Campaign Response: Universal Credit

I have been contacted by constituents about Universal Credit.

As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:

As I am sure you are aware, the £20 increase in Universal Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those likely to be facing the most financial disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the temporary increase to Universal Credit and Tax Credits, the Government invested over £352bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs and businesses – as well as introduced measures such as mortgage holidays and additional support for renters. Government has also worked with energy suppliers to protect those struggling with energy bills.

I welcome that, on top of the planned uprating, the Government extended the temporary £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance until the end of September 2021, meaning that the additional support has remained in place well beyond the end of economic restrictions.

I know my colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions remain focused on supporting people by helping them get back into work through the Government’s Plan for Jobs, including schemes such as Kickstart.

I am encouraged to hear that the £2 billion Kickstart scheme has already seen over 145,000 jobs created from a range of different sectors for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit, with thousands of young people already in Kickstart roles. This will give young people the practical experience that we know is so crucial in securing sustainable employment.

Furthermore, the £2.9 billion Restart scheme, which opened fully on 12th July 2021, will provide intensive work search support to over a million jobseekers out of work for over 12 months.