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Welfare Delivery Minister Will Quince MP questioned on Universal Credit

14 July 2020

The Work and Pensions Committee questions Welfare Delivery Minister Will Quince MP and the DWP official responsible for UC, Neil Couling as part of the inquiry into Universal Credit and the wait for a first payment.

Purpose of the session

The inquiry has been examining some of the options available for reducing the current wait for those claiming UC for the first time, which can be up to five weeks. The session will be an opportunity to put to the Minister some of the issues raised during the inquiry including the DWP's views on the effects of the wait on people claiming, the work being done to reduce delays to initial payments and the Department's assessment of different policy options for bringing down the wait or mitigating its impact.

The Committee has previously taken evidence from charities and support groups, policy experts and local authorities, as well as former Work and Pensions Secretary Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP.

NAO report

A report published on Friday by the NAO highlighted the view of people claiming UC and support organisations that the wait for the first payment ‘contributes to financial hardship and debt, despite the availability of advances'.

The report found that although the proportion of first payments being made on time had significantly increased since 2017, there were still more than 300,000 people paid late last year, due to the growing numbers claiming UC. The figures refer to claims made before the coronavirus pandemic.

Witnesses

Wednesday 15th July

At 9.30am:

  • Will Quince MP, Minister for Welfare Delivery
  • Neil Couling, Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit, Department for Work and Pensions

Further information

Image: PC