Universal Credit lies at the heart of the Government's reforms to transform the welfare system, supporting those who can work and caring for those who cannot. At the heart of Universal Credit is a belief that work should always pay - benefit is withdrawn gradually as claimants start work or increase their earnings, meaning their total income always goes up. 

Under Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the previous system. When fully rolled out, it is expected to boost employment by around 250,000.

The vast majority of claimants for Universal Credit are receiving their first payment on time. However, the Government does recognise there have been practical difficulties with the system and is introducing a range of comprehensive measures:

  • removing the seven day waiting period applied at the beginning of a claim so that entitlement to Universal Credit will start on the day the claim is made, and ensuring that claimants only have to wait five weeks for their first payment.
  • increasing the amount of advances available, so that a household can receive a full month’s claim within five days. 
  • extending the length of time over which these advances can be recovered from six months to a year, making it easier for claimants to manage their finances.
  • as claimants with housing support transfer to Universal Credit, an additional two weeks of Housing Benefit will continue to be paid.
  • paying an additional two weeks’ of housing costs after the end of someone’s Housing Benefit claim when they move onto Universal Credit.
  • making it easier for claimants to continue having their housing costs paid directly to landlords in the private rented sector once they are on Universal Credit.

I can assure constituents that the Government will continue the roll out of Universal Credit in a steady and considered manner.