Iain Duncan Smith welcomes that under universal credit more children will receive free school meals

13th March 2018
Iain Duncan Smith highlights the role of transitional protection which protects those moving from tax credits onto universal credit and rejects the absurd Opposition position which would see free school meals being taken away from those that need them and given to families on over £40,000 per year. Under universal credit, more will receive free school meals than would have been the case under Labour’s plans.

One of the biggest and most fundamental errors that the hon. Lady and her party are making is in their understanding of what transitional protection is about. I helped to design this, so let me inform her—[Interruption.] Perhaps Labour Members would like to listen as they might learn something. Transitional protection was designed to protect those moving from tax credits into universal credit so that they did not—if this would have happened to be the case—lose any money in the transition. It was not about increasing to the degree that she is talking about the numbers in receipt of free school meals. Under universal credit, more will receive free school meals than would have been the case under Labour’s plans.

The right hon. Gentleman acknowledges the fact that under the transitional protections many more in-work families would have received free school meals than will be the case under the Government’s secondary legislation. We hope that Conservative Members will help those hard-working families by ensuring that passported benefits do apply to them. We hope that they will help out those who are just about managing, which was what the Prime Minister claimed that she was going to do in the first place.

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My right hon. Friend is doing a fantastic job. She has pointed out the absurdity of the Opposition’s position, whereby they will now vote against the changes that will benefit those who most need them. Alongside that, they are now voting for a policy that would deliver free schools meals to families earning £40,000 a year. Does not she think that the Opposition are for the few, not for the many?

My right hon. Friend makes a very good point. Perhaps these are honest mistakes by the Opposition; I am not sure. Under universal credit, people can be in work and not in work. Perhaps the Opposition do not understand the complexities of this system, which is helping people into work and then to progress at work. As my right hon. Friend said, if we allowed free school meals in every family on universal credit, those families could include parents earning £40,000 a year. As has always been the case, we support people on free school meals from families who are either not in work or in low amounts of work.

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The hon. Gentleman now has to answer one very simple question. He and his whole Front Bench team have been putting it about that 1 million children will lose their right to free school meals. Will he now stand at the Dispatch Box and apologise to the House for misleading the public?

What I will say is this—[Interruption.] If Tory Members want to listen, I am more than happy to say this:


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Freedom of Movement post Brexit by Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP

March 2018


This paper sets out proposals to revise the immigration system and additionally in the annexe it makes the point that more information is required to fully understand the nature of where the costs fall and benefits exist. The information on much, if not all, of this is held by the government.
The central objective should be to ensure control over the movement of people. Using a combination of work permits and a cap we would look to control access to work and rights to settlement. Free movement for EU citizens for other purposes should be preserved.