Universal Credit Question to Finance and Equalities Minister

 

Dydd Mercher, 10 Hydref 2012
Wednesday, 10 October 2012

 

Mark Drakeford: Sut y bydd cyflwyno Credyd Cynhwysol yn effeithio ar faterion cydraddoldeb yng Nghymru.
[What impact will the introduction of Universal Credit have on equality issues in Wales]

 

Jane Hutt: The Welsh Government is concerned about the adverse impact of welfare reform on equalities in Wales, including the implementation of the universal credit, with a digital-by-default application, paid monthly in arrears to one member of a household.

 
Mark Drakeford: Minister, can you recall anything more disgraceful than the cheer that went around the Conservative party conference earlier this week at the announcement that a further £10 billion is to be robbed from the pockets of some of the neediest families in the land? Is it any wonder that ‘women and children first’ is such a well-recognised slogan of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s approach to cuts in welfare benefits? Have you had a chance to consider the most recent analysis of universal credit, which suggests that the treatment of second earners within it will have a deleterious impact on women earners in Wales?

 

Jane Hutt: Indeed. In fact, I benefited from a speech by Victoria Winckler from the Bevan Foundation recently at the Equality 2020 conference. She said that she thinks that these so-called welfare reforms are a significant threat to the progress made towards equality in the past 30 years. On that point about second earners, she also said that studies of how families manage their money suggest that women often do not have equal access to family cash, are likely to bear the brunt of shortfalls in income and that the switch to monthly payments from fortnightly payments will have a major impact. Of course, the whole scheme is designed to encourage one-earner households. That is coupled with the squeeze on women’s employment and the cuts in welfare reform that are already on the statute book. You will see the impact of those in the equality impact assessment I published on Monday.