14th May 2018

Marion Fellows MP has accused the UK Government of punishing young couples by denying under-18s access to Universal Credit while taking their income into account on their partner’s claim.

Questioning Andrea Leadsom, the UK Government’s Leader of the House, on Thursday Mrs Fellows requested a debate on young people and their place in the welfare system after raising the case of two local constituents. One is 17, working part-time and is unable to access state support to welfare, yet her partner who is 25 has his claim reduced based on her income.

The Leader of the House’s response appeared to dodge the double standard and instead boasted about the UK Government’s schemes to encourage people into apprenticeships and education.

Commenting, Marion Fellows said:

It is completely unacceptable for the UK Government to create a double standard for under-18s which is punishing young couples.

Under-18s are in no-man’s land between not being recognised by the Tories’ welfare state as claimants, while still being recognised by it by having their incomes accounted for in their partner’s claim.

Andrea Leadsom’s response is not good enough. It is not fair to expect all under-18s to attend further or higher education. This is not a path everyone wishes to follow.

Nor is it fair to expect under-18s to support themselves on a meagre minimum wage much lower than those who are older and when precarious work is rife.

This is a Government that is wilfully deaf to the struggles of ordinary people. We can do better.

People should not have to wait to earn a “decent income”. People deserve it now. The UK Government must increase the minimum wage and lift the welfare freeze.