Universal Credit Handling

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Bim Afolami: Does the hon. Lady accept that the NAO report does not take into account what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Department have done recently in line with their “listen and learn” approach with the roll-out of universal credit?

Margaret Greenwood: I will come on to that point in my remarks.

…later…

Bim Afolami: I like the tone of the hon. Lady’s remarks, but does she accept that her moderate tone does not reflect the motion on the Order Paper? Does she agree that arguing about technical tweaks relating to universal credit is not quite what the Labour party is doing today?

Fiona Onasanya: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, but I do not accept his comments. I am seeking to convey my points in this tone because people are at the centre of this discussion. This is not about politics that are devoid of compassion. That would make this place just a debating chamber, and that is not what it is about. We are seeking to help the individuals who need this assistance. People who need help are being told, “We have weighed everything up and we think this is the minimum you need to get by, but we are going to hold that back. We are going to sanction you.” One of my constituents, who is called Holly, contacted the DWP about what she perceived to be an overpayment. The DWP said, “No, there’s no overpayment. You can continue. The money is yours.” It then decided that there had been an overpayment. She has now been sanctioned and is not entitled to any money until she has repaid £1,500. These are the people we are here to talk about.

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