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  • Spring Budget - UK labour market measures for Universal Credit Claimants

    Created: 21/03/2023, Updated: 22/03/2023
    News/Events Category: General News

    The UK Government is rolling out a substantial raft of changes to Universal Credit conditions and the use of JobCentres which will affect many claimants in the future.  A list of some of these changes to Universal Credit is below: 

    • Increasing work coach support and work search requirements for many Universal Credit (UC) claimants in order to move more people into work and onto higher earnings;
    • Increasing the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET): the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET), the minimum amount a person can earn without being asked to meet regularly with their Work Coach, will be increased from the equivalent of 15 to 18 hours of earnings at the National Living Wage for an individual claimant. The couples AET, where a second member of a household may not be asked to look for work if their partner is working, will be removed entirely. These changes are expected to require over 100,000 additional claimants to meet more regularly with a Work Coach and take active steps to move into work or increase their earnings;
    • Expanding work search requirements: these changes are expected to encourage over 700,000 lead carers of children on Universal Credit to look for work or increase their hours and will receive additional Work Coach support to do so. Previously they would have had only limited requirements, or no requirements at all;
    • Strengthening the application of the Universal Credit sanctions regime: this includes additional training for Jobcentre Work Coaches to ensure they are applying sanctions effectively, including for claimants who do not look for or take up employment, and automating administrative elements of the sanctions process, including sending automated messages to claimants who fail to meet with their Work Coach, to reduce error rates and free up Work Coach time;
    • Extending the Youth Offer until 2028: this will maintain support to look for work for young people who are not in education, employment or training and therefore at greater risk of labour market scarring and expansion of eligibility for the Youth Offer to support young people on Universal Credit who are not currently searching for work, including young parents and carers;
    • Expanding the Additional Jobcentre Support Pilot: the pilot, which is taking place in Jobcentres in England and Scotland, will test how intensive support for a period of two weeks can further support claimants, who remain unemployed after 13 and 26 weeks into their Universal Credit claim or on low earnings, into work. As part of this pilot, the government will also trial a scheme that rewards Jobcentre teams for meeting stretching targets for helping claimants into work.

    More information is available at the UK Government website.

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