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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 20637, tabled on 25 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claims that have had a deduction applied had (a) up to 20 per cent, (b) between 21 and 30 per cent, (c) between 31 and 40 per cent and (d) more than 41 per cent deducted in the latest period for which data is available.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

3 March 2020

This Government is committed to providing a strong welfare safety-net for those who need it. There is a well-established system of hardship payments, benefit advances and budgeting loans for those who need extra support.

Our deductions policy strikes a fair balance between a claimant’s need to meet their financial obligations and their ability to ensure they can meet their day-to-day needs. Since October 2019, Universal Credit deductions are a maximum of 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance down from 40% previously.

We also recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt, so last resort deductions over the 30% cap can be applied to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their fuel supply disconnected, by providing a repayment method for arrears of these essential services.

Of all eligible claims to Universal Credit Full Service due a payment in November 2019, 58% (1,307,000 claims) had a deduction.

Of this 1,307,000 claims with a deduction:

a) 44% (569,000 claims) had deductions up to and including 20% of the Standard Allowance (25% of all eligible claims).

b) 52% (681,000 claims) had deductions between 20% and 30% of the Standard Allowance (30% of all eligible claims).

For last resort deductions –

c) 4% (51,000 claims) had deductions between 30% and 40% of their Standard Allowance (2% of all eligible claims).

d) 1% (7,000 claims) had deductions above 40% of their Standard Allowance (0.3% of all eligible claims).


1. Claim numbers may not match official statistics caseloads due to small methodological differences.

2. Claim numbers are rounded up to the nearest 1,000.

3. Deductions include advance repayments and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

4. Deduction bands exclude the lower limit but include the upper limit, i.e. 'between 20% and 30% of the Standard Allowance' includes claimants having 30% of their standard allowance deducted but not those having 20% deducted.

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Interests declared
The Member has declared that they have interests which may be relevant to the subject matter of this question.