This morning David Gauke, Secretary of State for the Department for Work & Pensions, announced the Universal Credit helpline will be free by the end of the month, and all DWP helplines will be free by end of the year.
Here’s our response:
“Since our Early Warnings report in April, The Trussell Trust has consistently highlighted the impact of the cost of the Universal Credit helpline – a foodbank in our network even reported they had installed new phones in their centre because people referred to them couldn’t afford to call the helpline from home.
“We therefore welcome David Gauke’s announcement today that there will be no charge for calling this helpline by the end of this month, and for all DWP helplines by the end of the year. This is a sensible first step in starting to address some of the issues with Universal Credit seen by Trussell Trust foodbanks, but their experience tells us that there are other significant barriers that still need to be addressed to prevent people affected by Universal Credit issues from needing a foodbank.”
Garry Lemon, Head of Media & External Affairs