Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley believes Universal Credit benefits payments should be “automatically split” so they go directly to women.
The Labour politician made the comment following a local Universal Credit summit attended by charities, community groups and public sector organisations.
Research commissioned by the MP from the House of Commons Library research shows the increase of women on Universal Credit in Midlothian is much faster than men. The number and proportion of women claiming the benefit has risen steeply in Midlothian in the last year, from around 180 in March 2017 to around 1,660 in March 2018. The number of men, in comparison, has risen less sharply, from around 440 to 1,480.
Split payments are backed by women’s organisations to help women who have experienced domestic abuse.
Danielle Rowley MP said: “Universal Credit payments should be automatically split so money is paid directly to the woman.
“The government isn’t listening to the voices of people suffering under this service, or the voices and evidence from organisations who are supporting people.
“So I wanted to bring together communities in Midlothian with experience of the impact of Universal Credit to create a very clear and comprehensive picture of the human impact of this.
“It is no coincidence that so many of the organisations dealing with the fallout of Universal Credit reported so many similar problems and casework at our discussion.
“It is overwhelmingly clear that lessons are not being learned from early rollout areas including Midlothian.
“I hope Alok Sharma, the Employment Minister, will heed these warnings and our suggested solutions, which I will present to him at our upcoming meeting.”