Universal Credit sanctions slump to their lowest level ever

FEWER Brits are having their Universal Credit sanctioned than ever before, new figures have revealed.

More people are exempt from having their benefits slashed – either because they have health conditions or are meeting their promises to work or look for a job.

Of the 1.7million people on the new benefit, just 2.4 per cent of them have had a deduction from their sum in February, the DWP said.

That's down from 5.94 per cent at the same point the year before.

Brits are sanctioned for failing to attend appointments on time, or not doing

A third of claimants aren't subject to any sanctions at all.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma told The Sun: "Universal Credit provides tailored, financial support and encourages people to improve their employment opportunities and find work.

"It’s only fair that people who are able to work should fulfil certain commitments in order to receive benefits, and sanctions play an important part in this, but as these figures show they are only used in a minority of cases."

Amber Rudd said she would take action to slash the time Brits could be sanctioned for on Universal Credit.

She announced last month that the longest sanction will only last for six months in future – which will come into effect later this year.

However, few Brits get sanctioned for longer than this anyway.

And in last year's Budget ministers revealed they would reduce the amount Brits pay back any deductions from 40 per cent down to 30 per cent and extend the repayment period to 18 months.

But some of those changes won't come into effect until 2021, leaving thousands of Brits to struggle with their repayments in the meantime.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

Universal Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email [email protected] to share your story. 

The Sun has been campaigning to Make Universal Credit Work – by letting Brits keep more of what they earn, get childcare cost help upfront, and arguing to cut the five-week wait for cash.

We've told how Brits are drowning in debt waiting for their first payment and are struggling with getting their childcare costs paid back to them.

Ms Rudd has promised to continue to make more changes to Universal Credit to make it work better.

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