Inequality and Social Mobility

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 12th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Amber Rudd Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:58 pm, 12th June 2019

I gently remind the hon. Gentleman that we came in in 2010 to an economic crisis, and the fact that we have seen an increase in people’s wages over inflation in every month for the past 13 months is something that we should celebrate. The fact that we now provide 85% of assistance for people who need it for their childcare costs, compared with the 70% they received previously, should help people to access the work that they want and the support for childcare that they need.

We are also overhauling technical education, with investment of an extra £500 million a year once T-levels are fully rolled out. The UK has a long history of providing world-class university education. We have four of the 10 top universities in the world, more women than ever before are studying STEM—science, technology, engineering and maths—subjects at university, and disadvantaged 18-year-olds are now entering full-time universities at record rates.

For most people, full-time work is the best route out of poverty, so it is vital that we help welfare claimants to find jobs, to progress and to work. That is why the Government designed universal credit, which removes the legacy system’s disincentives to entering employment by ensuring that work always pays more than being on benefits.

Once fully rolled out, universal credit will cost £2.1 billion more per year than the system it replaced.