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Welfare Reform and Work Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:29 pm on 20th July 2015.

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Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden Conservative, Hertsmere 7:29 pm, 20th July 2015

No, it is not about rolling back the frontiers of the state. The points that the hon. Lady has raised are addressed by our introduction of universal credit, which gives people who are in work a progressive route out of poverty by helping them, as they earn more, not to have all their benefits removed. Moreover, by introducing a national living wage, we are ensuring that everyone who is in work and has a low income will be given a pay rise.

Faced with the current problem, a Government might be tempted simply to salami slice benefits across the board. However, this Government have set out a coherent vision of welfare, which has a number of elements. First, if we are to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax, low welfare economy, we must deal with the tax problem. The last Government, with their coalition partners, set about massively increasing the amount of money people could earn without paying tax. We are continuing that agenda, so that as people earn more they keep more

Secondly, we have grasped the problem of people who are in work but do not earn a sufficiently large wage, which is why, for the first time, we are able to increase the minimum wage significantly. Our increase is far greater than any increases that were made by the Labour party when it was in power.