Thank you very much for your circular email about Universal Credit. If you follow my activities locally and subscribe to my newsletter you will see that this is an issue I have been very involved with as Worthing and Adur moved over to UC in July 2018 following on from Brighton last year which affected the eastern-most end of my constituency.
UC is the biggest and most fundamental reform to the welfare state since its creation. It is a modern benefit based on the sound principles that work should always pay and those who need support receive it. It is also fair to taxpayers.
In 2010, the welfare bill cost each household £8,350. This was an increase of nearly £3,000 per household since 1997. Not only was this system failing to reward work, but it was the taxpayer bearing the burden.
I firmly believe that UC is a fair benefit that protects vulnerable claimants and ensures that work always pays. As UC is a simpler, more accurate benefit based on up-to-date information, it will provide people with their full entitlement. This means that 700,000 people will receive on average an extra £285 per month which they have not received under the existing system. Around a million disabled claimants will gain on average £100 a month through UC, because their award is higher through UC than legacy benefits.
UC will help 200,000 more people into work when fully rolled out, and empower people to work an extra 113 million hours a year. You might be interested to know that people on UC spend around 50 per cent more time looking for a job than they did under Jobseeker's Allowance. Since 2010, we have seen over 3.3 million people move into work, which is on average 1,000 people each and every day. And youth unemployment has fallen by almost 50 per cent.
In the Budget 2018, the Chancellor announced a £4.5 billion package for UC, which will make a real difference to the lives of claimants across the country. An extra £1.7 billion a year will be put into work allowances, increasing the amount that hardworking families can earn by £1,000 before their award is tapered away, providing extra support for 2.4 million working families.
Rightly for a programme of this scale, the priority continues to be its safe and secure delivery. The controlled expansion of UC started in April 2013 and I am pleased that significant progress has been made to date. UC has been rolled out to every Job Centre in the country. Last Friday, I paid another visit to the benefits office in Worthing to get an update on the rollout of UC which was introduced in Worthing and Adur last July. You can read more about my visit to the benefits office in my weekly Worthing Herald (out every Thursday) which is also available on my website HERE. I have also put up a video on my Facebook page detailing my visit.
Whilst I appreciate receiving campaign emails from constituents, I would ask that if you have a personal issue with your Universal Credit claim, please do email me personally and I will look into it.
I hope this explains why I strongly support this important reform.