Safety net needs to be strengthened, says Citizens Advice in response to Work and Pensions Committee report

Citizens Advice has responded to the Work and Pensions Committee’s report ‘Universal Credit: the wait for a first payment.’

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Universal Credit has been a lifeline for millions in this crisis, but with the potential for a bleak winter of further redundancies, more needs to be done to strengthen the safety net.

“We welcome the findings of this report as we know many face hardship during the five-week wait for Universal Credit. While advance payments are available, they have to be repaid, often leaving people with a choice of struggling now or struggling later. 

“The government must provide some additional security, particularly with people facing a difficult labour market. That means urgently addressing issues with the five-week wait and making the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanent.”

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  2. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.

  3. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.

  4. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.

  5. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  6. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit

  7. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.

  8. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  9. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.