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Universal Credit

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 10th September 2013.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour, Manchester Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of exempting households with a 21 to 24 year old in receipt of the standard allowance of universal credit or being assessed for their capability to work from housing costs contributions under universal credit.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

It has long been a feature of the benefits system that someone living in a claimant's home should be expected to contribute towards the rent. This principle will be carried forward into universal credit, although the system will be both simpler and provide improved work incentives. We are introducing a single flat rate of housing cost contribution which will apply, irrespective of income, to non-dependants aged 21 and over.

While many non-dependants aged under the age of 21 are currently expected to make a contribution in housing benefits, under universal credit all will be exempt. For those aged 21 and over, a contribution will be expected only where the person is either in work or there is an expectation that they should be working/can return to work. A contribution will not be expected if the person is a carer, is responsible for a young child, or is in receipt of a specified disability benefit.

The cost of removing the housing cost contribution for 21 to 24-year-old non-dependants who are claiming universal credit is estimated to be around £50 million a year. This includes those claimants being assessed for their capability to work who are claiming universal credit.

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