The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:48 pm on 11th July 2018.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:48 pm, 11th July 2018

I will not give way just yet, but I will in a moment.

There used to be the 16-hour rule, which we all know about. That barrier was stopping people working more hours, and then they would have to go through the disruption of coming off benefit to start another benefit. People on employment and support allowance could be faced with a choice between financial support and work, although we know that thousands of them would have liked to have worked as well. Once people were in work, they were too often caught up by another set of rules and hours for tax credits. Do we not all remember and know all too well the problems with tax credits, given the hundreds of thousands of letters that we received?

Universal credit cuts through all of that by bringing the six different benefits together and replacing them with a single system whereby claimants receive tailored support to help them into work—a system whereby claimants only have to deal with one organisation and a system that ensures that it always pays to be in work. This is what we are doing. Let me relay again how many people we have now helped into work since 2010—over 3.3 million people, or 1,000 more every day, through the support we are giving. The roll-out is slow. Where we need to slow down we have done, and where we have needed to make changes we have done.