At Defence Questions this week I asked the Minister of State what action his department was taking to ensure that those who serve in our Armed Forces, and who are subsequently diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are given the help they need to access benefits.
As the Minister said in his reply, not every member of our Armed Forces will experience PTSD, but it is our duty to safeguard those who do and give them the benefits they deserve.
These women and men have been prepared to lay down their lives for their country. We will be forever in their debt and the least we can do is ensure that they are supported through social security payments. Sadly, the increased waiting that constituents are facing in accessing welfare has placed untold pressures upon them. This is not good enough. The Government can do so much better.
I have been provided information from The Trussell Trust relating to the number of people who have had to access foodbanks in the constituency between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. This follows The Trussell Trusts publication of the full End of Year statistics.
In Delyn, between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, 7,155 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 3,002 of these going to children.
Across the UK, food banks in The Trussell Trust network distributed 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies to help people in crisis, a record rise of 18.8% on the previous year. Of these, 577,618 went to children. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average people needed two food bank referrals in the last year.
These figures come shortly after unemployment statistics demonstrate that people without work in Delyn continues to rise to 1,200 – or 3.7% of the constituency’s population. Read more “Foodbank use in Delyn”
I have continued to press the Secretary of State for the utter shambles that is Universal Credit.
I am particularly concerned of an flaw in the system whereby a woman who is in employment, but for less than the 26 weeks needed for Statutory Maternity Pay from their employer is placed on Maternity Allowance. She will be no worse off at this point, but when she goes to apply for Universal Credit, Maternity Pay is counted as an unemployment subsidy and therefore doesn’t qualify women for the full entitlement of Universal Credit. People are worse off because of Universal Credit.
The UK Government need to learn that this new benefit is not working and they must rethink how it is implemented. Let us not forget that independent analysis shows that women are living with 87% of the burden of austerity under this government.
We were one of the first areas to see Universal Credit (UC) introduced. I have received hundreds of cases since then of people not getting the social security payments they are due.
This week the independent National Audit Office published a damning report stating how UC is failing and should not be rolled out any further until the flaws are sorted.
I have been telling the Government this for months. At today’s statement I pressed once again for more action to be taken to help people who live in rural areas get access to their payments. It is all well and good the Government saying that people should just pop into the local job centre but that is easier said than done if you live in the more rural parts of Flintshire.