Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd has today written to the Government demanding action to make it easier for domestic abuse victims to have money paid into a separate bank account.
Lloyd’s proposal comes after it was revealed the Universal Credit lump sum payment is paid into one designated bank account for the whole household, often the male partner in the relationship. This had led, in some cases, to domestic abuse victims being deprived of money, and less able to escape their dangerous home situation.
The Eastbourne MP has demanded that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey MP, make the plight of domestic abuse victims a “top priority”.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Work and Pensions, Stephen Lloyd said:
“Among the litany of failures that is Universal Credit, this is one of the most disturbing and damaging.
"I believe it should be at the very top of Esther McVey’s priorities. Without fast remedial work on the very processes of Universal Credit, some people’s lives may well be put in danger.
"I will be demanding the minister acts quickly before it is too late.”
Please see the text of Stephen Lloyd’s letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt Hon Esther Mcvey MP, below.
Re: Universal Credit Split Payments
I am writing to you on the aforementioned topic of split payments of Universal Credit. Under its current implementation, the single monthly household payment of UC makes it easier for domestic abusers to seize and regulate family income and prevent partners from leaving the home.
At present the only way to arrange a split payment of a couple’s Universal Credit is on request. For a victim of domestic abuse, having to make this request will often put them at more danger of abuse from their partner. A recent survey of domestic abuse victims by the charity Women’s Aid found almost 85 per cent of respondents feared the abuse would get worse if their partner found out they had asked for their benefit payment to be divided.
I urge you, for the sake of the victims of domestic abuse, take action immediately. Either to make it easier to request split payments or make split payments the default payment method for couples, including dividing payments so that the child credit element is made payable to the main carer, usually the mother, which was the case with child tax credits.
All the best,
Stephen Lloyd MP
Eastbourne and Willingdon
Lib Dem Front Bench Spokesman
Department for Work and Pensions