Changes on two child Universal Credit policy welcomed

Heidi Allen MP welcomed the latest announcement on Universal Credit by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Heidi appeared on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire show today to discuss the announcement and you can watch the discussion above.

In a speech today, Amber Rudd has confirmed that about 15,000 families will no longer have their benefits capped. The Work and Pensions Secretary announced that she would withdraw the benefits cap on families of more than two children.

Amber Rudd said those with children born before the system began in 2017 would remain exempt, to ensure it was “compassionate and fair” and able to best help people get into work

Amber Rudd reiterated the principles behind Universal Credit were to provide:

  • a social security system that provides a safety net, but doesn’t trap people in welfare
  • certainty that every extra hour of work pays more than staying on benefits, with these being withdrawn at a consistent taper rate
  • help to enter work – through increased, tailored support provided by work coaches at jobcentres
  • accuracy of benefits payments, with those made to in-work claimants responding in real-time, each month, to income earned. A digital system – where claimants can access information about their payments online, at their convenience.

When announcing the measures, Amber Rudd said: “I believe it was right to limit the number of children for whom support can be provided through Universal Credit – funded by the taxpayer. However, I believe it is unfair to apply that limit retrospectively. As it stands, from February the two-child limit will be applied to families applying for UC who had their children before the cap was even announced. That is not right. So I can today announce that I am going to scrap the extension of the two-child limit on Universal Credit for children born before April 2017. All children born before that date will continue to be supported by Universal Credit.”

Commenting on this news, Heidi said: “This is very welcome news from Amber Rudd. In my role as a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, I have been calling for these changes to ensure that the Universal Credit system is fairer and meets the needs of people who receive it.”

Heidi also welcomed the announcement that Universal Credit payments will go directly to a household’s main carer.

In addition, Amber Rudd announced that she had asked the Department to build an online system for private landlords, so they can request (where necessary) for their tenant’s rent to be paid directly to them. This is designed to address concerns raised by people on Universal Credit who are private tenants who would rather have their rent paid directly to the landlord. This will make it easier for tenants in the private sector to find and keep a home and give landlords greater certainty that their rent will be paid.