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Universal Credit (Liverpool)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:19 am on 11th September 2018.

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Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 11:19 am, 11th September 2018

With respect, that is what I am attempting to do and intending to come to. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton raised the issue of local authority funding. The Department for Work and Pensions provides local authorities with UC support funding and new burden funding to take account of additional costs. The local authority should provide the data, and he should be aware that £14 million has been paid out in this tax year alone.

On the managed migration, there was a “Universal Credit programme full Business Case summary” early this year, which showed that when UC is rolled out it will deliver £8 billion worth of benefits to the UK economy every year. The hon. Gentleman mentioned Citizens Advice in his speech; he will be aware that only recently, when the changes were made to universal credit, it was quoted as saying:

“These changes should make a significant difference to the millions of people who will be claiming Universal Credit by the time it’s fully implemented.”

Similarly supportive comments were set out at the time by the Trussell Trust and others.

I will ensure that the Department writes to Stephen Twigg on the specific point he raised. In relation to the lady from Everton, if he provides the detail to the Department I will ensure that a specific point is raised, and I will also ensure that the point about the constituent case mentioned by the hon. Member for Garston and Halewood is addressed.

It is important to mention that there have been significant changes and a “test and learn” approach to universal credit as it is being rolled out. Changes were made in November last year following the Budget, and the Secretary of State herself made changes in June this year. We have made a commitment that anyone we move onto universal credit without a change of circumstance will have their existing benefit entitlement safeguarded until their circumstances change. That is to accommodate the changes needed; managed migration will be completed in 2023. We have also announced that people on legacy benefits receiving severe disability premium will stay on legacy benefits until we move them, even if they have a change of circumstances, and we will look at protection for people previously in receipt of severe disability premium who have already moved onto universal credit.