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Poverty in Liverpool — [Mr Gary Streeter in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:48 pm, 24th October 2018

We get reviewed as a signatory country and supporter of the UN’s work, and I will be speaking personally to the person coming.

Of the four current measures of poverty—relative, absolute, and before and after housing costs—three are lower than in 2010 and the other is the same. Those in poverty, who are the focus of this debate, are on average £400 better off in real terms than they were in 2010, while those in full-time work on the national living wage have seen a 7% real-terms increase in their income in the last two years alone. We have done that through a combination of increasing the national living wage—there are arguments about what the level should be, but I do not need to remind colleagues that the rate that we first set was higher than the one in the manifesto that Labour Members stood on in 2015—our income tax threshold, which has completely removed the lowest 3.6 million earners from paying income tax, which is worth £1,000 a year, and our extension of free childcare and other areas of support.

Let me turn to universal credit, which is very topical. One thing that surprised me was that nobody mentioned conversations with work coaches. I know that many Opposition Members have been to visit jobcentres—I have done my research and looked at their Twitter feeds. As a constituency MP—I have only recently been recalled as a Minister—I know that the work coaches on the frontline are very enthusiastic about the principle of universal credit. That does not mean that everything is right, but they are enthusiastic about it. For the first time, they can offer personalised and tailored support.