Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 31 January 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government how many Universal Credit claims were subject to (1) deductions (advance repayments), third party reductions and all other deductions, (2) reductions (sanctions and fraud penalties), and (3) suspension (stop in payment due to doubt over entitlement), in the 2022–23 financial year; and what was the (a) average, and (b) total, amount (i) deducted, (ii) reduced, and (iii) suspended; and what proportion does this represent.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Information on 1) deductions and 2) fraud penalties for Universal Credit are provided in the tables below.

Table 1: Number of households with a Universal Credit Claim subject to at least one deduction, broken down by deduction type; the number of households with a deduction as a proportion of all universal credit households; what the total sum of deductions was; how much on average was deducted, in the 2022-23 financial year.

2022/23

Number of distinct UC claims

Proportion of Universal Credit Claims subject to Deduction

Total Amount Deducted

Average Deduction Amount

Claims with deduction for an advance

2,400,000

38%

£690,000,000

£40

Claims with deduction for third party

950,000

15%

£227,000,000

£33

Claims with other deductions

2,200,000

34%

£684,000,000

£49

All UC claims with at least one deduction

3,500,000

55%

£1,601,000,000

£62

All UC claims

6,400,000

Table 2: Number of households with a Universal Credit Claim subject to at least fraud penalty; the number of households with a fraud penalty as a proportion of all universal credit households; what the total sum of fraud penalties was; the average fraud penalty, in the 2022-23 financial year.

Table 2

Number of distinct UC claims in the 2022-23 Financial Year

Number of households with at least one fraud penalty in the 2022-23 Financial Year

Households with at least one fraud penalty as a proportion of all UC households

Total amount of Fraud Penalties across the 22/23 financial year

Average Fraud Penalty Amount for those households with a fraud penalty

6,400,000

330

0.01%

£65,000

£200

Notes:

1. Average deduction amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1 and proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. Fraud penalty reduction amounts are rounded to nearest £10 and proportions to the nearest 0.01 percentage point.

2. Deductions include advance repayments, third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

3. "Advances" include all four UC advance types: New Claim, Benefit Transfer, Budgeting and Change of Circumstances.

4. The table includes the number of distinct Universal Credit households subject to a deduction in the period 2022-2023. Any household with deductions in more than one assessment period within the period requested will only be counted once. Where a household has multiple deductions in the same assessment period, these figures provide the total of all deductions taken.

5. The table includes the number of distinct Universal Credit households subject to a fraud penalty in the period 2022-2023. Any household with fraud penalty in more than one assessment period within the period requested will only be counted once. Where a household has multiple fraud penalties in the same assessment period, these figures provide the total of all fraud penalties taken.

6. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

7. This method for calculating the proportion is different to the usual reported figure which looks at a given month and historically has been around 45% for all UC households. See PQ UIN: 203044.

8. Households could have more than one deduction type so adding claims by deduction type may not sum to the total of all deductions.

Information on 2) reductions due to sanctions is provided below

Monthly statistics for April 2022 to March 2023, on the number of Universal Credit full service claimants with a payment that has been reduced due to a sanction, are published on Stat-Xplore, and are shown in the following table.

UC claimants in conditionality regimes where sanctions can be applied by month and sanction indicator from April 2022 to March 2023

Sanction indicator

Yes

No

Total

April 2022

106,172

5,439,955

5,546,129

May 2022

108,969

5,432,866

5,541,837

June 2022

110,438

5,450,340

5,560,774

July 2022

117,527

5,502,514

5,620,041

August 2022

114,874

5,546,078

5,660,952

September 2022

117,671

5,566,557

5,684,229

October 2022

122,293

5,608,895

5,731,191

November 2022

117,397

5,639,386

5,756,783

December 2022

119,744

5,660,360

5,780,103

January 2023

118,395

5,681,209

5,799,601

February 2023

113,352

5,722,976

5,836,324

March 2023

120,086

5,733,100

5,853,189

Source: Stat-Xplore, Department for Work and Pensions

Notes:

  1. The sanction indicator for claimants can take the following values: Yes - Claimants payment is being reduced due to a sanction; No - Claimants payment is not being reduced due to a sanction.
  2. Statistical disclosure control has been applied to this table to avoid the release of confidential data. Totals may not sum due to the disclosure control applied.
  3. Statistics for Universal Credit Sanctions relate to the second Thursday of each month.
  4. These statistics include those sanctions which subsequently go on to be overturned. Claimants whose sanction is overturned will be repaid any deduction.

The information requested for average and total amount of benefit reduced due to sanction is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Information for part 3) suspensions is not readily available and to provide these would be at disproportionate cost.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No1 person thinks not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.