Clause 11 - Neither the person nor his or her partner may be claiming universal credit.

Childcare Payments Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 21 October 2014.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education) 2:30, 21 October 2014

I beg to move amendment 6, in clause 11, page 7, line 1, after “may—”, insert—

“(a) repeal this section, or”

This amendment would allow the Government to bring forward regulations to allow the possibility for top-up payments to be further aligned with Universal Credit.

Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 5, in clause 11, page 7, line 6, at end insert—

“(7) This section shall not come into force except as specified in paragraph (a) below.

(a) The Chancellor of the Exchequer shall bring the section into force by order within six months of the passing of this Act.

(b) a statutory instrument containing an order under paragraph (a) shall be accompanied by a report which details—

(i) the impact of delays to the rollout of Universal Credit on low-income families with children expecting to receive top-up payments, including a timetable for the rollout of this support;

(ii) the impact of this section on the take-up of Government childcare support schemes;

(iii) the impact of the eligibility criteria under this section on the complexity of interactions between Government childcare support schemes; and

(iv) what guidance will be provided to parents to raise awareness, understanding, and simplify those interactions.”

Amendment 7, in clause 69, page 44, line 27, at end insert—

“() regulations repealing section 11.”

This amendment is consequential on amendment 6.

Amendment 15, in clause 74, page 46, line 17, at end insert—

‘(1A) Sections 11, 12 and 16 come into force as set out in those sections.’

This amendment is consequential on amendments 5, 8 and 12.

Clause stand part.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Main. I would like to discuss these amendments together as, obviously, they have been grouped. The amendments allow us to explore the interaction of universal credit and tax credits with the tax-free child care scheme that is proposed. Given the complexity of the issue and the number of representations that we heard last week and over the past few months, I apologise in advance for the length of some of my comments. However, it is very important that we have this discussion about the relationship with universal credit and tax credits and about the purpose of the Bill, because at the heart of the Bill is a desire to help make work pay and to support parents looking to go back to work or to increase the hours they work. Parents need to know under which system they will be better off, and under which system they will get the most support to return to work. They also need to know whether returning to work or increasing their hours under either or both systems will actually result in their being better off in the first place.

This is not a static situation for most families, because it is not only about their earnings or their income. It is also to do with the number of children people have, because that can influence how much support they receive under both schemes. It can also relate to the other benefits that they receive, and under the Bill it will also relate to their actual expenditure on child care. All of these variables come into play, and this can be a very complex space for parents. I want to expand on some of these issues in my comments.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

Welcome to this afternoon’s sitting, Mrs Main.

I am most grateful to the hon. Member for Manchester Central. She is making a very important point, on which she will now expand, about the interplay between universal credit and these provisions. This does need looking at constantly, especially as universal credit evolves.

I have one real problem with what the hon. Lady has proposed here, and that is amendment 6. That gives the power to repeal primary legislation by means of secondary legislation. I do not think that that is right in principle, because this is a very complex matter. If we have to revisit it we should do so in primary legislation, because that will have knock-on effects on the very complex structure which is universal credit.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. As I shall explain, the purpose of amendment 6 is actually to leave the door open for a smoother interaction between these two systems. I will explain later why that is. Rather than us all needing to come back here at some later stage to amend this legislation, it leaves the door open for that possibility later on. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will bear with me, and we can debate that as I move forward with my comments.

By way of background, as we heard from many people last week, our child care system is already fiendishly complicated for parents. It built up over time, and the last Labour Government, too, bear our responsibility for that. There are now numerous options for accessing support for child care. Citizens Advice got to the nub of the matter in its evidence, particularly about the impact of those different systems on a parent’s ability to figure out whether they are better off in work. It stated:

“Life is very complicated and there is a plethora of child care support out there, and it is very complex. The smoother you can make that journey between schemes, the easier it will be for people to move on in work”.––[Official Report, Childcare Payments Public Bill Committee, 14 October 2014; c. 59, Q121.]

For the purposes of everybody in the Committee, I will set out some of the support that we have. There is 15 hours’ free early education for the 40% most disadvantaged two-year-olds; 15 hours’ free early education for all three and four-year-olds; tax credit help if families work more than 24 hours or a lone parent works more than 16 hours; employer-supported child care vouchers; and now the tax-free scheme set out in the Bill. Interaction between all those entitlements and demand-side funding schemes will make the situation even more complex for parents to understand.

