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Will Universal Credit change in light of Covid-19?

29 May 2020

The Economic Affairs Committee holds its final evidence session on the economics of Universal Credit inquiry.


Tuesday 2 June, virtual meeting

At 3.00pm

  • Rt Hon. Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Neil Couling CBE, Change Director General and Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit, Department for Work and Pensions

Likely questions

  • Universal Credit was designed in the context of high levels of employment. Now that is changing, how will Universal Credit need to change?
  • The crisis has brought to light questions of social security, fairness, and dignity for those living on Universal Credit. Will the Department include new benchmarks that address these concepts, against which the success of Universal Credit can be judged?
  • Is the assessment period, and therefore the 5-week wait, fundamental to Universal Credit?
  • Has the Department explored the possibility of a more flexible payment frequency, for instance fortnightly, weekly, or a day rate?
  • We heard evidence that the single payment poses risks to women experiencing domestic and financial abuse. Has the Department undertaken any steps on how split payments by default could be implemented?
  • Do you intend to significantly increase the number of work coaches to support the large number of new claimants?
  • Sir Iain Duncan Smith told us that the architects of Universal Credit envisaged a comprehensive system of support to help claimants with a wide range of social problems. Where does the Department now believe its responsibility to support claimants starts and finishes?

Further Information