Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage stood up for vulnerable constituents in Parliament today.
During Questions to the Department of Work and Pensions, the local MP quizzed the Secretary of State on the impact that the Universal Credit could have on claimants’ rent payments.
“Could my Rt. Hon Friend indicate how much flexibility there is for the way Universal Credit can be paid, for example on a weekly rather than monthly basis or allowing the housing component to be paid directly to landlords in order to protect the most vulnerable families in my constituency?”
The Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, responded by stressing that the change to monthly payment given directly to the claimant was necessary to create a sense of responsibility, which aided people when they returned to work. He went on to add that the Government would “make absolutely certain that those who cannot manage will have fall-back options and assistance to ensure that they can pay all their relevant bills in time.”
The question follows Caroline’s regular meetings with local stakeholders to discuss the impact that elements of the Universal Credit could have. While many of the reforms have been welcomed, concerns have been raised over whether more vulnerable claimants will be able to maintain rent payments if their credit is received on a monthly, rather than weekly, basis.
Speaking after the question, Caroline added:
“I greatly support the majority of these much-needed reforms, which will enhance the lives of many by ensuring that it always pays to work. Yet we cannot afford to overlook the vulnerable claimants who may be unable to cope with the change to monthly payments. I was glad to be able to quiz the Secretary of State on my constituents’ concerns, and pleased to hear that safeguards will be in place for the most vulnerable.”