Universal Credit

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 14th February 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2:30 pm, 14th February 2011

The couple penalty is often slightly misunderstood. It is normally created when a higher benefit rate for single people means that couples are materially disadvantaged by living together. It is generally recognised internationally that a saving is made when two people live together, and the figure given by the OECD and others is about 75% at most. In the UK, under the benefit system left by the last Government, workless couples received only 60% of the benefits received by two single workless people, which I believe put us in the bottom four OECD countries. Simultaneously, the proportion of people forming couples is at its lowest at all income levels, about 15% down against other countries. The Institute for Fiscal Studies recognises that the universal credit will start to make inroads into that problem.