Thank you for contacting me about the Universal Credit standard allowance for those under 25.
I commend the good work Centrepoint is doing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Universal Credit was designed to simplify the benefits system with a focus on helping people into work and supporting their in-work progression. Having a simplied benefits systems has been hugely beneficial during this crisis and has allowed much of the focus to be on bolstering the exisitng system, not trying to reinvent it. Differential rates are paid according to peoples’ individual circumstances and age, although I would emphasise that the Department for Work and Pensions has increased the standard allowance in UC for all claimants. I would also add that additional amounts which provide for specific needs such as children or disability are paid at a standard rate in addition to the standard allowance, irrespective of age.
Universal Credit claimants can also get support with housing costs which can help to pay private landlords, local authorities or interest payments on a mortgage. In response to Covid-19, the Local Housing Allowance rates for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants have been increased to the 30th percentile of local rents, providing additional financial support for private renters. If people need further support with rent Discretionary Housing Payments are available, while a £500 million Hardship Fund provides council tax relief to vulnerable people in England.
That being said, I share your concern to ensure that young people are supported through the Coronavirus emergency. Benefits, however, are only one part of that support. I know my colleagues in Government have been working hard to protect jobs by helping businesses to open safely, while the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme have helped to keep people in their roles throughout an uncertain period. I hope the new Job Rentention Bonus will add to this. Keeping young people in jobs and close to the labour market must be our priority.
I hope this reassures you that supporting young people is a key priority and is certainly something I will continue to champion in Parliament.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP