Tory minister accused of ignoring request for meeting on Universal Credit cut
A Tory minister has been accused of ignoring a request for a meeting on the huge cut to Universal Credit.
Ruth Jones, the Labour MP for Newport West, says she wrote to, Dr Thérèse Coffey, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions asking for a meeting to discuss the “cruel” and “unforgivable” £20-a-week reduction.
But she told the House of Commons that this request was “ignored”.
She reiterated her request for a meeting with the minister to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Will Quince, who refused to address the subject.
The UK Government has said an increase in benefits to help the poorest families cope with the effects of the pandemic, will end in October, leaving claimants receiving £1,040 less a year.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation says this is the biggest overnight cut in the basic rate of social security since the creation of the modern welfare state.
Ruth Jones said: “In Newport West, these cruel cuts to universal credit will hit about 9,000 families, including almost 6,000 children. That is unforgiveable and I will keep fighting these Tory cuts to universal credit.
“In a written parliamentary question to the Secretary of State, I asked whether she would meet me to address the impact of the cuts on the people of Newport West.
“The Minister replied to me but ignored my request to meet, so let us try again. Will the Minister please meet me to discuss the impact the cuts will have on the people of Newport West?”
‘Did not address’
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Will Quince did not address the request for a meeting.
He said: “We have always been clear: the uplift for universal credit was a temporary measure responding to the extraordinary circumstances.
“Our focus now is rightly on our plan for jobs, with tailored programmes to build skills, move towards employment, increase hours, get back into work or climb the career ladder, because we know that work is the best route to a brighter future.”
Ruth Jones also asked: “What discussions she has had with the Welsh Government on the impact of ending the £20 uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit on people in Newport West constituency.”
Will Quince replied: “There is a well-established working relationship between my Department and the Welsh Government, ensuring we work together on devolved and reserved areas effectively. However, universal credit is a policy reserved to the UK Government.”