Today saw the release of new figures from the ONS showing the number of people claiming Universal Credit has jumped to 2.1 million people, an increase of over 850,000 on last month, as the Coronavirus crisis continues to damage the economy and put jobs at risk.

Labour has, of course, called for and then supported the introduction of schemes like the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, which, while not perfect, are currently keeping millions of people in work as the fight against Coronavirus draws on.

However, Universal Credit, is far from perfect. The huge jump in the numbers of people making a claim has exposed cracks in the system.

Failures in the system are leaving many without money for weeks and more facing general difficulty in getting the financial help they so desperately need.

Labour is calling on the government to agree five urgent social security measures to provide immediate support to people affected by the coronavirus crisis:

  1. Convert Universal Credit advances into grants instead of loans, ending the five-week wait
  2. Remove the £16,000 savings limit which disqualifies individuals from accessing Universal Credit
  3. Suspend the benefit cap
  4. Abolish the two-child limit in Universal Credit and tax credits
  5. Uprate legacy benefits to match the increase in Universal Credit, providing an immediate increase in Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment Support Allowance

I and my team have been assisting constituents experiencing difficulty accessing Universal Credit, and there are organisations out there who can help you apply, and work out how much you may be entitled to in support.

If you’re having trouble with an application for Universal Credit, or any other financial support scheme, please don’t hesitate to contact me using jo.stevens.mp@parliament.uk or 02921 329736.

Speakeasy Advice Centre, based in Roath, can also help you – with experts on hand to take calls and e-messages to guide you through the system or help with any appeals processes you may need.

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