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The Budget: Too little on Universal Credit and nothing on social care

22 November 2017

Disability Rights UK welcomes the removal of the Universal Credit waiting period. But it is an inadequate solution that will still leave people waiting up to 5 weeks for their first actual payment.

Every claimant should be able to receive fortnightly payments as of right, and not have to apply for a loan for money that they qualify for. 

Disabled people need more fundamental change. Additional support available with Employment and Support Allowance is not available with Universal Credit - leaving some disabled people nearly £4,500 per year worse off.

In the meantime, there’ll be deep disappointment amongst disabled people that there was no mention of social care in the budget. The crisis in services looks set to continue unabated.

Budget - key points

budget speech and documents

Benefits

  • The government will increase some Local Housing Allowance rates by increasing Targeted Affordability Funding where claimants are living in areas where private rents have been rising fastest. The increases will be by £40 million in 2018‑19 and £85 million in 2019‑20.

  • From January 2018, those who need it, and who have an underlying entitlement to Universal Credit, will be able to access up to a month’s worth of Universal Credit within five days via an interest-free advance. The government will extend the period of recovery of the advance from six months to twelve months.

  • New Universal Credit claimants in December will be able to receive an advance of 50% of their monthly entitlement at the beginning of their claim and a second advance to take it up to 100% in the new year, before their first payment date.

  • From February 2018, the government will remove the seven-day waiting period so that entitlement to Universal Credit starts on the first day of application.

  • From April 2018, those already on Housing Benefit will continue to receive their award for the first two weeks of their Universal Credit claim.

  • The government will also make it easier for claimants to have the housing element of their award paid directly to their landlord.

  • Universal Credit to be rolled out more gradually between February 2018 and April 2018, and roll-out to all jobcentres will be complete in December 2018.

Read Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke's statement to the House of Commons

State Pension and Pension Credit

The basic State Pension will be increased by the triple lock. The rise in April 2018 will be 3%, a cash increase of £3.65 per week for the full basic State Pension. The benefits of the triple lock uprating will also be passed on to the poorest pensioners through an increase to the Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit to match the cash rise in the basic State Pension. This will be paid for through an increase in the Savings Credit threshold – the Savings Credit starting point. The full new State Pension will also be increased by the triple lock, rising by £4.80 per week.

Education

Reducing student loan overpayments

The government will tackle the problem of graduates overpaying their student loans. The Student Loans Company and HMRC will update their processes by April 2019, in order to share data more frequently and stop payments after a borrower has fully repaid.

Housing

Disabled Facilities Grant

The Budget also provides £42 million of additional funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant in 2017-18, supporting people to stay in their own homes. This will increase the total budget for this year to £473 million.

NHS

The government will also provide an additional £2.8 billion of resource funding to improve NHS performance and ensure that more patients receive the care they need more quickly.

Skills

National Retraining Partnership

The government will enter into a formal skills partnership with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry, to develop the National Retraining Scheme. Together they will help set the strategic priorities for the scheme and oversee its implementation, working with new Skills Advisory Panels to ensure that local economies’ needs are reflected. As a first step, the National Retraining Partnership will oversee targeted short-term action in sectors with skills shortages, initially focussing on construction and digital skills.

Work-based training

The government will provide £8.5 million over the next two years to support Unionlearn, an organisation of the Trades Union Congress to boost learning in the workplace.

Tax

Personal tax rates - In 2018-19 the personal allowance and higher rate of tax will increase to £11,850 and £46,350 respectively.

Work

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

In accordance with Low Pay commission recommendations

From April 2018, the NLW will go up by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83.

From April 2018. the NMW youth rates will go up as follows:

  • for 21 to 24 year olds by 4.7% from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour

  • for 18 to 20 year olds by 5.4% from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour

  • for 16 to 17 year olds by 3.7% from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour

  • for apprentices by 5.7% from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour

 See also:

 

Autumn Budget 2017