Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:27 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Gareth Johnson Gareth Johnson Conservative, Dartford 2:27 pm, 17th October 2018

Let me say at the outset that I do not claim that everything about universal credit is perfect, or that everything has gone according to plan. I think it is inevitable that such a huge reform will involve issues that will need to be dealt with. To suggest that it should be scrapped, however—as Maria Eagle has just done—is to risk losing the significant benefits that it has brought about. We should not be in the business of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but that is precisely the attitude of those who say that this whole benefits system should be scrapped.

It is worth noting why it was necessary to bring in universal credit and to consider where we have come from. Under the last Government, we had a system that was confusing, bureaucratic and unfair, and ensured that people did not receive the benefits to which they were entitled. Indeed, that was factored into the budget of the DWP, which knew that the system was so complicated that it would not have to pay out the money that it would otherwise have had to pay out. Those arrangements also led to the worst aspect of the system, which was that it prevented people from working.