The DWP has finally admitted what everyone else has been agreed upon for years: the roll-out of universal credit increases food bank use.
In answer to a question about the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on food insecurity, secretary of state for work and pensions Amber Rudd told MPs today:
“We are committed to having a strong safety net where people need it. It is clear that there were challenges with the initial roll-out of universal credit, and the main issue that led to an increase in food bank usage could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough. We have made changes to accessing universal credit, so that people can have advances and so that there is a legacy run on after two weeks of housing benefit, and we believe that that will help with food insecurity.”
Many charities, however, have argued that the changes have not gone nearly far enough and that advance payments simply plunge claimants deeper into debt.
You can read the questions and answers here.