I have taken a keen interest in the roll out of Universal Credit in Wycombe. My team is working closely with local charities and housing support organisations to ensure that the roll out of Universal Credit is as successful as possible. Today, I attended The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions’ Statement on Universal Credit in Parliament. You can watch his statement here.
I want to be sure that Wycombe people will be supported promptly so I have already made a number of representations to Ministers about Universal Credit.
In yesterday’s Budget, the Government introduced a number of changes to Universal Credit which will benefit local people:
- Abolition of waiting days. From February 2018, the Government is removing the seven-day waiting period for new Universal Credit claimants, reducing the length of time claimants may wait to receive their first payment.
- Increasing advances. From January 2018, new Universal Credit claimants will be offered an advance of up to 100%. All payments of advances will be recoverable over 12 months if this is what claimants want, regardless of the level of advance claimed. From Spring 2018, it will be possible to apply for an advance online.
- Support with housing costs. Claimants who were previously receiving Housing Benefit will receive a transitional payment. The payment will be unrecoverable, automatic and received early in the first assessment period.
- Budgeting Help. The Government is exploring with Citizen’s Advice the scope for greater collaborative working to help claimants to manage their finances as they move to Universal Credit.
- Helping claimants progress in work. The Government has allocated £8m over four years to research what works to help people progress in work.
These measures by the Chancellor will assist claimants to receive swiftly the benefit to which they are entitled.
We will continue to monitor the roll out of Universal Credit in Wycombe. The roll out will become more noticeable next year and I want to ensure everyone has a smooth transition to the new system.