Charities put the record straight on Universal Credit ‘support’

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“We have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Department of Work and Pensions about UC"

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8th November 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Charities have hit out after Tory work and pensions secretary Esther McVey claimed they have backed the government over Universal Credit (UC).

McVey has been accused of being misleading after she said cash pledged to the controversial benefit contained in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s recent budget “had received praise from across the charity sector”.

She said charities such as Mind, Gingerbread, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Trussell Trust and the Child Poverty Action Group welcomed the £1.7 billion announced by Hammond, as well as a reduction in crippling length of time people have to wait to be put on the benefit from five to three weeks.

McVey told MPs that charities said Hammond’s cash was “a tool for tackling poverty” and that “charities have been saying this department now is listening to what claimants are saying, charities are saying, MPs are saying.”

However, some of the charities mentioned took exception to McVey singling them out.

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at mental health charity Mind, said: “The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey mentioned Mind in her Universal Credit regulations statement.

“We have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Department of Work and Pensions about UC and the regulations and so wanted to make it clear where we stand on the issue.

“These regulations confirmed our worst fears – that in the move over to UC three million people, including hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems, will be forced to make a new claim.

“This risks many being left without income and pushed into poverty. The regulations have done little to meet this fundamental problem – as it stands there is still no safety net for people before or during the move to UC.

“The government must do the right thing and withdraw these regulations, before they fall squarely on some of the most vulnerable in society.”

Gingerbread, which support single parents, tweeted: “We want to be clear – we support changes to the system that benefit single parents, but this statement does not paint the full picture.

“We are not complacent and are clear these changes do not do enough to make the system work for single parents.”