DWP starts new Universal Credit work crackdown

Parents with young children face tough new rules to get them back to work

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed a tough new work crackdown on Universal Credit has begun. The new employment push is targeting 700,000 parents to look for a job or increase their hours.

The first stage, which was confirmed on August 11 in a DWP newsletter, will see parents told at their next job Centre appointment that they must come in to meet with a work coach far more frequently. Those with a one-year-old will have to attend a work-focused meeting every three months instead of every six months, so they can prepare to go back to work. Parents with a two-year-old will have to meet their work coach every month instead of every three months.

A second phase coming in this autumn will mean parents of children aged three to twelve must increase their work search and preparation activity and be available for work up to 30 hours. The two changes will affect 700,000 parents or carers who have the main responsibility for looking after their children.

More than 5.8 million people in the UK claim Universal Credit but only 2.2 million of those are working.

To help with the jobs push, extra cash can now be claimed back from the DWP to cover childcare costs. The maximum for one child has now gone up from £646.35 to £950.92, and the maximum for two or more children has increased from £1108.04 to £1630.15. The DWP says the extra help is worth £6,500 a year for an average working family who require 30 hours of childcare a week.

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