A critical point is how the new tax-free scheme will interact with tax credits and, eventually, universal credit. For people in the middle, who may go in and out of these schemes, it could be especially mind-boggling. That is why we wanted to discuss these and work out how we can best address some of the issues involved.

The point was underlined in the evidence from Working Families, which runs a helpline for working parents. Sarah Jackson said:

“The difficulty about moving between the two systems is that it is enormously complicated. It is not really as simple as saying, ‘Would you be better off on universal credit or would you be better off using tax-free child care?’ What parents really want to think about is the number of hours that they want to work to be with their children.

The kind of calls that we get are from people saying, ‘I would quite like to change my working hours’— but those people do not know what to do. She went on:

“I spoke to the advisors who said that today they had a call from someone whose family income is £40,000. She is not currently claiming any help from tax credits at all and her weekly child care costs are such that she probably could.”

She continued:

“It is an issue now between tax credits and vouchers, but it is going to be more complicated between the new system and universal credit…My benefits advisers are saying it is probably a 40 minute conversation to really unpick it for people”.––[Official Report, Childcare Payments Public Bill Committee, 14 October 2014; c. 41-42, Q87.]

That is how complicated the system is for those who want to come in and out of it and want to work out whether they will be better off.

Critical to that discussion, for the people on middle incomes that we are talking about, is how we can ensure that we are making work pay. That is how we can get the most benefit in the maternal employment rates that my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North was discussing earlier. We heard in evidence that the real impact on those rates comes from those whose family income is less than £60,000 a year. Many of those people are in the interface between universal credit and tax-free child care.

Last week, we had a lengthy exchange about the generosity of the various schemes. In particular, there were questions from the hon. Member for Dover, who is otherwise engaged right now. [Interruption.] No, I am sure he is listening intently to my comments. We discussed the fact that under tax credits, families can now have up to 70% of their child care costs supported, and that the Government propose, alongside the tax-free scheme, to increase that to 85% under universal credit. I welcome that. However, it might benefit of everyone on the Committee to understand that to receive that full 85% subsidy, a family will normally need income of less than £10,000 a year. A family whose household income is up to about £41,000 a year could receive a proportion of that help, and then the proportion will taper off from £10,000 right through to the £41,000-ish mark. A family with a household income of about £41,000 a year, and therefore at the top of that threshold, might get only a few per cent. That is why the interaction is so important. For the vast majority of middle-income families with a household income of between £25,000 and £45,000 a year, it can be complicated to work out whether they would be better off with universal credit, tax credits or the 20% flat-rate subsidy under tax-free child care. It is important that we set out that context.

As Alison Garnham pointed out in oral evidence last week:

“In fact, for most people on tax credits currently who claim the child care element, their average payment to help with child care costs is £55 a week, so people tend to self-manage and claim relatively small amounts.”––[Official Report, Childcare Payments Public Bill Committee, 14 October 2014; c. 66, Q134.]

I looked at analysis of the distribution of tax credits, and the child care component in particular, and found that less than 6% of families claim more than £150 a week, which is at the top end of what is possible.

When we have debates such as this, it is important to point out that it is not the case that someone who was getting universal credit would get 85% support on one day and then, if they tipped over the scale, get 20% support under tax-free child care the next day. The vast majority of families will get a decreasing percentage of support depending on not just their income but how many children they have, the amount they pay for child care and so on. From all the evidence we heard, we know that it is families in the middle income bracket for whom the decisions on the number of hours they work, and whether they go back to work, absolutely depend on child care costs. Those in the higher percentiles of  the income distribution and those in the lowest percentiles, with incomes of less than £10,000 a year, would receive the majority of their child care costs back.

I am sorry for sticking for a while on that point of context, but, given last week’s debate, it is important to see this measure in context. At its heart, it is about how we can ensure that we increase maternal employment rates and get people back to work.

