A number of constituents have contacted me about Universal Credit.
I confirm that prior to the recent Budget I added my name to calls for action to improve this, as one of a group of Conservative MPs who wrote to the Chancellor asking him to review arrangements for UC in his Budget.
I was therefore very pleased to note that in his Budget the Chancellor substantially improved UC provision, helping the least well-off by raising the Work Allowance by £1,000 from April 2019, helping 2.4 million households. This will help people to keep more of their income before a taper rate is applied, meaning that for £1,000 of earnings, workers on UC will keep the 63% that would have been tapered away, resulting in an increase in earnings of £630.
This totals a £1.7 billion provision to increase the amount households with children and people with disabilities can earn before their UC award begins to be withdrawn.
As we said in our letter to the Chancellor before the Budget, this will uphold and bolster the Conservative Manifesto commitment to allow low-income families to keep more of their income – increasing the Work Allowance is effectively the most targeted way of giving the poorest families the biggest tax break.
It is crucial to ensure that work always pays. People must be rewarded for doing the right thing and working, when they can, to provide for themselves and their families. The UC Work Allowances are the most targeted way of doing this. By Government choosing to invest more in these, more people in relatively low-paid work will be better supported.