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MP leads call to end the inhumane five-week wait for Universal Credit in the South Lakes

September 19, 2019 3:30 PM

Tim speaking at conferenceLocal MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that Lib Dem party conference have backed proposals to reduce the wait for the first benefits payment for people on Universal Credit from five weeks to five days.

The proposals include calls to invest £5 billion per year to make the benefits system work for people.

This comes after a new report from the Trussell Trust which found that, in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out for at least a year, food banks have seen a threefold increase in demand.

So far this year the King's Food Bank in Kendal has supplied 17,913 meals compared with 13,545 meals for the same period last year - an increase of 32%.

In his speech to party conference, Tim raised the case of his constituent, Violet, who was without a job when her husband walked out on her and their two children.

Tim said: "The five-week wait meant that there wasn't food for the family. Forced to take out loans, she cracked under the pressure.

"It was a privilege to stand alongside her and win her case, but I am angry at the thousands of Violets left destitute because of those five long weeks and the debt they leave behind."

Speaking after the vote, Tim said: "Years of cruel Conservative cuts have left vital services strapped for cash, and people destitute on our streets. For too many people in our area, there is just not enough support to get them back on their feet when hard times come around.

"So, I'm delighted that our party conference has passed this motion so we can fight to make real, tangible differences for the least well-off in our communities."