Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:46 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Conservative, Forest of Dean 1:46 pm, 17th October 2018

We do not have very much time to speak. I am afraid the SNP Front Bencher took up a huge amount of time, so I am not going to take any more interventions from the SNP. He spoke for longer than the official Opposition.

We have reduced the effective tax rate for people on benefits from up to 90% to 63%. It was 65% to start off with and we were able to reduce that.

The second important point is that for many people on benefits who had hours caps, jobs had to be designed not around the needs of businesses or individuals, but around the needs of the benefit system. My experience when I was a Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions was of meeting businesses that designed jobs around the needs of their business. However, when they took on a fantastic employee who did a great job and they wanted to increase their hours and offer that person increased opportunities to earn a living, that person had to say, “I’m terribly sorry. I can’t take that promotion or those hours because it will put at risk my benefits and I will not be able to guarantee a roof over our head for my children.” That has changed and that is a radical improvement.