Alison McGovern MP for Wirral South challenged the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in Parliament yesterday by asking him if he can give assurances that not one of the 30,000 families with lone parents in Merseyside will be a penny worse off in April.

Speaking of her question to Iain Duncan Smith Ms McGovern said: “After mounting pressure the government scrapped their plans to cut tax credits in the recent spending review.

This has offered temporary relief for families on Merseyside but I still remain concerned about people who are claiming universal credit and what they might stand to lose as universal credit is set to replace tax credits next April.

She added: “Having met with my constituents before the Chancellor delivered the Spending Review I know that there are real fears about seeing reductions in their tax credits.

I am continuing to challenge the government on this and that is why I put my question to Iain Duncan Smith today as I know many people lone parents will be worried about what will happen next April.”

Ms McGovern’s question and the Secretary of State’s answer below

Alison McGovern (Wirral South) (Lab): I was surprised to hear the Secretary of State say earlier that my party never supported universal credit. If that were the case, why would we have spent the past five years harassing him about how slowly he was going with it? However, that does not stop me worrying about the fortunes of the 30,000 lone-parent families in work in Merseyside. Is the Secretary of State for real: can he confirm that not a single one of those families will be a penny worse off?

Mr Duncan Smith: Universal credit actually improves the lot of lone parents dramatically, because the first person into work gets a huge amount more than they would have done under tax credits. Here is the key: I have already said that those who are on universal credit at the moment will be supported by their advisers through the flexible support fund, to ensure that their status does not change.

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