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I am afraid that for constituents like mine, about whom I was speaking earlier, work is not a route out of poverty. For them, trying a temporary job and moving into work is a fast route on to universal credit and into absolute poverty.
In spite of all the promises made to the House when cuts to universal credit were forced through after the 2015 Budget, not everyone will be protected as they move from legacy benefits to universal credit. Not even half the people who transfer from legacy benefits to universal credit will be protected from the average £2,100-worth of cuts. Managed migration has been delayed and reduced, and the criteria for transferring people from legacy benefits to universal credit have been widened so much that 4 million people will move on to universal credit naturally, with no protection whatsoever. Fewer than 3 million people will move over under managed migration. That is contrary to the promises that were made to the House when those cuts were brought in.
Some absolute anomalies in universal credit will seriously increase the amount of child poverty, which is why at the very least the Government have a duty to measure the impact of the provisions in their Budget. Some 3.2 million children are due to be affected by the two-child limit, and 1.4 million of those children live in families with four children or more, who will lose an average of £7,000 a year. That is a huge amount of money, which no family with children can afford to lose, much less the poorest and those households bringing up children on such low incomes. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, £3.2 billion will be taken off people with disabilities by 2023.
What about the self-employed? The Government claim to support entrepreneurship, but their entrepreneurs’ relief enables 6,000 people making profits of more than £1 million on the sale of their business to benefit by an average of almost half a million pounds each. That costs this country and its economy £2.7 billion. People starting out in self-employment, on low earnings, such as my constituent Billy, are among the 430,000 who will lose an average of £3,000 a year, mostly because of the minimum income floor.