Universal Credit


Jarrow constituency MP, Stephen Hepburn has slammed the Government over their Universal Credit failings.


In Parliament on Wednesday 17th October 2018, Mr Hepburn voted in favour of forcing the Government to publish its own assessment into the impact of Universal Credit. However, this motion was defeated by 299 votes to 279.


Universal Credit was set up in 2013 by the Government to merge a variety of benefits such as Jobseekers’ Allowance and Housing Benefit into one.


All payments of the benefit are paid on a monthly basis which starts with a week-long “waiting period” followed by a five-week “assessment” before people receive the first payment.


This means that universal credit purposely leaves people having to wait at least six weeks after losing their job before they get any money whatsoever.


Evidence suggests that a significant number of people on universal credit are having to wait more than six weeks and for some, the waiting period has been 12 weeks. This has led people to fall into arrears and serious debt and even pushing some into possession and eviction proceedings.


The National Audit Office (NAO) published a report on Universal Credit in June 2018, which found that it may end up costing more than the benefit system it replaces, cannot prove it helps more claimants into work and is unlikely to ever deliver value for money.


It began full roll-out in Gateshead in October 2017 and in May 2018 for South Tyneside. Stephen Hepburn MP has said that it is causing immense hardship for many people wherever it is rolled out across the Jarrow constituency.

According to official figures from the House of Commons Library, the total number of unemployed claimants in the Jarrow constituency in September 2018 was 2,035.  This figure is 275 higher than September 2017 and 80 higher than August 2018.

Stephen Hepburn MP said: 

“This system brought in by the Tories is in total disarray. The amount of local people that get in touch with my office over problems with Universal Credit is shameful and upsetting.


“Those affected are honest, decent, hard-working people who are struggling to get by after recently losing their job. The Government are supposed to provide a safety net for when people face hardship like this, but they have left them to struggle and mount up huge debts for weeks on end.”


“Our social security system should offer genuine support for people who need it, not make things worse by pushing people into further debt and poverty.”


“I will continue to call on the Government to halt the rollout of Universal Credit and put forward a credible plan to fix its many failings before even more people suffer.”

Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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