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The subject for this debate was selected by the Backbench Business Committee, following an application from Alison McGovern MP on the impact of Department’s spending on child poverty, and a separate application from Frank Field on behalf of the Work and Pensions Committee on the operation and impact of the Jobcentre Plus “Flexible Support Fund.”

DWP is the biggest spending department of government, accounting for nearly a quarter of all planned public spending in 2019-20.   The majority of DWP’s spending is on benefits and state pensions, with the total budget sought for 2019-20 amounting to £189,928 million, 3.0% above the final budget for 2018-19.

Major changes to the benefits system are currently underway as a result of a series of substantial reforms introduced by the Coalition Government, and further measures announced by governments since 2015.  These include the introduction of Universal Credit – which is replacing working-age means-tested benefits and tax credits and will eventually be received by around 7 million households – and Personal Independence Payment, which is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people of working age.

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