I know many people in East Newcastle depend on disability benefit to live independently. It is clear there is a systematic problem with the assessment system as 87% of claimants who appealed a negative decision at a tribunal were successful in their appeal. The system must be reformed and I will continue to be an advocate for constituents who feel they have been wrongly assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions.
I believe the government should be protecting incomes beyond the pandemic. I oppose cutting the Universal Credit £20 per week ‘uplift’ as it will do considerable financial harm to my constituents. Regrettably, the Chancellor has announced he will remove the uplift towards the end of the year.
We need to see a range of long-awaited reforms to Universal Credit, including reducing the five-week wait for the first payment and for advances to be given as grants instead of loans. When in government, Labour will replace Universal Credit with a properly funded and people-first universal benefit.