The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on reform to debt management for universal credit recipients during a debate on food banks and the rise in poverty on 9th January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, given the data published by the Trussell Trust in December which revealed that 57% of people referred to food banks who are in receipt of universal credit face government deductions from their or their partner’s benefits income, could the Minister outline what steps the Government will take to reform the debt management process for universal credit?
Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con): That is a very important part of our programme, and the Government recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. The primary aim of deductions in universal credit is to protect vulnerable claimants by providing a last-resort repayment method for arrears of essential services. With the extreme pressures there are at the moment, I reassure the right reverend Prelate that we are doing our very best to look at what more we can do to help people who get into severe debt.
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