DWP update: Universal Credit claimants to be hit with new changes

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Budget 2021: Sunak announces Universal Credit taper cut

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Earlier this week, the DWP confirmed there will be an extension to the rule changes around the Department’s Train and Progress (TaP) initiative. As a result of this, Universal Credit claimants will be able to attend full-time work-related job training courses for up to 12 weeks while still receiving benefit payments. This latest development comes after the Government’s recent £500million expansion to its ‘Plan for Jobs’, which is its main vehicle for rebooting the economy following the pandemic.

The Plan for Jobs was created to assist more people in reentering the workplace despite the barriers put in place due to Covid.

Before the DWP’s expansion of the TaP initiative, Universal Credit claimants were only entitled to eight weeks of job training.

According to the Department, jobseekers across the country have benefited from the scheme as the economy slowly returns to form.

Furthermore, the scheme’s expansion means people receiving Universal Credit, who are in the intensive work search group, will be able to take advantage of more sector-specific training through the DWP.

This sector-specific training includes classes on digital skills, social care and engineering, which claimants can take part in while still receiving Universal Credit.

Mims Davies MP, the Government’s Minister for Employment, outlined why the DWP scheme expansion is so crucial for the wider UK economy.

Ms Davies said: “A higher skilled, higher paid jobs market is in everyone’s interests – and this change can help us get there.

“It means job seekers across Great Britain can build their skills and progress, seizing new opportunities as we bounce back from the pandemic.”

On top of these job training opportunities for Universal Credit claimants, Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced changes to the taper rate on the benefit payments.

The Universal Credit taper rate is the amount payments that claimants lose, as they continue to work and earn more above a certain threshold.

This threshold is commonly known as the Work Allowance. Once someone earns more than this amount, their Universal Credit payments steadily reduce.

Addressing the taper rate on Twitter, Mr Sunak said: “We are cutting the Universal Credit Taper Rate not by one percent, not by two percent – but by eight percent. From 63p to 55p.

“The taper rate withdraws support gradually as people work more hours. “It is currently 63 percent, so for every extra £1 someone earns, their Universal Credit is reduced by 63p.

“Let’s call this what it is: a tax on work. And a high rate of tax at that. So, to make sure work pays, and help some of the lowest income families keep more of their hard-earned money.

“I have decided that the UC Taper Rate will be cut, not by 1p or even 2p – but by 8p. This is a tax on working people – and I’m cutting it from 63p to 55p.

“I’m also increasing the Work Allowances by £500, this is a tax cut next year of £2.2billion. Nearly two million families will keep, on average, an extra £1,000 a year.

“We’ll introduce not in April as normal but within weeks, and no later than December 1.”

Anyone concerned about how their Universal Credit payments will be affected by any of these changes should contact their local DWP office immediately.

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