- Gerald Jones MP challenges UK Government to give clarity and take action over its proposed changes to Universal Credit
- MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney calls for more flexibility with Universal Credit for people struggling to cope with payments
- Government minister confirms 12-month maximum repayment period for advance payments will not be extended to 16 months until October 2021
- 1,882 cases of Universal Credit raised by 432 different people in 2018/19 in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency, according to Citizens Advice Bureau stats
On Wednesday 5 June 2019, Gerald Jones MP called on the UK Government to do more for constituents suffering from debt as a result of Universal Credit, in a key Parliament debate.
The MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney urged the Government to bring in proposed changes to advance payment waiting periods and repayment periods sooner, to help people already in debt while waiting for their first Universal Credit payments, and extend the repayment period for advance payments.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has reported that across the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency in 2018/19, it dealt with 1,882 cases concerning Universal Credit, from 432 different people, and in the debate, Gerald Jones called on the Government to take action urgently and help those in need.
However, the Government confirmed in its response that the cap on deductions from payments would not be lowered to 30% until October this year, and that the repayment period for advance payments would not be extended from 12 to 16 months until October 2021.
Gerald Jones MP said: “As we have heard this afternoon, the Government are planning changes to the repayment period, which will be a maximum of 16 months, with deductions of no more than 30% of the claim. Those changes are in the right direction, but they do not go far enough.
“We have heard more today about looking at other debts, and that is an avenue that it is important to explore. The disappointing thing is that we have to wait until the end of the year for the changes to take effect.”