Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:40 am on 5th July 2018.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 10:40 am, 5th July 2018

When I answered the right hon. Gentleman’s questions, I said that the National Audit Office had said that there was no practical alternative to continuing with universal credit—that was how I answered. I will pay the right hon. Gentleman a compliment. It was due to his persistence that after I left the House I went back and said, “I’ve used these words.” I know that this is about the impact, and I know that what I said was substantially correct, but I wanted to double check. So I double checked whether I had used the wrong words, and it was after that that I made the apology, because my interpretation, although it was right, was not based on the exact words. That is what I came to apologise for. However, I stand by the fact that the impact of our changes could not have been felt and, as the NAO said, there is no practical alternative but to continue through and the slowness with which this has gone is regrettable.