Chancellor to announce a tightening of Universal Credit rules on Friday
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will announce a tightening of Universal Credit rules on Friday.
The mew measures will aim to push more workers claiming Universal Credit to increase their hours or face a cut in their benefits.
The Chancellor will announce changes to the welfare system in a mini-Budget on Friday which is intended to “boost people’s earning by putting pressure on them to work longer hours or find a new job.” Reports the FT.
Part of the plan targets Universal Credit claimants working up to 15 hours a week at the national living wage to meet a work coach regularly and take active steps to increase their earnings.
Currently, Universal Credit claimants working up to 12 hours a week at the National Living Wage risk having their benefits reduced if they do not take steps to increase their earnings and meet regularly with a work coach.
The move will bring an additional 120,000 benefit claimants into the “intensive work search regime”. Benefits can be withdrawn from those who fail to comply. The FT says.
It is reported that certain groups will remain exempt from sanctions, including people who cannot work due to long-term sickness or a disability.
Kwarteng will say that eligible claimants over 50 years old, including new claimants and the long-term unemployed, will also get extra support from work coaches.
Chancellor Mr Kwarteng said: “While unemployment is at is at its lowest rate for nearly fifty years, the high number of vacancies that still exist and inactivity in the labour market is limiting economic growth.”
He added: “These gradual changes focus on getting people back into work and maximising the hours people take on to help grow the economy and raise living standards for all.”
Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary John Ashworth responded by tweeting:
So Tory ministers think reason we have over a million vacancies is because the low paid aren’t working hard enough and need to be threatened with sanctions but bankers needs bumper bonuses….
We need a serious plan to support people to return to work & increase labour supply. https://t.co/EMv69oNpsO
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) September 21, 2022
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