Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.

31 MAY 2018

Universal Credit

Thank you for taking the time to email me about the Gingerbread campaign on Universal Credit.

I understand your concern on this matter and hope the following information on this topic from the Department for Work and Pensions is of interest:

Universal Credit is bringing fundamental change to the welfare system. The previous system incentivised working only 16 hours a week or less, preventing people from reaching their potential in work. Universal Credit frees people from those limits and lets them keep more of what they earn. Studies show that under Universal Credit, people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the previous system.
Key to the design of Universal Credit is the monthly assessment periods. Payments are made monthly in arrears to mirror the world of work, making the transition to working life easier. As you know, from February 2018 the seven-day waiting period has been removed. For those individuals who think they may face difficulties before their first payment, an advance payment can be requested. Any household that needs it will be able to access a full month's payment as an advance within five days of applying, and the repayment period will be doubled to 12 months, regardless of the level of advance taken.
The introduction of the National Living Wage is delivering a pay rise for millions of low paid workers. People are keeping more of what they earn due to increases in their income tax personal allowance, saving a basic rate taxpayer up to £1,000 a year. Over 3 million jobs have been created since 2010, making it important to focus resources on helping those in work. The Universal Credit taper rate has therefore been reduced to 63p to ensure claimants keep more of what they earn.

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