Universal Credit

Part of Estimates 2014-15 — Department for Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 7:56 pm on 7th July 2014.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 7:56 pm, 7th July 2014

I have listened to everything that has been said and I have a hefty set of answers to give, but let me put everything in context by starting with what I hope we can all agree on. In between the doom and gloom that swept across the Chamber from Opposition Members, they seemed to agree that the benefits system needs to be changed, and this Government are bringing about the fundamental reform that is needed. The biggest reform in 60 years will ensure that we reward work, support aspiration, encourage responsibility and help those who need it most. As my hon. Friend David Mowat said, this piece of work is of national importance. We cannot run away from making the significant changes that are so necessary; it is because they are so imperative that we are making them.

Universal credit is at the heart of our reform. Its aim is to make work pay by ensuring that claimants are better off in work than on benefits. It will promote personal responsibility by ensuring that people actively seek work and increase earnings. At the same time, we will continue to provide support for those who need it most. Universal credit will have a positive impact on claimants. Up to 300,000 more people will be in work, and about 3 million more households will gain from universal credit, with an average gain of £177 per month. We are investing £600 million in child care support, with about 100,000 extra families becoming eligible for such support for the first time. From April 2016, 85% of eligible costs will be covered by the child care rate. Alongside that, thousands of disabled adults and children will receive more support, including a higher rate of support for all children who are registered blind.