I turn to the amendments and what they are intended to do. Amendment 5 asks the Government to examine the complexities that will be created between this scheme and universal credit. It asks them to consider how confusing it will be, how they will make things as simple as possible for all parents, and what tools they will provide to allow parents to understand under which scheme they will be better off. It also allows us to discuss how detrimental the delays to universal credit will be to parents who will benefit under that scheme but will have to wait for years for that benefit.

The Minister reassured us about better off calculators, and we heard evidence from many of the relevant organisations on how we can communicate about them. She, like me, will get a large case load from people who are unsure about whether they would be better off in or out of work, or increasing or decreasing their hours.

Universal credit so far is not fit for purpose. It is behind schedule, and we still have no idea how some of the passported benefits, such as free school meals and free prescriptions, will be integrated into it. Although the new child care support in universal credit, which will increase from 70% to 85% of costs, is to be welcomed, many families will not get that until two years after the tax-free scheme comes into play. If universal credit experiences further delays, it could be longer than that.

There are a number of differences between how the universal credit and tax-free child care systems work. I will say more about that later on, but, in particular, under universal credit people will be able to claim only for the child care costs of two children, whereas under the tax-free scheme they will be able to claim for an infinite number of children. That is an important point.

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury) 2:45, 21 October 2014

I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that we are not talking about a small number of people. Estimates are that 4.4 million families with children on universal credit could be waiting for the support until 2017 or beyond, which is three times as many as will benefit from the top-up payment. The issues that she is setting out are clearly vital for the Government to focus on.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

Absolutely; they are critical.

Amendment 6 would allow the Government to introduce regulations to allow for the possibility of top-up payments to be aligned more with universal credit. The amendment will allow us to discuss further some of the issues raised by the Children’s Society and Citizens Advice, among others, about the differing designs of the two schemes, how they will work in practice for parents and why some of the better designed aspects of tax-free child care could be extended to those on universal credit or those moving between the schemes.

During the evidence sessions, there was some interest on both sides of the Committee in the possibility that in future the Government might want to combine top-up  payments with universal credit, so that universal credit claimants receive a lower subsidy from universal credit, but are entitled to top-up payments through the tax-free scheme. In total, it would equate to the same level of support, but with the two schemes better aligned. That is what the hon. Member for Somerset and Frome was asking about.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

I must school the Committee on the name of my constituency: Somerton and Frome. No one ever gets both components right at the same time.

My problem with the hon. Lady’s proposal is that if that were to be the case—if there were a need to align the two schemes better—we would need to have primary legislation in order to change universal credit. We could not have universal credit carrying on as it does and the measure we are discussing simply being repealed. I have difficulty with secondary legislation being used to repeal primary legislation, in particular when primary legislation would be needed in any case for the changes to universal credit. Both things could be done in the same primary legislative vehicle; a Minister does not need to be given the capacity to have secondary legislation to repeal primary legislation, which I think is wrong in principle.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

I have been to Frome, so I know how to say it.

I appreciate the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. It gets to the nub of some of the issues. It is hard to see the schemes in complete isolation. I am proposing a possible way to align the schemes more in the middle. As he rightly indicates, any change to universal credit means consideration. I am arguing that, by bringing in a scheme above and beyond universal credit, but applying to many people who are included under universal credit, those people might find themselves in tax-free child care. That might change quickly, however, and they might suddenly get the free entitlement, in the following term or whatever, so the child care costs decrease.

The situation is fluid for families, which is why we have tabled the amendment, to probe some of the issues. As the legislation stands, it does not allow for alignment of the schemes. If Ministers or other Government Members wish to make other suggestions that would achieve that better, we are more than happy to consider them.

The amendment is not about hindering the roll-out of tax-free child care, which proceeds as designed, but would allow for provision of tax-free child care or for child care accounts for households in receipt of universal credit or tax credits, if that were deemed desirable by the Government after further consideration and investigation. It would take out the strict criterion in the Bill that excludes universal credit recipients from holding child care accounts.

To reiterate, the interaction of tax-free child care and universal credit is complicated and the complexity is likely to lead to confusion and poor financial and workplace decisions. As we heard from the Child Poverty  Action Group, families tend to err on the side of caution, so if they feel there is a possibility that they will be worse off, they will make decisions to not go back to work. The Bill does not allow for any consideration of that interaction and those issues and the amendment is designed to allow us to consider them in the future.

