Welfare Reform Bill — Report (5th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 23rd January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 10:00 pm, 23rd January 2012

My Lords, under universal credit, couples will make a joint claim for benefit payment. We have been clear that claimants will receive universal credit as a single payment, which will ensure that claimants can clearly see the effect of their decisions about work on total household income. The House debated this issue extensively in Committee. We have also discussed direct monthly payments in another context when the House accepted the principle of a single payment. Couples will be able to choose which bank account the total universal credit award should go into. Once universal credit has been paid into that account, claimants will have the freedom to manage their money how they wish. They will have the opportunity to transfer some of that money into another account, or they may choose to have the universal credit paid into a joint account in the first place.

Giving people these choices to manage their money is in line with evidence that suggests that, in today's world, the majority of couples pool their resources-