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Christian MP says Universal Credit empowers abusers

Wed 01 Aug 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A Christian MP is leading a campaign to bring changes to the government's flagship welfare reforms that have turned "back the clock to the 1950s".

A report by MPs has attacked the Universal Credit system as it is paid to a household rather than individuals, which leaves vulnerable people dependent on their partners.

Christian and Labour MP Frank Field told Premier why he is fighting for changes to be made.

 

He explained: "Not only do they do a whole range of control techniques, they also get their hands on the whole of the family's money for a whole month and that's what we're trying to stop."

Charities have also joined MPs in warning the way Universal Credit is paid could be empowering abusive partners.

In theory, victims can request the benefit's split into different accounts.

But Mandy Marshall from Christian domestic abuse charity Restored said making a request to split payments could be "dangerous" for victims of abuse.

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"The abuser could be there, it could be in the same room, it could be not leaving the person alone to make that request and also it could increase violence in the home," she said.

"So the report saying that it is important that there is a domestic abuse advisor and specialist in the system is really important."

Frontline workers told MPs that work coaches currently lack information about support for abuse victims.

The report recommends a private room being used in every Jobcentre so people at risk of abuse are able to communicate with staff in confidence.

A government spokesman said that "the vast majority" of Jobcentres have private rooms being used in this way.

The spokesman added: "Tackling domestic abuse is something this government takes incredibly seriously.

"Staff do everything they can to make sure people fleeing domestic abuse get the help they need as quickly as possible."

Listen to MP Frank Field speaking to Premier's Tola Mbakwe:

Listen to Mandy Marshall from Restored speaking to Premier's Tola Mbakwe:

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