Stevenage MP is ‘delighted’ with Universal Credit changes

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland welcomed the Government's changes to Universal Credit announced last

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland welcomed the Government's changes to Universal Credit announced last week. Picture: Stephen McPartland - Credit: Archant

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has declared a victory in the campaign to make Universal Credit fairer after a number of concessions were announced in last week’s Budget.

In Wednesday’s Budget unveiled in the House of Commons, Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed a number of changes to the new benefits system which is currently being rolled out across the UK, but has been criticised for delayed payments and for being unfairly calculated.

The Chancellor announced that from February, the Government will reduce the initial six-week waiting period to five weeks for all people claiming Universal Credit and those receiving housing benefit will also receive an additional two-week housing benefit payment.

For claimants unable to wait five weeks for their first major payment, an advance loan payment will also be made available.

This is double the advance previously offered and the repayment window has also been doubled to one year from six months.

Mr McPartland told the Comet afterwards: “I am delighted we have made so much progress on the campaign to build a welfare system that works for everyone.

“The announcements on Universal Credit in the Budget were another step in the right direction.

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“Reducing the waiting time and offering 100 per cent advance payments on day one means no one has to wait for help.

“The Chancellor listened and I will continue campaigning to make sure Universal credit works.”

On the Budget in general, he added: “It is a fantastic Budget and absolutely brilliant we are making progress in so many areas, which will help build a fairer society.

“We can only have excellent public services, if we have strong public finances to pay for them.

“I am proud of the massive infrastructure investments I have secured for our local schools, hospitals, housing and jobs, which has put Stevenage at the heart of the economic recovery.

“There is much more to come for Stevenage, as we build a Britain fit for the future.”

South Cambs MP Heidi Allen has also been campaigning for changes to the Universal Credit system and said she was delighted with the changes that have been made.

To find out more about the Universal Credit System and how it is paid you can call Stevenage Citizens Advice on 0344 411 1444.