Some of the issues around the complexity between universal credit and tax-free child care are that, for example, the amount payable under tax-free child care is not means-tested, yet universal credit is. As I said earlier, universal credit is limited to two children, yet tax-free child care is for—what phrase did I use? [Hon. Members: “Infinite.”] An infinite number of children—something I wouldn’t recommend. As the mother of three children, I think that is probably enough for most, but each to their own.

Which system is right for people will depend on lots of different factors and is difficult, if not impossible, to work out, notwithstanding whatever measures the Government are putting in place to help with this better-off calculator. A better-off-calculator can help a person with the static information on that day, but as I said earlier, it cannot consider that a few months later one of their children will qualify for the free hours. That, again, would change their circumstances, as would one of their children going to school a few months after that and so on. Even without income changes, the changes in a child’s age can change whether a person is better off in one scheme or the other.

A number of concerns were also raised about the help with child care costs through universal credit compared with tax-free child care. I would like further consideration of some of the benefits of the tax-free child care scheme to be extended to those on universal credit, for example to address the payment in arrears problem that was discussed at great length in the evidence sessions last week. For households in receipt of tax-free payments into their child care account, it is an advanced top-up of what the parent pays in, whereas universal credit payments for child care costs are paid in arrears. Parents are usually required to pay child care providers one month in advance so many claimants are likely to have to borrow that money. Further payments and further loans are then necessary in the following months.

Child care costs are often higher in school holidays than they are at other times of the year and that can be difficult for families to manage. A family might be better off claiming tax-free child care in the school holidays, but be better off under universal credit for the rest of the year. I was grateful for the clarification in oral evidence last week that families will be able to switch more than twice if their circumstances change and they will not be penalised, which was not clear previously. I should be grateful for further clarification about what those changes in circumstances would be. Would a school holiday, for example, be one such change?

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury)

My hon. Friend is setting out as clearly as one can a complicated system that will become increasingly so. I appreciate that amendment 6, which she is discussing, relates specifically to universal credit, but many of the arguments could equally apply to the deliberations that families will have to undertake about whether to come out of the voucher scheme, if they are currently in it. They might be better off under  the new top-up scheme in the summer holidays and want ultimately to revert back to the voucher scheme, but will not be able to.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

Absolutely. My hon. Friend gives another example of the complex array of support out there for families, which can be tricky. The reason this is so important for middle-income families on £25,000 to £45,000 is that this is where child care costs are most relevant to decisions on the number of hours worked or going back to work at all. This is where we can therefore have the biggest impact on maternal employment rates.

Payment in arrears can be the single biggest factor for a parent in deciding whether to go back to work, since otherwise they have to find the money up front for child care. They would eventually get that money back, although they might not get it back in terms of the loan repayment for another three years, until they leave the nursery and get their deposit back. That concern was backed up by the evidence from the Children’s Society, which said:

“We are really worried about the message that that sends to the lowest income households—that the first thing you need to do when moving into work and taking on child care is to get into debt. We do not think that is going to help, either in terms of supporting the children in those households to get the best outcomes or in terms of increasing parental employment.”––[Official Report, Childcare Payments Public Bill Committee, 14 October 2014; c. 62-3, Q127.]

We heard in the evidence sessions that one solution—it might not be the best solution but it is the only one that anyone has offered at this stage—is to allow those on universal credit or in receipt of tax credits to pay money into a child care account, without getting any more support than they would otherwise be entitled to. That might help the parity of treatment, in terms of how resources are given back to families in receipt of tax-free child care and those on universal credit. As we heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North, another possibility is looking at the distribution of this support and lowering the cap while increasing the amount that can be claimed. Decisions about going back to work might then be a lot clearer for some middle-income families.

Finally, I remind the Committee why this debate is so important. It is worth remembering the words of Ellen Broomé from the Family and Childcare Trust, who said:

“The reason why it is so important to get this interaction between universal credit or tax credits and the new system right is that it determines people’s working patterns. We want to see encouragement of people, enabling them to go back to work, stay in work or take on more work if that would help their families. Some of the interactions that we are talking about, and some of the functionality of the scheme in itself, would hinder that. It would not enable parents to have the clarity of what kind of support would be available and, therefore, what type of work they would be able to do. That is why it is important to get this addressed.”––[Official Report, Childcare Payments Public Bill Committee, 14 October 2014; c. 58, Q118.]

