Skip to main content

Universal Credit

Volume 578: debated on Monday 31 March 2014

The Department has consulted widely with employers over the past 12 months to ensure that universal credit works in the best way possible for them. The Minister with responsibility for welfare reform recently met national employers, trade bodies and employer representative groups, and we know that universal credit will have a positive impact on employers through the flexibility it brings to their work force—unlike tax credits.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. He will be aware the Rugby jobcentre is among the first six offices to introduce universal credit. Will he join me in complimenting the staff there on achieving a successful roll-out in a complicated procedure? Given recent concerns about child care, will he reassure the House about the availability of child care support under universal credit for families in work?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that issue, because under universal credit we will increase the child care level to 85% of the cost. We will be investing a further £400 million a year in a steady state, and 500,000 families will gain. These are positive incentives to go back to work. Child care costs are now paid up to a maximum of £646 per month for one child and £1,108 for two or more children. In universal credit we are removing the 16-hour rule, which exists in tax credits and is a major disincentive for many lone parents and others to take jobs—that has been abolished, and some extra £200 million will help 100,000 families back into work.