Universal Credit update

By David Morris MP

Following a lot of misinformation on the Universal Credit Vote I wanted to set the record straight:

- Opposition day debates are just that they have no binding influence on Government Policy and do not have the power to change legislation.

- Morecambe and Lunesdale have had the full roll out of Universal Credit for 18 months (since April 2016). Any pause to the national roll out would not affect Morecambe and Lunesdale as the system is already well established.

- I meet regularly with the Job Centre and have done throughout this process. We were a pilot area any teething problems with the system have been fed back and changed.

- Universal Credit in our area has been positive for the vast majority of people who are on the benefit. The Job Centre have more work coaches, who are able to work with clients as individuals finding them work and correspond with them through their journal. All messages are responded to within 2 working days. This allows clients to have one contact for all of their issues.

- There are in a minority of complicated cases some issues, these cases come to myself for assistance and the CAB. I have been meeting regularly with the CAB to discuss themes in these cases and have been raising any common issues with Government.

- The latest issue seems to be the high payback rate of 40% of advanced payments causing debt and agencies being unable to negotiate on the rate. I believe that 10% would be a more feasible rate and have been raising this with the Minister. I raised this also in the chamber here:

- Stopping Universal Credit roll out nationally would have no effect in our area as we are already established in full roll out. It is irresponsible to claim otherwise. What will have an effect is assessing any cases where there are issues and working with the Job Centre and the CAB to feed back to Government if any tweaks need to be made. Universal Credit is a good policy and has worked positively for many of my Constituents and it is for this reason I am not against it as a whole.