Holding answer received on 26 February 2019
Internal figures are provided in the table below from two DWP datasets.
The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their gas, electricity and water cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services.
The increase in Universal Credit caseload and activity to increase awareness of advances has had an effect on deductions. Increased awareness has resulted in around 60% of eligible new claims to Universal Credit receiving an advance in October 2018, providing further financial support until their first payment.
Total amount deducted from Universal Credit payments between April 2017 and October 2018
Amount deducted [rounded to the nearest million]
Amount of Universal Credit paid [rounded to the nearest million]
Amount deducted as a percentage of Universal Credit paid
Data sources: Universal Credit Live Service Reference Datasets and Full Service PDM data, UC Analysis Division
1. Figures are provided for the total of UC Live Service and Full Service. The data is sourced from two different computer systems and the information available is slightly different on each system.
- Full Service deductions include advance repayments and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are deductions of benefit rather than deductions.
- Live Service deductions do not include sanctions which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions, but may include Fraud Penalties as these could not be removed from the Live Service data.
- The Full and Live Service datasets use slightly different definitions for the month. Full Service data uses the month the UC payment is due, whereas Live Service data uses the month the assessment period related to the payment ends. The 'Total' column sums the figures using these different definitions.
2. Increase in the total deduction amounts by month reflects the effect of Universal Credit (UC) roll out as more people move onto UC.
3. Amount of Universal Credit paid reflects the amount of money paid to claimants and their landlords as part of their award. It does not include other payments such as advances and hardship payments.
4. Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.