Universal Credit made 'more generous' by Chancellor says expert
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Universal Credit has been altered as a result of announcements made earlier this year in the Budget. It means the taper rate – the amount a person’s Universal Credit is reduced by as they earn more – will today drop from 63 percent to 55 percent. However, that is not all when it comes to alterations of this important benefit.
Work allowances, the amount eligible people can earn before their payment is reduced, have increased by £500 per year.
The intention behind the changes is to ensure people will keep more of what they earn.
According to the Government, this represents an effective tax cut worth £2.2billion for the lowest earners.
Universal Credit has proven vital amid the ongoing pandemic, with millions turning to the benefit for aid.
It is intended to assist not only those who are out of work or unable to work, but also individuals on a low income.
The changes to the benefit taken together are set to impact almost two million families.
It is thought they will be better off by an average of £1,000 in welcome news as the cost of living continues to rise.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “We want this to be a country that rewards work, where hard-working families get to keep more of their hard-earned cash.
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“That’s why at Budget I announced changes to the Universal Credit taper rate that will see two million of the lowest paid families benefit from an effective £2billion tax cut.
“These people will get an average of £1,000 more a year – and this extra money will start appearing in their bank accounts today, just in time for Christmas.”
The Department for Work and Pensions oversees Universal Credit and states it has implemented the changes as quickly as possible.
Regulations were passed last week in order to secure the changes for the lowest earners in time for Christmas.
It is thought the changes will mean, for example, a single mother of two renting in Darlington and working full-time on the National Living wage will have an annual increase of £1,200 in her take-home pay.
A couple with two children who are renting their home where one partner works full time at the National Living wage, with the other working 16 hours a week on the same will be better off by £1,800 per year.
Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary, added: “Tens of thousands of the lowest earners will see a boost to their bank accounts today following changes to Universal Credit, meaning that people can keep more of what they earn to help with the cost of living.
“We introduced this change earlier than planned which will see up to 500,000 more households benefitting before Christmas.”
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While the boost for low-income families has been welcomed, some have critiqued the Government for the withdrawal of the £20 uplift which recently came to an end.
However, the Government asserts this was only intended to be a temporary measure with other forms of support in place.
In this sense, it has also pointed vulnerable households towards the £500million Household Support Fund.
It is intended to assist Britons with essential household cots, vital over the coming months as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.
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