Multimillion-pound investment to help millions find work and progress
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is to deliver changes set out in the Budget to help millions of people, including over-50s, parents, disabled people, and those with long-term health conditions, find work, acquire new skills and progress into better-paid jobs. This article highlights some of the key measures involved in the initiative.
Parents to benefit from subsidies and upfront payment of childcare costs
Parents on Universal Credit who want to move into full-time work will no longer be discouraged by high childcare costs. The Government will raise the Universal Credit childcare cost cap in the summer, enabling it to pay a larger proportion of parents’ childcare costs, rising from £646.35 to £951 for one child and from £1,108.04 to £1,630 for two children. The cap will increase in line with the CPI each year until 2027/28. Parents will also benefit from upfront payments of childcare costs, avoiding any gap in funds which would currently be claimed in arrears.
Removing barriers to employment for disabled people, starting with the removal of the Work Capability Assessment
The Health and Disability White Paper contained within the Budget contains plans that will make it easier for disabled people to enter or return to work. The Work Capability Assessment will be removed to improve confidence in the benefits system and enable people with disabilities to move into work. A new Universal Support programme will be available for eligible disabled people/people with health conditions seeking sustained work. They will be able to opt in and receive up to 12 months of provision at a cost of £4,000 per person. The programme will supply wraparound support to help people sustain employment for the longer-term. Pioneer areas are already mobilising services to provide more significant support to thousands more people.
Introducing a digital Mid-life MOT check and boosting training opportunities
A new digital Mid-life MOT check will help older workers understand the impact of their career choices on their future prospects. Mid-life workers will also receive skill training through the SWAP, Train and Progress, and Returnerships programmes, which will give them better access to training and increased skills. The Mid-life MOT check is expected to benefit up to 40,000 individuals every year.
Increased jobcentre support for people on Universal Credit
People on Universal Credit – and their partners – who are not working will receive more jobcentre support to help them find work. Around 80,000 individuals who have a partner who claims Universal Credit will receive full jobcentre support for the first time and will have their own work coach who provides tailored support to help them find work more quickly. Anyone employed for less than half of a full-time week can expect full jobcentre support, as the Administrative Earnings Threshold will rise to around 18 hours per week from 15. More young people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit can see a work coach at a Youth Hub or receive advice from Youth Employability Coaches to benefit their job prospects.