It is not our intention that routine or minor changes in circumstances would lead to the loss of transitional protection. The requirement for child care clearly fluctuates during the course of the year, but follows a set pattern. It is not our intention for a moment to remove transitional protection in that situation, nor is it our intention to remove it in an environment in which there is an annual increase—RPI or CPI—in the rate of child care. We are looking at material changes in circumstances, and I certainly would not envisage the change from term time to holidays as a material change.
The other issue that I have with the Opposition’s proposals is that they would remove the ability for people to take up mini jobs. For women re-entering the workplace after a lengthy time out of it, there is a bigger barrier than needs to be the case. One of the strengths of the universal credit system is the flexibility for people to take on mini jobs. The level of prescription set out in the Opposition’s proposals would set up unnecessary and inappropriate barriers to getting people back to work.