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MPs urge ‘starter payment’ to universal credit claimants

Select committee’s recommendation aims to support people during five-week wait for first benefits

New universal credit claimants should be offered a “starter payment” to ensure they have enough money to pay for food and heating during the five-week wait for a first benefit payment, a cross-party report by MPs has recommended.

The work and pensions select committee said there was growing evidence the five-week wait – a key design element in universal credit – could push people already in difficulties into crises such as rent arrears, food bank use and psychological distress.

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