MP's anger over failed vote for Universal Credit probe

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

A Jarrow MP has slammed the Government over its Universal Credit failings

During Parliament on Wednesday, Stepehn Hepburn voted in 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.

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

It began full roll-out in Gateshead in October 2017 and in May 2018 for South Tyneside.

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.

Often people have to wait at least six weeks after losing their job before they get any money.

Mr Hepburn said: “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.”

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