As of Wednesday 22 March, hundreds more people in Penicuik now have access to Universal Credit.
Secretary of State for Work Pensions, RT Hon Damian Green MP, has written to the Cuckoo explaining the next stage of the roll out of Universal Credit in Penicuik.
Universal Credit has been available in the town since April 2015, with single jobseekers being transferred to the new benefit. As of Wednesday, the government has opened it up to other claimants, including families and people with disabilities.
The new benefit replaces a number of old benefits, bringing them into a single monthly payment and updated using a modern online system. However, critics, including the Scottish Government, have called for the roll out to be halted due to delays in claimants receiving their funds.
Damian Green’s letter
Universal Credit started to be available to single jobseekers in Penicuik in April 2015 and now we are opening it up to other types of claimants, including families and people with disabilities.
Universal Credit is replacing an outdated, complicated myriad of benefits that trapped people on welfare. Universal Credit is fundamentally different. It makes work pay by the monthly payment being gradually reduced as someone works more hours, and you will no longer see your benefits stopped completely when you do some paid for work.
We have already made great progress in creating a strong economy and supporting more people into work – in Midlothian the employment rate is 77.5%. But we want everyone to be able to get on and support their families and that’s why we are reducing the Universal Credit taper rate, making it more generous, slowing the rate your benefit payment reduces when you start working so you can keep more of every pound you earn. This change comes into effect in April and around 3 million families across the country will benefit from this change and a couple with two children could benefit by £425 a year.
Universal Credit is a modern support system for people when they need it. If you are a jobseeker, you will get more personalised help from a dedicated Jobcentre work coach, through one-to-one meetings or even by text message, to move into work and when you are in work to earn more. Working mums and dads can claim back up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs, worth up to £13,000 a year for a family with two children under Universal Credit.
Over the last six years almost 3 million jobs have been created, we have a record employment rate and more women in work than ever. Our focus is to build on that so everyone can feel the benefits as we create a country that works for all, not just the privileged few, and Universal Credit lies at the heart of that by making work pay.