To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims in each parliamentary constituency had deductions taken from them by her Department in the most recent month for which that data is available; what the average size of the sums so deducted was in each of those constituencies; what the total sum so deducted from those claims was in each of those constituencies; and what proportion of each of those sums so deducted was used to repay advance payments.
9 March 2021
From 3rd April 2020, deductions from Universal Credit for some government debt, such as Tax Credits, benefit overpayments and Social Fund Loans were suspended for 3 months. This was done to ease the financial pressure of debt recovery on benefit claimants and to also allow Debt Management staff to be re-deployed to focus on the unprecedented volume of new claims received during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Universal Credit advance repayments are made gradually over 12 months, and deductions are capped at 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance. This is further to the reduction of the overall maximum level of deductions from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance since October 2019.
From April 2021, the repayment period will be extended from 12 months to 24 months and the deductions cap will be reduced from 30% to 25%.
For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.
The requested information surrounding deductions to Universal Credit payments by parliamentary constituency is shown in the attached table.