Universal Credit available in more areas across the country

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Posted by APM on 6th Feb 2015

Universal Credit has been made available to families in more areas across the country, according to the Government.

As part of the continued expansion of the government’s flagship welfare reform project – designed to simplify the system and make work pay – couples with children and lone parents can now claim Universal Credit in 26 more areas.

For the first time, parents will be able to claim back 70% of childcare costs no matter how many hours they work. This is set to rise to 85% in 2016 childcare support is being increased by £350 million within Universal Credit.

This expansion of Universal Credit follows a successful roll out to individuals and couples, in the biggest welfare transformation Britain has ever seen.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: “As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, half a million working families will get help with childcare costs under Universal Credit – helping to break down one of the biggest barriers that parents face when considering whether to take a job.

“Universal Credit is already seeing real successes – with claimants moving into work faster and staying in work longer. We are accelerating the roll out of the scheme across the country so that even more people can benefit.”

Universal Credit is a simple monthly payment – abolishing six existing benefits – which ensures that claimants are better off in work. Across the country, 10,000 people claiming Universal Credit are now in work and benefiting from extra support to earn more and progress in their careers.

Six areas in the north west have been taking claims from families since November, and Universal Credit is already available for single people and couples in almost 100 areas in England, Scotland and Wales.

Is Universal Credit making a difference?
According to recent research:

  • those who are on Universal Credit report that they are working more over a 6 month period – 69% under Universal Credit, compared with 65% under Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • 65% of people find Universal Credit a better financial incentive to work
  • people find Universal Credit easier to understand and consider Universal Credit a better reward for additional work
  • households on Universal Credit do more to find work – nearly double the number of hours of job search compared to Jobseeker’s Allowance

Image: David Lally [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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