Trust welcomed our changes in the Budget saying they would “ease the pressure on thousands of households on very low incomes” and “shows that Government is listening”.
Earlier this month, we announced a new partnership with Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland to deliver Universal Support. We want to make sure that the most vulnerable people get the best possible support when claiming Universal Credit. Citizens Advice will help deliver a high-quality and consistent service to people claiming Universal Credit, to assist them manage their claim, get paid on time and budget effectively. This was welcomed by the Trussell Trust.