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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:34 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:34 pm, 20th July 2015

I will make some progress, and then I will give way, but many Members wish to speak and make their own points.

We are committed to helping people who have health difficulties and who are capable of taking steps into work to do so, which is why we are putting greater support into jobcentres. For new claims, the Bill will end the disparity between what people receive on the work-related activity component of ESA and on jobseeker’s allowance. We know that the majority of people receiving work-related activity ESA payments want to work, but the current system discourages claimants from making the transition into work. People on ESA receive £30 a week more than those with a health condition on JSA, but they receive far less support in finding work: people on JSA can expect about 11 hours of work coach time per year, whereas those on ESA typically receive only about two hours per year. The Bill will help people to achieve their ambitions. Current claimants will not be affected, and new funding will be provided for additional support to help claimants to move into work.