The current shambles poses more questions than answers, including in relation to supporting incomes through social security. One issue I have been repeatedly pushing is, if Universal Credit needs to be higher during the lockdown, how could it be lower once lockdown ends and the normal cost of living applies? Once people return to paying for things like transport, food bank queues may lengthen. There must be no going back to a safety net with too many holes in it. I asked the Government to commit to keeping this uplift in UC rates after the pandemic this during this week’s DWP Questions. Watch the video here. This followed my first exchange with Therese Coffey last week, which you can read here.
It was also great to lay out my priorities as Shadow DWP Secretary in this week’s LabourList. A system that exists simply to prop up low wages or a lack of affordable homes will never be enough. Labour members should be in no doubt that I am committed to drawing up a full replacement for Universal Credit.
I was also proud to work alongside housing colleagues to demand a better deal for renters. During the coronavirus crisis we should ban evictions, make getting financial help from the Government easier, give people more time to pay rent, and stop renters being made bankrupt.
It was also great to talk to Talk Radio about the tests the current situation are applying to the principles of the welfare state, and the Manchester Evening News on the need to scrap the two child limit on income support immediately.