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MPs' report on Universal Credit five-week wait welcomed by Usdaw - the Government must act to tackle poverty

Date: 20 October 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed an MPs’ report that addresses the Universal Credit five-week wait and calls on the Government to listen and act to help families out of poverty.
The House of Commons cross-party Work and Pensions Select Committee has recommended changes to the Universal Credit “baked in” wait for the first payment; calling for the current repayable advance loan to be replaced with a three-week non-repayable payment two weeks after applying.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says:  “The Universal Credit system has been plagued with problems and continues to be a failing project. The five-week wait period is not only unnecessary but makes life profoundly difficult for many claimants and their families  pushing them into debt, from which they struggle to recover.

“After completing their application, claimants must then wait for at least five weeks to receive their award. They can ask for an advance payment loan, which has to be paid back out of future Universal Credit payments. This causes real hardship, pushing claimants into debt and reliance on foodbanks, with those in the most vulnerable circumstances most at risk. So we welcome MPs criticism of the current set up and the call for change.

“We also welcome the committee recommending that the £20 increase in Universal Credit, introduced during the coronavirus pandemic, continues beyond April. In these difficult times, it is astounding that the Government has not yet ruled out an income cut of around £1,000 for the poorest families.

“There are many more issues that need to be addressed. Usdaw has consistently called for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted, to allow a full review and overhaul of how the Government supports the incomes of working people who are already struggling to make ends meet. We need a proper social security system that supports families, particularly during this appalling pandemic.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
DWP Select Committee - Universal Credit - the wait for a first payment: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmworpen/204/20402.htm
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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