Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her Department's policy to refer claimants of universal credit to foodbanks.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government spends over £90 billion a year on welfare benefits for people of working age, to ensure a strong safety net for those who need it. This includes a well-established system of hardship payments and benefit advances. We have also introduced a range of measures to help put more money in claimant’s pockets quicker, such as removing waiting days and, from July 2020, introducing a new two-week run on for income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Jobcentre managers have discretion to work with a wide range of external partners, including food banks, where they are invited to do so. And there are established arrangements in place which allow local staff to signpost a customer to a foodbank where a customer has expressed an interest in using one, but will only do so once they have exhausted all other routes of support.

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