Universal Credit: Low-income Families

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on low-income families in Wales.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on low-income families in Wales.

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

Universal credit is available in every jobcentre in Wales. Our welfare reforms are incentivising work and supporting working families. In the past 12 months alone, the employment rate in Wales has increased by 3.4 percentage points, the largest increase in any area of the UK.

Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak

Considering that pensioner poverty is higher in Wales than in any other country of the United Kingdom, what assessment has the Minister made of the change in the rules for mixed-age couples, who will lose up to £7,000 in pension credit?

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

It is not right that those of working age should be accessing pensioner benefits, but this Government have delivered the triple-lock pension support, which has given pensioners an extra £1,600 a year.

Photo of Marsha de Cordova Marsha de Cordova Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Disabled People)

Will the Minister set out what discussions he is having with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on making it easier for private-rented sector tenants in Wales to have the housing element of universal credit paid directly to their private landlord?

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

I can confirm that I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on this subject, about which she is incredibly passionate. We are making it easier, particularly for those on legacy benefits who already have direct payments.

Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

Has the Minister received an assurance from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that the social security freeze will not continue after 2020?

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

I can confirm that that is the default position. It was a four-year position, and this is the final year. We will continue to share the benefits of strong economic growth with the most vulnerable in society.