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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

Forty Members, so it is in colleagues’ interest to let me make some progress.

I also want to support parents claiming universal credit to get into and stay in work after having a child. We found just last week that the number of children living in households claiming out-of-work benefits is at a record low, down by 450,000 since 2010. That is very good progress, but we want to build on it. The Government are introducing a far-reaching childcare offer: with universal credit, people will get up to 85% of their childcare costs paid from April 2016—up from 70% under the previous system. All three and four-year-olds already receive 15 hours of free childcare a week, as do 40% of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds. On top of that, there will be an additional 15 hours of free childcare available for working parents of three or four-year-olds. Overall, we anticipate that this provision will be worth about £5,000 per child per year. In line with that, we believe it is fair to ask parents claiming universal credit to look for work when their youngest child turns three, and to prepare for work when the youngest child turns two, and the Bill makes provision for that as well.