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Universal Credit

Volume 573: debated on Wednesday 8 January 2014

5. What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the roll-out of universal credit on people in Wales. (901767)

The roll-out of universal credit will reduce the historic dependency on benefits for the people of Wales by making the system simple and more flexible, and by increasing the incentive to work.

Is it not a fact that repeated promises to deliver the project on time and on budget have been broken yet again? Officials are warning of further delays and more wasted taxpayers’ money, and Ministers are arguing among themselves while families and children in Wales live in poverty. What way is this to run a country?

What universal credit represents for the country, including Wales—I think Opposition Members recognise this as well—is a generational opportunity to change the welfare system better to support those who need it. It is exactly right that we take the time necessary to get the systems and processes right to ensure that we get the outcomes right for people in Wales.

Department for Work and Pensions Ministers have assured me that the online application process in Welsh will be consistent with the Welsh Language Act 1993. What discussions has the Minister had with DWP colleagues to ensure that it is also consistent with the new Welsh language standards?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. I regularly meet Lord Freud, the Minister for welfare reform, to discuss the impact of the complete welfare reform agenda in Wales. The Welsh language, specifically, is an issue that I have discussed with him. We want to see high-quality Welsh language availability for the people who need it.