Universal Credit - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:55 pm on 5th November 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:55 pm, 5th November 2018

I am proud to say that this country provides more benefits for families than any other advanced nation. I do not recognise the estimates; it is not right to make estimates without any underlying evidence. We have come a long way since the cuts some years ago to which the noble Baroness referred. There were cuts right across the board, in all departments. For example, the cost of social security went up by 65% under Labour and was becoming totally unsustainable. We could not continue with that rise. We have therefore had to adjust and make some very difficult choices.

We are doing all we can, with the working tax allowance and increased support for childcare costs, to support children and families. An additional 80,000 working parents who are in receipt of transitional protection and who access support for childcare costs provided by UC are expected to benefit from these regulations. The support for childcare costs provided by universal credit, worth up to £1,108 per month for two or more children, is more generous than the system it replaces. However, the most important support that anyone in a family can give their children is being in work; setting a course for that family out of poverty—a hand up, not a handout—and being role models for the children. There are over 800,000 job vacancies at the moment. We want to do everything we can to support people into work, because that is the best way to lift children out of poverty.