Universal Credit Roll-Out

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:17 pm on 24th October 2017.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 3:17 pm, 24th October 2017

Mr Speaker, you will be aware that I received much criticism for missing last week’s debate on universal credit, so I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this week’s proceedings, six days on from the last time we discussed the matter. I note that John Mc Nally is not in the Chamber on this of all days.

My constituency will see the full roll-out of universal credit in April next year, so I did follow the debate very closely. I was encouraged that Members on both sides of the House agreed that the general principles of universal credit were correct. We heard that from Conservative Members and from all the Opposition parties. I also noted the final vote last Wednesday. As my right hon. Friend Mr Harper said, that result was different from what Labour Members have described in this debate. The Leader of the Opposition tweeted earlier today that Labour had secured an emergency debate on why the Government were

“not respecting Parliament’s vote to pause &
fix Universal Credit”.

That was not the vote that Parliament held last week, yet that is what the leader of the Labour party is suggesting we are speaking about just now. That is not the case.

While there are issues with universal credit—I will come to them in a moment—we must also acknowledge the benefits. Recent data shows that compared with under the old welfare system, people on universal credit are more likely to find work, to stay in work and to earn more money in work.