Work and Pensions Committee

Universal Credit rollout inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The original deadline for written submissions was Thursday 19 October 2017. This has now been extended as we would like to hear from you about Universal Credit in relation to self-employment.

The forum on Universal Credit and self employment has now closed.

Scope of the inquiry

New call for written submissions

The Committee would like further written evidence on Universal Credit, drawing on points raised at our evidence session on 29 November. This evidence will inform us in our rolling programme of work on UC.

We welcome submissions on one or more of the questions below, from individuals and organisations. The deadline is 9 January 2018.

Self-employment

In addition to new submissions, the Committee would welcome updates on submissions made to its earlier inquiry on Self-employment and the gig economy.

  • What effect has UC had on self-employed people?
  • How can the Department best balance protecting public funds with supporting self-employed people in UC? Does the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) achieve this balance?
  • Are any groups of self-employed people particularly likely to be affected by the MIF?
  • What are the options for reforming the MIF, and what are their cost implications?
  • Is the existing Start-up Period for newly self-employed UC claimants appropriate? If not, what changes should be made and how much would these cost?
  • To what extent will UC Surplus Earnings Rules offset the impact of the MIF?
  • How should “gainful self-employment” be defined under UC? For example, should “gig economy” workers be eligible to claim UC as self-employed?
  • What is the relationship between the MIF and National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage? Is there a risk that removing or reforming the MIF would undermine the NLW/NMW?

Free School Meals and passported benefits

  • How should eligibility for Free School Meals in UC be determined?
  • How can eligibility criteria for passported benefits balance UC work incentives with achieving value for money? Is this balance currently being achieved?
  • Are current eligibility criteria for other passported benefits (eg. help with health costs and the Healthy Start Scheme) appropriate? If not, how should they be reformed?

Work incentives

  • What would be the impact of adjusting a) the taper rate or b) UC work allowances on employment incentives in UC? Which option for reform would be most cost-effective?
  • Should UC have different taper rates and/or work allowances for different claimant groups?
  • How can the Department help UC claimants better understand the impact on their incomes of moving into work or taking on more hours?

Universal Support

  • How important is Universal Support to the success of UC?
  • Is Universal Support working well, and how could it be improved?
  • Are there local variations in the quality of Universal Support? If so, how should these be addressed?

Childcare support

  • Are UC systems for reporting childcare costs easy for claimants to use? How might they be improved?

Latest evidence

Next meeting(s)

There are currently no public meetings scheduled.

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