Press release

Welfare transformation comes to families in more areas

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Universal Credit will be available to families in more areas across the country, from today.

Universal Credit

From today (26 January 2015) Universal Credit will be available to families in more areas across the country, giving parents more generous support with childcare costs to help them get back into work.

As part of the continued expansion of the government’s flagship welfare reform – 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, on top of the money they get to help with the costs of bringing up a child, such as child benefit. This is rising to 85% in 2016 because we are increasing childcare support by £350 million within Universal Credit.

Parents can start claiming childcare costs at least a month before they start work, giving children the time to settle into a routine and parents more opportunity to focus on their job from day one.

Today’s 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:

This government is absolutely committed to providing more financial security for hardworking families, and that is why our welfare revolution is so vital – to make sure that work pays and to return fairness and common sense to an outdated system.

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 6 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.

Paying claimants monthly mirrors the world of work, breaking down another barrier to re-entering the labour market, and our work coaches are offering people access to budgeting support at the earliest opportunity.

Working families on Universal Credit can claim back 70% of the money they’ve paid out for childcare – up to £532 a month for 1 child and £912 for 2 or more children.

In 2016 this will be increased to 85%, so all working parents claiming Universal Credit will receive up to £646 a month for 1 child and £1,108 for 2 or more children.

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.

More information

Universal Credit will be available to families for the first time in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Wigan, Oldham, Hyde, Stalybridge, Stretford, Altrincham, Southport, Crosby, Bootle, Preston, Leyland, Prestwich, Bury, Eccles, Worsley, Huyton, Kirkby, St Helen’s, Newton-le-Willows, Hammersmith, Bath, Rugby, Shotton, Harrogate and Inverness.

Universal Credit is already making a difference, with recent research showing claimants do more to find work and know that working more pays:

  • 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

Find out about Universal Credit

Universal Credit, and why it’s different

Other areas offering Universal Credit will start taking claims from families later this year.

From February, Universal Credit will roll out to 151 more Jobcentres across the country, as part of the accelerated roll out of the welfare transformation. By spring, Universal Credit will be available in around a third of Jobcentres.

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Published 26 January 2015