Universal Credit "in-work progression" inquiry launched

09 December 2015

The Work and Pensions Committee opens an inquiry into the DWP's (Department for Work and Pensions) plans for "in-work progression" (also called "in-work conditionality") within Universal Credit. These measures will make benefit payments to claimants who are in work, but on low earnings, conditional on them taking certain steps to increase their pay or hours.

Call for written evidence

Written submissions are invited addressing the following points:

  • DWP’s plans for in-work progression pilots in 2015/16, and how they should be evaluated
  • Which organisations are best-placed to deliver the in-work service for DWP e.g. Jobcentre Plus/other providers from the private, public or voluntary sectors?
  • What should in-work progression support entail and how should it be delivered (e.g. regularity and nature of contact with claimants)?
  • Which groups of claimants should be included and which should be exempt?
  • How should employers be encouraged to facilitate progression?
  • In what circumstances would it be appropriate to sanction a Universal Credit claimant who is in work?
  • Is there any UK or international evidence on effective ways of encouraging in-work progression?

Send a written submission through the in-work progression in Universal Credit inquiry page.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is Monday 18 January 2016.

Chair's comment

Rt Hon Frank Field MP DL, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

"The welfare-to-work strategy of successive governments has begun to crack the dependency on out-of-work benefits that had appeared to be an almost intractable problem. Efforts now also need to be focused on a welfare-to-work strategy that not only moves claimants off out-of-work benefit, but more importantly helps them move up the pay ladder and out of poverty. Too many people on low benefit incomes have been encouraged into low-paid jobs whose rewards are only brought up to a more acceptable income level by tax credits and other in-work benefits. I hope our Committee therefore will examine the available evidence and carefully develop an approach to in-work support which is effective, and which people accept as fair."

Background of the inquiry

The DWP intends to establish an "in-work service",designed to encourage individual Universal Credit claimants on very low earnings to increase their income. Benefit payments may be stopped if claimants fail to take action as required by the DWP. The DWP is conducting a range of pilots to test different approaches but there is very little detail about these. The new regime might eventually apply to around one million people.

The Committee is considering the Department's plans and options for a fair, workable and effective approach.

Further information

Image: PA

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