New Clause 2 — Childcare

Part of Welfare Reform Bill (Programme) (No. 2) – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 5:15 pm, 13th June 2011

I accept that, but that is precisely why we have extended the hand of involvement to the hon. Lady and her Committee and to Opposition Members, so that they can help us shape the details. This is a big complex project and there are challenging issues to deal with, and we want to work on a bipartisan basis and take views from all parties on how best to shape the system. In the end we will have to take a final decision ourselves, but it is our goal and intention to involve all those who wish to be involved in the thought process.

That brings me on to child care, on which we have been seeking to do precisely that. New clause 2 raises important points about how we intend to support people with formal child care costs within universal credit. Hon. Members will be aware that we recently held two seminars on the topic. Members of both Houses attended, and there were interesting and fruitful discussions. There was a follow-up seminar with a group of key stakeholders. I am aware that Members raised particular queries, and we have undertaken to look into them and provide more information. The seminars were part of an ongoing dialogue about how best to structure child care support under universal credit.

For now, I reiterate the point that I made in Committee. The Bill already allows us to include an additional element for child care within universal credit, under clause 12. We have made a firm commitment to provide such an element, but I make no apology for taking time over the details. We must get them right, and to do so we must listen to those with experience and expertise and consider the options.