Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly defends Universal Credit during Doncaster visit

A senior Conservative party figure has defended the controversial Universal Credit system while visiting Doncaster to support one of their candidates.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 1:37 pm

Party chairman James Cleverly was asked about Universal Credit where 3,000 people who claim the benefit in Doncaster are behind on their rent.

The policy was designed to simply the benefits system but the policy - brought in by the Conservative government in 2011 – has been heavily criticised with people waiting more than five weeks for money.

Over the next four years, it’s estimated 7,500 people will be transferred onto UC.

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James Cleverly during his visit to Doncaster yesterday
James Cleverly during his visit to Doncaster yesterday

Around 4,000 are on the new system.

Mr Cleverly was in the Doncaster pit village of Edlington to support Don Valley candidate Nick Fletcher.

On the issue, Mr Cleverly said: “The whole point of Universal Credit was to try and help to get people into work and help them get jobs and ultimately get better jobs.

“We’ve seen unemployment fall and I know there is more that we can do here and there is more that we want to do but ultimately we want to get people into work with good quality jobs so they’ve got a salary coming in and then we want to see those salaries increase.

“We’ve seen unemployment at a record low and we’ve seen wages rising faster than inflation.

“We want to keep that going, but at the moment so much of politics is being distracted by Brexit which is why we want to get Brexit done and honour the result of the referendum the way people voted here and then we can really focus and put 100 per cent of our effort into the people of Doncaster.”

The full list of candidates in Don Valley are:

Mark Alcock - Liberal Democrats

Nick Fletcher - Conservative Party

Caroline Flint - Labour Party

Chris Holmes - Yorkshire Party

Kate Needham - Green Party

Paul Whitehurst - Brexit Party