From today, we are helping to put on average an extra £1000 into the pockets of lower-income families. This is a result of the changes, announced in the Autumn Budget to the Universal Credit taper rate. The Chancellor of the Exchequer set out plans to support those on the lowest incomes by cutting the Universal Credit Taper Rate by 8 pence and increasing the Work Allowance by £500.
As a result, over 2 million people will see an effective tax-cut worth £2.2 billion. I welcome the news that because of the work of my ministerial colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions, the changes are coming in a week earlier than planned. This means even more people could benefit before Christmas, by keeping more of the money they earn and ensuring hard-work always pays.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, sums up this Conservative Government’s approach, “We want this to be a country that rewards hard work by helping the lowest income families keep more of their hard-earned cash. That’s why at Budget, I announced an effective tax cut for 2 million people worth over £2 billion. These changes come into force today and will mean that with Christmas approaching, hard-working families keeping an extra £1,000 a year of what they earn.”
Claimants will be notified how much Universal Credit they will be awarded in their usual monthly statement, with the first of those to reflect the changes being issued today.
With a number of people expected to now be newly eligible for Universal Credit and those not currently claiming potentially being better off, people are being urged to check a benefit calculator on the government’s website gov.uk to see if they could increase their income.
Those receiving other benefits from the government including Working Tax Credits should note that if they apply for Universal Credit they cannot return to their previous benefits.
For those not in work, they will continue to benefit from Universal Credit standard allowance and additional extra support if they have children, have a disability or health condition which prevents them from working or need help paying their rent.
Vulnerable households across the country are also able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic.