Today MPs took part in a heated debate in the House of Commons about the roll-out of the Government’s new welfare programme known as Universal Credit. Bradford South MP Judith Cummins joined the growing chorus of politicians from across the political spectrum calling for the roll out of the programme to be paused.
The central feature of the controversial Universal Credit System which has drawn the most stinging criticism is the one which requires claimants to wait six weeks before their first payment is received. Commenting on this controversial six week wait, Judith said in her speech:
“During these six weeks, life does not stop, rent still needs paying, food still needs to be put on the table, and the heating bills still need to be paid. I am interested in making sure working people, right up and down this country, can enjoy dignity, fairness and stability in their lives. Without reform, Universal Credit promises quite the opposite: it creates instability, uncertainty and injustice.”
The Labour Party manifesto published in the run-up to the recent General Election pledged to reform Universal Credit, and in particular to abolish the six week wait before payments kick-in. During her speech, Judith highlighted the risk Universal Credit poses to children. Judith said:
“This headlong rush to roll-out Universal Credit will have dreadful consequences for this country’s children and young people. They will suffer the most.”
Citing research by The Child Poverty Action Group, a national campaign charity, Judith said:
“This analysis reveals how working families will suffer: all families with children will be worse off by an average of £960 a year by 2020. And all single parent families are left worse off by £2,380 on average.”
Judith, commenting on this Government’s horrific record on tackling child poverty, said:
“…the scale of child poverty in this country, one of the richest in the world, is appalling. One in four children grow up in poverty today. 28 per cent, or 9 children in every classroom of 30. In my own constituency of Bradford South, over 9,000 children live in poverty, a shocking 34% of all children.”
Click here to see Judith’s full contribution.