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Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:07 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:07 pm, 17th October 2018

I am glad that there was some calm and hush for that question, so that I could hear it and give the response that it deserves. My hon. Friend is right: around 1 million disabled households will receive on average around £110 more per month through universal credit. If we were to follow the advice of the Labour party, those 1 million disabled households would be £110 worse off per month. That is what the Opposition are asking for.

Universal credit pays for 85% of childcare costs, compared with 70% under the legacy benefits. Because it is a simpler benefit, as I hear from Government Back Benchers, 700,000 households will get entitlements that they were not claiming under legacy benefits, worth an average of £285 per month.

We have taken a mature approach to rolling out universal credit. We have said that we will test, learn, adapt and change as we go forward. That has resulted in a series of improvements, and I will read some of those out. We are providing extra universal support with Citizens Advice, an independent and trusted partner. We have brought in the landlord portal. We have brought in alternative payment arrangements, 100% advances and housing running costs. We have removed waiting days and are providing extra support for kinship carers and those receiving the severe disability premium.