To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit in Sheffield on (a) the number of people borrowing from loan sharks and (b) the amount of money being borrowed (i) by claimants and (ii) non-claimants.
24 February 2020
The latest caseload data shows Universal Credit is supporting 2.8 million claimants, including those in Sheffield, to more easily start work and access smoother incentives, such as the work allowance and taper, to increase hours. We have scrapped the cliff edges and complicated hours’ rules of the legacy benefit system to ensure claimants have flexibility to access the opportunities offered in the labour market. It will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once full rolled out, compared to the legacy benefits it replaces.
During a claimant’s first interview, Work Coaches identify those who require immediate financial assistance and will offer access to a New Claim Advance. Around 60% of new claims take up an advance, which are repayable, interest free, over a 12-month period. From October 2021, the repayment period on advances will be further extended to 16 months.
For claimants who require additional support, Work Coaches and Case Managers can signpost individuals to specialist support for personal budgeting, money guidance and debt advice if required, including through the Money and Pensions Service.