Today, a crucial step towards reforming the welfare state will be made as the detail behind the Welfare Reform Act 2012 is published for the first time. The implementation of key reforms within the Act requires the passage of regulations which are now available for scrutiny.
At the heart of these regulations is the detail behind Universal Credit, designed to simplify the benefits system and make work pay.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
The Welfare Reform Act sets out how we will transform the welfare state and ensure that work pays for the millions of people now trapped on benefits.
These regulations are the meat on the bones of our reforms and we want to be sure we get the detail absolutely right, which is why we are engaging with the Social Security Advisory Committee who will be asking stakeholders to express their views on these significant changes.
The Universal Credit Regulations 2012 provides detail of the rules of entitlement, calculation of award, claimant responsibility, sanctions and hardships. Significant changes to the existing system include:
- More in-work support for the under-25s;
- Childcare costs being paid in UC regardless of hours worked;
- More support for carers to combine paid work with their caring role and;
- A strengthened sanction regime.
In addition to the usual scrutiny of specified draft regulations, Lord Freud has asked the SSAC to consider the principal regulations which will underpin Universal Credit and to decide which to publicly consult on.
Following the SSAC consultation, the final regulations will be laid in Parliament in autumn this year.
Notes to editors
The draft Regulations are available here: http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/consult.shtml
The Social Security Advisory Committee is the main UK advisory body on social security matters.