We are at record levels of employment and, once fully rolled out, universal credit will support another 200,000 people into work and help those already in work to increase hours. But we do not want people to have just any job; we want them to have good jobs where they are able to progress, and universal credit will enable this while providing an economic benefit of £8 billion a year to our economy and saving the Exchequer more than £3 billion annually.
But this is not “job done”. I know as well as anyone the importance of supporting people into work, particularly among vulnerable groups. That is why we have worked hard to create a safety net that not only supports people when they fall on hard times but gives them a hand up. That is vital. We are spending more than £55 billion this year to support disabled people and those with health conditions. That is more than any Labour Government did. Disability benefit spending will be higher in every year to 2023 than it was in 2010. Under universal credit, disabled claimants who cannot work will receive an average of £100 more each month than under the legacy system. So we are supporting those who have worked their whole lives and paid into our social security, and who now deserve to enjoy their retirement. We created the triple lock on state pensions, which has increased the amount of the basic state pension to almost £1,600 more than it was in 2010. We are further protecting the poorest pensioners through pension credit. This means that in total we spend more than £120 billion on benefits for pensioners in this country. As a result, pensioner poverty is now close to historic lows, which is where we want to keep it.