Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:51 pm on 17th November 2016.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson Conservative, North Swindon 12:51 pm, 17th November 2016

I predicted that that intervention was coming, and it is an important point. The pledge was incredibly popular with stakeholders and focused officials’ minds. When I was a Minister, a lot of my work involved lobbying other Departments, so it was helpful when I was able to namecheck the then Prime Minister, as this was his personal pledge. I do not actually recall that press release, as my understanding was that we had not set the date because that was going to be determined in the Green Paper. Personally, I wanted to see significant progress year on year.

One problem with just adopting the approach in the pledge is that the number of disabled people in work could remain static yet in a recession the overall number of people in work could fall, meaning that the gap would close without any more disabled people benefiting. I wanted to set a target such as having 1 million more people in work by a certain date, which would mean that we would know that 1 million more disabled people had benefited. We were due to consult on that as part of the Green Paper process when I was in my ministerial role.