Midlothian’s MP speaks up about Universal Credit split payments

Labour MP Danielle Rowley
Labour MP Danielle Rowley

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley (Lab) has pressed Theresa May on domestic abuse perpetrators using single household payments for financial coercion.

At last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions Ms Rowley branded the Universal Credit practice “disgusting” and accused Mrs May of offering no comfort to the victims, mainly women.

Research by Refuge and The Co-op Bank found that the vast majority of women financial abuse victims also experience physical, sexual and emotional abuse in their relationship. Ms Rowley argued the very act of requesting the split payment could put them in further danger.

She said: “We must not allow our welfare system to be used as a tool of coercive control by abusers.

“Many of the people who find themselves in this situation are not in a position to get themselves out of it without putting themselves – and often their children too – in further danger.

“We owe it to them to resolve this for them without further delay.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have specialist teams in every Jobcentre, including those who can support victims of domestic violence. And staff do everything they can to make sure people fleeing domestic abuse get the help they need as quickly as possible.

“That includes enabling urgent payments to be made for collection within two to three hours, transferring a person’s claim to a different Jobcentre and directing individuals to third party professionals who can provide expert support.

“Previous legacy benefits were also paid to one account and there’s no evidence that paying into one account increases the risk of domestic violence.”