Disability Benefits and Social Care

Part of Opposition Day — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 1:59 pm on 20th June 2012.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:59 pm, 20th June 2012

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I will make a little progress. I want to move on to an issue that I think he will find very important: the role of universal credit in our commitment to supporting disabled people. We know that universal credit is a vital part of how we will support disabled people in the future, delivering a welfare system that people finally understand.

Under the current system, some people face losing up to 96p in every pound they earn through tax and benefit withdrawals. There are seven different components associated with disability, paid at different rates with different qualifying conditions. It is little wonder that disabled people have been put off moving into work for fear of losing out under the benefit system. Under universal credit, support for the most severely disabled will remain unconditional, as it rightly should, but we will also see a more generous system of earnings disregards for disabled people and carers. When people are able to work, or choose to work in spite of their disability or health condition, work will pay. The Labour party had 13 years to make those changes, but again they dithered and failed to make the right decisions for disabled people. I hope that the hon. Member for Strangford

(Jim Shannon) agrees that it would have been better if Labour had voted with us on welfare reform so that we had strong support for these important reforms.