Will the Minister discuss with colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education how those interactions will work and enable the Committee to better understand them? Does  she think that child care accounts could be an important budgeting tool for households in receipt of universal credit or tax credits? We have been talking about the establishment of those accounts, rather than any additional funds to families, but does she know how much it would cost to enable that? With child care payments in universal credit paid in arrears, how can we ensure that parents are able to pay their child care costs when they first move back into work? Does she agree that this enabling provision to extend the scope of tax-free child care and child care accounts without further primary legislation would be a sensible step to ensure that the scheme can develop over time?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Exchequer Secretary 3:00, 21 October 2014

Clause 11 sets out the sixth condition of eligibility, which is that the person and their partner, if they have one, cannot be claiming universal credit. The clause provides that when a person makes a declaration of eligibility under the scheme, they must not be due any award and must not have made a claim to receive universal credit that would be payable during the entitlement period. In effect, the clause prevents anyone from receiving support under this scheme and universal credit at the same time.

The Government are committed to fairness and supporting those who want to work hard but who are struggling with the costs of child care. We are already spending more than £1 billion a year on child care support through the tax credits system, and we will extend that spending under universal credit. We are investing an additional £400 million in child care so that, from 2016, working families on universal credit can claim 85% of their child care costs. We are also investing a further £200 million so that parents can access child care support, regardless of the number of hours worked.

A parent with two children who spends £10,000 a year on each child’s care may receive a maximum of £4,000 under tax-free child care, whereas under universal credit, a parent with two or more children could receive support for child care costs up to a maximum of £13,000 a year. The new scheme will ensure that Government support is available to working families as they move off universal credit, and it is appropriate that the scheme is not available to those who are claiming universal credit.

Amendment 5 would require the Government to report on a number of diverse topics, including the roll-out of universal credit, the complexity of interactions between the Government child care support schemes, and the guidance that will be provided to parents to raise awareness and understanding of those interactions and the scheme itself.

The introduction of universal credit is a once-in-a-generation reform, and we are working carefully and responsibly to get it right. It has been more than a year since universal credit was first rolled out, and strong progress has been made on this groundbreaking reform. Universal credit is now available to single and couple claimants in more than 50 jobcentres in England, Wales and Scotland, and it will be available in nearly 100 jobcentres by Christmas.

Universal credit is expanding to families this autumn, and to all remaining jobcentres and local authorities from early next year, which is a significant acceleration in one of the Government’s biggest welfare reforms.  That is a sign of the policy’s progress. Universal credit will continue to be implemented carefully in a safe and secure way, which remains the right approach. We should not forget that families can continue to benefit from tax credits, but we are also committed to rolling out the new scheme as quickly as possible, which means that where universal credit is introduced, working families can choose the scheme that best suits their needs.

Parents who are eligible for universal credit will be able to opt out and claim support under the new scheme if they wish. If their circumstances change, they will be able to move back into universal credit, and that will not be restricted. Such a flexible approach means that parents can receive the support that they think best suits their circumstances and needs. We will be supporting parents to make those important decisions.

In last week’s evidence sessions, and in Committee today, we discussed the tools, methodology and communications that will be available. We will be launching online support tools, including a calculator and clear guidance. As I have already announced, draft guidance has been published well ahead of the scheme’s launch, which shows our commitment. I re-emphasise the collaboration with stakeholders, parents, child care providers and other users so that we can gain their feedback and ensure that the guidance is tailored to their needs.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education)

Will the Minister further clarify the point on changes in circumstances and families flipping between the two systems? What constitutes a change in circumstance? How small could such a change be? Could it be a school holiday, a small income change, or entitlement to free hours? How prescriptive will it be?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Exchequer Secretary

If I may, I would like to finish my point about the engagement and communication plans.

We are building up our communications campaigns and plans to ensure that parents are aware of what support is available in the right and proper way. We have already touched on the evaluation scheme, which is an important part of that. It will be the appropriate time for a review. The scheme will have to bed down so that we can make the appropriate decisions and the full evaluation will allow us to reflect on how it is working.

