To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the time taken for universal credit payments to be made to claimants on trends in the level of food bank use in Scotland.
The Department does not keep official statistics on food bank use, so no such assessment has been completed. Some food aid providers produce statistics on the number of food parcels distributed, but the Government has no plans to require individual food banks to keep records as this would place a significant burden on charitable and voluntary organisations.
We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to vulnerable people who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster.
Furthermore, in Scotland, the Department delivers Universal Credit Scottish choices on behalf of the Scottish Government, providing the option of Universal Credit being paid twice a month rather than monthly, and having Universal Credit housing element being paid directly to landlords.