Esther McVey's Universal Credit Claim Sparks Twitter Row With Mental Health Charity Mind

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Esther McVey said the government’s changes to Universal Credit had won support from Mind 

Leading mental health charity Mind has slammed claims by Esther McVey that it backs the government’s controversial Universal Credit scheme.

On Monday, Work and Pensions Secretary McVey revealed a series of changes to the flagship benefits programme, announcing that the time families must wait for their first payment will be reduced from five weeks to three.

The one-month-deadline to switch benefits will also be extended to three, it was unveiled, while debt repayments will be cut. 

Dismissing claims from the Labour Party that universal credit is “failing”, McVey told the House of Commons extra funding for the scheme announced in the Autumn Budget had received praise from across the charity sector.

Claiming that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation had called the cash injection “a tool for tackling poverty”, the Tatton MP said: “Other charities have been saying this department now is listening to what claimants are saying, charities are saying, MPs are saying.

“Trussell Trust has said that. Gingerbread has said that. Mind have said that.”

But the mental health charity took to Twitter on Tuesday in a bid to “set the record straight” and confirm that it still does not support the benefits system, sharing a series of quotes from its campaigners over recent months criticising Universal Credit. 

While one said people with mental health problems could be left completely without benefits thanks to the online application system, another said Universal Credit meant thousands of people could be “pushed into poverty”. 

Writing on Twitter, a spokesperson for Mind said: “We remain clear that new #UniversalCredit regulations don’t go far enough.

“We won’t stop campaigning until we get a benefits system that really works for people with mental health problems.”

They added: “We need MPs to vote against these…

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