I recently spoke in a debate on Universal Credit and debt, where I highlighted that the in-built five-week wait is pushing people into severe hardship and forces many to rely on foodbanks. The Government cites Advance Payments as a way of helping people to get through this period, yet this is simply wrong. These payments are simply unaffordable loans that offer claimants the choice between hardship now or hardship later.
These loans take no account of people's circumstances or ability to repay them. Repaying these loans makes it difficult to afford other bills, and the debt people are pushed into is often overwhelming and unsustainable.
I therefore called on the UK Government to remove the need for such loans by abolishing the five-week wait and introducing a single, non-refundable assessment payment for all claimants during the five-week wait period.