The hon. Lady spoke about aligning the rules and definitions for tax-free child care with existing schemes. It is fair to point out that tax-free child care and universal credit are different types of scheme. They have been developed to provide support and financial assistance, but for totally different purposes. It is inevitable that there will be differences between the schemes, how they have been constructed and how payments are made. It is important that we produce the right guidance to engage parents and communicate how the scheme will work and best suit their circumstances.

I cannot define changing circumstances at this stage because we are working with parents on that. It is important that we work with parents to get things right, which is why we published the draft guidance. We need to hear their views and to know from them and particularly from other users what constitutes a change for them, and how they can feed that into the system. In terms of a change in circumstances that will be recognised for a person moving from tax-free child care to universal credit or tax credits, the scheme is being designed so  that parents can start to claim tax credits or universal credit as soon as they experience a change in their circumstances. It is going to be very personal. We cannot be prescriptive, because anything can happen to people’s personal circumstances: life events, losing a job, moving house—anything. As changes occur, we will work with parents through publishing the draft guidance to see how we can address those changes and ensure that, as they occur, parents can move on without having to wait until the end of their entitlement period. That way, no one will fall through the gaps.

The hon. Lady spoke about universal credit as a payment system. As we know, it is paid in arrears, month to month, reflecting very different personal and financial circumstances. Importantly, it helps with budgeting a monthly income, as well as enabling ease of transition for the household when it comes to starting or returning to work.

The hon. Lady also mentioned complexity in the system, as she did when we took evidence last week. Naturally, I disagree, partly because I have already seen some of the schematics and walk-through processes, and I am obviously working with officials and parents to ensure that we get it right. We come back to the importance of providing information and support to enable parents to make an informed choice about which scheme will work for them. Alongside wider guidance and information, I have mentioned that there will be an online calculator for parents so that they can work out their financial situation for themselves.

HMRC and the Government Digital Service will of course be working with stakeholders. I can give the Committee a very strong commitment that we will not be doing this in isolation. This is not about officials working away with a scheme that they think might work; there is dialogue and consultation. We must ensure that it is easy to use and meets the needs of the majority of families. We must make things user-friendly and accessible for parents and ensure that we develop the right scheme and get it right. Giving them input and having a dialogue with them is absolutely crucial.

The effect of amendments 6 and 7 would be that parents would be able to get support under the new scheme and universal credit at the same time. I do not want to cover the points that I made before, but families in receipt of universal credit will already receive good, generous support for their child care costs, as is right. Child care support is offered to parents on universal credit as part of the wider welfare system designed by the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that we make work pay for those who need support the most. Up to 300,000 more people are likely to be in work as a result of universal credit, and we expect that a significant proportion of those will be households with children, but it is not right for a parent to receive tax-free child care in addition to universal credit when support is already there. I mentioned that 85% support for their child care costs will be provided from April 2016.

I am aware from the evidence sessions that some of the Committee may think that this is complex, but I have addressed that point. We are working with stakeholders and families. It is our objective and my mission to ensure that the scheme is easy for parents to use, and I  re-emphasise that our focus remains on those on lower incomes. The introduction of the scheme gives parents confidence that as they increase their income and move off universal credit, they will continue to receive Government support towards their child care costs. That is an important provision in the Bill, and it is a commitment from the Government. I therefore ask the hon. Lady not to press the amendments, and I commend the clause to the Committee.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Education) 3:15, 21 October 2014

I thank the Minister for her contribution. I absolutely recognise her commitment to ensuring that the better off calculator and similar communications relating to the scheme are available. I hope that she can do so. Some of our wider concerns may not relate to her Department, so that is a slightly trickier point, but I want to push further on enabling the possibility that in future, somebody receiving universal credit could receive child care credit. The amendment would not enable that right now, but it would enable that option to be taken later without primary legislation having to be amended. That is important, so although I will be happy not to press amendments 5 and 7, I will not withdraw amendment 6.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The Committee divided: Ayes 7, Noes 9.

Division number 2 Decision Time — Clause 11 - Neither the person nor his or her partner may be claiming universal credit.

Aye: 7 MPs

No: 9 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

Clause 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.