Guy Opperman MP, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, explains why Universal Credit is the best solution
When the Conservatives came into Government in 2010, we inherited a welfare system which was broken and unfair and was not right for the people of Sheffield, South Yorkshire or the whole country.
It meant some people were trapped on benefits, others found the system too complicated and unwieldly and yet some families earning double the average earnings could still claim tax credits.
This Government’s solution is the introduction of Universal Credit – to fix the failing system.
At the heart of Universal Credit is the promise to provide support to those who really need it and also give backing to those who work hard to make their lives, and their families’ lives, better.
Universal Credit is simpler and better targeted then previous welfare systems. It incentivises work just like all of our welfare reforms since 2010.
A total of 3.3 million people have been helped into work in the past eight years and we have boosted incomes for people who want to work hard by increasing the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wages in that time.
Indeed, across the parliamentary constituencies which make up Sheffield, the latest available figures show 5,000 fewer people are unemployed than in 2010 while across the country, youth unemployment is down 50 per cent in the same period and stands at a record low.
This shows our welfare reforms, including Universal Credit, are working and giving people better futures.
We do understand some people who need benefits may be concerned about Universal Credit. Any change to benefits for people who really rely on them could be a source of worry.
But as a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, I want to assure the people of Sheffield that Universal Credit is the best solution for them.
It means simplifying the system for claimants to manage their income by rolling six benefits into one payment and it means work always pays.
Overall it will ensure a stronger and more productive economy in Sheffield and the whole country, empowering people to work hard so they feel they have a strong place in our society.