Universal Credit was the biggest and most fundamental reform to the welfare state since its creation. It is a modern benefit based on the sound principles that those who need support should receive it, work should always pay, and the welfare system should be fair to taxpayers. I firmly believe that UC is fairer, simpler, and more accurate than the system that preceded it, and I am pleased that the system is standing up to the challenge of the current pandemic.
The waiting period for Universal Credit has been reduced to five weeks, and if a claimant needs help with their living costs in that period, they can apply for an advance on their first payment, which can be paid on the same day in the event of an emergency. In the event that a claimant cannot use digital services or access their online claim, they are encouraged to contact the free Universal Credit helpline.
The goal of Universal Credit is to get more people into work, and its success in this regard is reflected in our record low pre-pandemic unemployment rates. The taper rate ensures that work always pays, and removes the worst excesses of the previous system, where some people would be penalised for entering work or taking on more work. In 2018, the Government also increased the Work Allowance, the amount families can earn before the taper rate takes effect, by £1,000. It is also right that those claiming Universal Credit should abide by certain appropriate work-related responsibilities.
Like the previous system, Universal Credit can sometimes make errors, and these must be corrected quickly. I am determined to ensure that every UC claimant in Cheadle receives their full, rightful entitlement. If you know of someone who has been wrongly denied payment, or had their payment wrongly reduced, please encourage them to contact me directly.