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Written Statements

Volume 609: debated on Tuesday 3 May 2016

Written Statement

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Work and Pensions

Universal Credit

I am pleased to inform the House that universal credit is now available in every Jobcentre across the country, having reached the final three Jobcentre Plus offices—Purley, Thornton Heath and Great Yarmouth—at the end of last month. This means universal credit is available for all new claims from single jobseekers wherever they are in Great Britain.

So far, over 450,000 people have made a claim to universal credit, with over 9,500 new claims made every week. The national roll-out means people in all parts of the country can now benefit from universal credit, which puts people at the heart of the welfare system for the first time.

As universal credit has rolled out, the positive difference it has made for those who claim it is clear. For example, those who are already receiving universal credit in comparison to a similar cohort receiving previous Jobseeker’s allowance, people on Universal Credit spend 50% more time looking for work, they are 8 percentage points more likely to have found work or to be in work and when they are in work, they are more likely to be earning more.

Universal credit makes it easier to start work and earn more because it:

Offers personalised support to progress in work

Under the old system, as soon as someone moved into work, they were on their own. But with universal credit they can still get support. For the first time ever, Jobcentre Plus work coaches continue to support claimants in work, helping people increase their hours, earn more and progress in their chosen career.

Mirrors the world of work

Like most jobs, universal credit is paid in a single monthly amount direct into people’s bank accounts, giving them control over their own money and making the move into work easier.

Helps with childcare costs

Under universal credit, working families can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs each month. This can be claimed up to a month before starting a job so people can focus on getting ready for work and so their child can settle into a new routine. For families with two children this could be worth up to £13,000 a year.

Stays with people as they move into work

With universal credit, people’s claim remains open, even when they move into work. Unlike the old system, people can work as many hours as they want and take on short contracts without having to end their claim, helping to build up experience for a full time position.

Makes work pay

There are none of the cliff edges of the old system. As people’s earnings increase, their universal credit payments reduce at a steady rate, so they can be sure they will always be better off working and earning more.

With universal credit rolled out nationally, more people will now be able to take advantage of this support and the unique features of universal credit, which is making work pay and is sweeping away the complexities, traps, and confusions of the previous system. Our focus now is continuing its expansion to all claimants.