The Government are committed to all groups in society, including the most vulnerable, facing the challenges caused by covid-19. That is why we have put in place an unprecedented package of support, including the job retention scheme, the self-employed income support scheme and a package of welfare measures that the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates to be worth in excess of £9 billion.
The commitment of this Government to ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society are protected through this crisis cannot be questioned. The scale of the intervention has been remarkable, but may I encourage the Chancellor and the Treasury team, as they begin making their plans for next year’s spending, to bear in mind the importance of the increase in universal credit that we made at the beginning of the pandemic, and to ensure that we keep it in place, because many more families will be relying on it in the months ahead?
My right hon. Friend is a passionate champion of this issue. He will have seen from the answer given earlier by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor that the distribution analysis at the time of the summer update illustrated that the measures taken by the Chancellor had protected the poorest households the most as a proportion of income. I know that he will have listened closely to my right hon. Friend’s representations.