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15 September, 2021 Open access

Commons votes in favour of Opposition Day Debate motion calling on government to cancel planned £20 per week reduction to universal credit and working tax credit

With the government choosing to abstain, House votes in favour of non-binding motion by 253 votes to zero

The House of Commons has today voted in favour of an Opposition Day Debate motion calling on the government to cancel the planned £20 per week reduction to universal credit and working tax credit.

Introducing the debate - that was scheduled to take place last week but was cancelled to allow MPs to vote on the government's plan for a new health and social care levy - Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said - 

'If we took a moment to assess this matter properly and considered not just the impact on the six million affected families, but also what is in the best interests of the economy as we recover from the pandemic ... we would decide that it would be unconscionable to take this money away.'

However, closing the debate, Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said that the 'uplift' was a 'pandemic response' and that - 

'Universal credit provides a safety net but it's not designed to trap people on welfare. Fundamentally, we recognise that work is the best route to prosperity and it's therefore right that the government should now shift its focus to supporting people back into work and to progress in work, and we have a comprehensive Plan for Jobs to help us achieve that objective.'

NB - in its recent report DWP Employment Support, the Public Accounts Committee found that the DWP had failed to adapt or change its plans in relation to employment support in relation to the changing context of the pandemic.

Following the debate, and with the government choosing to abstain, the House voted in favour of the motion by 253 votes to zero.

NB - votes on Opposition Day Debate motions are non-binding.

For more information, a transcript of the debate is available from Hansard.

Update (16 September 2021) - following a corresponding debate also held yesterday, members of the Senedd voted in favour of a motion to oppose the UK Government's proposal to scrap the £20 uplift by 40 votes to 14.