Inequality and Social Mobility

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

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

Not just now.

I have heard success stories from people across the country who have been supported into their dream jobs through the hard work of my colleagues in jobcentres. I sometimes think that Opposition Members underestimate the great work that the work coaches do. When I go round and talk to them, they take very personally the assistance that they can give to individual members in hon. Members’ constituencies, the way they can signpost them to the additional help they can provide and the personal support that they give them. When I asked one of them recently what aspect of universal credit they would change, they replied, “Our reputation.” So many people talk down universal credit, but the person-to-person work that is done in the jobcentres is actually very sympathetic and constructive. We continue to roll out universal credit, and it will provide additional opportunities to people who access it. That is why the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has reported that universal credit is likely to help an extra 300,000 members of working families out of poverty, the majority of whom include someone who works part time.

I recognise that my Department, working with colleagues across Government, must continue to open up new opportunities for workers as the labour market responds to automation and new forms of work, so we will face the challenges of a changing labour market head-on and continue to support everyone to thrive in work while of course providing support for those who cannot work. Indeed, under universal credit, 1 million disabled people will receive approximately £100 more per month than they did under the legacy system.