Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about help for ‘universal credit guinea pigs’ in poverty

On 3rd October 2019 Lord McNicol of West Kilbride asked the Government “what steps they have taken to reduce inequality in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a further question about people in poverty as a result of early pilots of universal credit. 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, Newcastle was one of the pilot areas for the rollout of universal credit. It also has one of the largest food banks in the United Kingdom. I have warmly welcomed the changes to universal credit that have ameliorated some of the terrible things that happened in the beginning. However, is anything being done to help those people who were the guinea pigs, who were plunged into poverty and have not managed to come out of it? I would be grateful to know whether anything is being done.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: I say to the right reverend Prelate that we are working with areas such as Newcastle that have food banks. We are also working with the food banks more closely to better support those people who, as she says, might initially have fallen into that pit, perhaps, of the ever-increasing sets of problems that arose from that initial problem with UC.


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