In these unprecedented times, we have seen a significant increase in the number of new claims to UC - it’s right that we look to streamline our operations, and ensure that people get the support they need. No one will get away with giving false information to avoid paying what they owe and all decisions carry rights of appeal, so either parent can dispute a decision.
Those found to be abusing the system at this difficult time will find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers – including prosecution through the courts.
The Government has been clear in its commitment to support families during this public health emergency and we have made a number changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year. People who need money urgently continue to be able to access up to a month’s Universal Credit advance upfront by applying online. In addition, Statutory Sick Pay now applies from day one, rather than the fourth day of illness. In April, in response to Covid-19 we increased Local Housing Allowance rates for housing benefit and universal credit claimants to the 30th percentile of local rents, providing additional financial support for private renters. This significant investment of almost £1 billion, ensures over 1 million households will see an increase, on average, of £600 per year
Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.