Report (3rd Day)

Part of Welfare Reform Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 11th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:00 pm, 11th January 2012

To be absolutely honest, unwinding the effects of the first full year, which will be in 2017, is quite hard to do in simplistic terms when compared to an SR. The simple answer is that the £4 billion is a real £4 billion, not an eroded £4 billion. The impact assessment makes it clear that it is made up of roughly half and half efficiency; it is a much more efficient system. We have taken the efficiencies that we have gained and put them back into the pockets of people, plus an extra amount of £2 billion. That is where the money is coming from. The bulk of it is going into the lowest two quintiles in a rather efficient way; I forget whether it is 80 per cent or 90 per cent, but the bulk of that money is directed very efficiently.

I turn to Amendment 45 in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Patel, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Lister and Lady Finlay. Clearly, the design of that amendment removes Clause 52 altogether. As I have just mentioned in my remarks on Amendment 45A, we have a principled approach to reform, in which we are trying to modernise and simplify the current welfare system and remove duplicate provision when our resources are limited.

As we move towards universal credit, on which I have just spent a bit of time, there are other areas of rebalancing the relationship between the state and individuals. I remind noble Lords again that the small number of youngsters who do not qualify for income-related ESA are in this position only because they have alternative resources available to them. All those in the ESA support group will continue to receive unlimited support. We will also, of course, provide support to ESA youth claimants whose awards end, and they later become vulnerable through their conditions deteriorating so they develop limited capability for work-related activity.