Universal Credit: Lone Parents

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 12:00 am, 19th November 2018

What assessment she has made of the effect of universal credit on lone parents.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Lone parents are the primary beneficiaries of the Government’s decision to increase the help provided for childcare from 70% to 85%, which will help us to enhance the record levels of lone parent employment in this country.

Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

The whole House will be aware that lone parent employment increased radically under the last Labour Government, but unfortunately lone parents now face being worse off because of universal credit. So can the new Secretary of State and her ministerial team guarantee that as part of their review they will make sure that no lone parent family in this country is worse off because of universal credit?

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The lone parent employment rate is now at 67.6%, which is a record high and something this Government are very proud of. We will continue to try to push to see that figure go up further. We have made announcements on increasing the national living wage, which has seen a real-terms increase of 8% over the past three years, and changes to the income tax threshold worth £1,200, while the national living wage in itself, for somebody working full-time, is worth £2,000. That is making sure that lone parents who are working are getting the support to have more money available at the end of every month.[This section has been corrected on 28 November 2018, column 2MC — read correction]