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Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:28 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson Conservative, Mid Dorset and North Poole 3:28 pm, 17th October 2018

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention. I am sorry that he received the welcome that he did from Opposition Members because it is a powerful point. Seeing young people’s prospects turned around is one of the greatest privileges of being the chairman of the all-party group. Those prospects will be put at risk if we wind back the clock and return to the legacy system—a system that disincentivised young people and, in fact, people of all ages from getting back into work. There was a marginal equivalent tax rate in excess of 90% and the 16-hour rule effectively disincentivised people of all ages, including young people, from getting back into work.

My hon. Friend Johnny Mercer made a powerful point about the compassion of Members on the Conservative Benches. Anna Turley said that this policy was cruel. There is nothing cruel about encouraging those who can work to get into work, just as there is nothing compassionate about trapping people in benefits. This is a progressive policy. It should be welcomed on both sides of the Chamber.

Earlier, my hon. Friend Alex Chalk said that he had gone to Jobcentre Plus and seen the difference that the policy was making for his constituents. My hon. Friend Steve Double made exactly the same point. When we go into our jobcentres, we see the opportunity and positivity from the work coaches, who see that they can now do the job that they wanted to do when they went into it. This policy should be supported.

We have heard from the Employment Minister—I want him to confirm this in his response—that this policy helps people to get into work faster than under the legacy system. It means that, when they are in work, they stay in work longer, they have the potential to earn more and their progression is greater. I would welcome the Minister repeating that in his closing remarks. I invite Members on both sides of the House to support universal credit and to oppose the motion.