Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 18th October 2021.

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Photo of Mary Foy Mary Foy Labour, City of Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the potential effect of the removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on (a) disabled people and their families and (b) people who are not living with a disability.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No such assessment has been made of the potential effect of the removal of the £20 uplift to universal credit on disabled people and their families or people who are not living with a disability.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people and we are also keen to see disabled people progress in work, with support from existing programmes such as Work and Health Programme and Intensive Employment Support Programme. Over the last 8 years the number of disabled people in employment has increased by 1.5m.

We have seen strong growth in the number and rate of disabled people in employment and Universal Credit claimants with health conditions or disabilities who, following the outcome of a work capability assessment, are determined to have limited capability for work and work related activity – meaning they are not required to look for work or to prepare for work – are awarded an additional amount of benefit, currently £343.63 per month.

We recognise that some people continue to require extra support, which is why we have introduced a £421 million Household Support Fund to help vulnerable people in England with essential household costs over the winter as the economy recovers. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving around £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

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