Universal Credit (UC) claimants will be able to receive a loan to pay for their childcare in advance, the Secretary of State Amber Rudd told the Work and Pensions Select Committee this week.
Currently, parents claiming Universal Credit have to pay for their childcare costs upfront before they are reimbursed, this is a huge barrier to parents returning to employment – either making work unaffordable for some claimants or forcing them to take on debt in order to do so.
It is not yet clear if this will be a new loan or if claimants will be expected to take out an existing budget advance from their UC claim. The eligibility criteria for the loan also needs to be clarified.
Last week, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) released a report which called for childcare costs in Universal Credit to be made in advance.
APPG Chair Ruth George, MP for High Peak, said:
“I’ve heard from many parents on Universal Credit that they can’t afford to pay for childcare in the summer holidays as they have to pay upfront.
“I’ve been campaigning on this with Save the Children and was delighted that the Secretary of State announced to me this morning in Select Committee that DWP can now give parents a loan to pay for their holiday childcare in advance, so they can work.
“It would have been helpful to parents if this was announced before the summer holidays started, but better late than never and I hope this will help parents going forward.”
David Samson, Welfare Benefits Specialist at Turn2us, said:
“Childcare costs are a huge barrier for parents returning to work, so we are pleased that the DWP are making changes to Universal Credit to help families. We look forward to finding out more detail on how the loan will work in practice.
“Turn2us and the APPG will continue to use factual evidence to encourage the Department to make changes to Universal Credit so it can work for the people that claim it.”
The APPG on Universal Credit was established for Members of both Houses of Parliament of all parties to be able to come together to discuss the experiences of their own constituents with Universal Credit, to receive advice and support from experts in the field, share best practice in supporting constituents and to monitor practical experiences of this critical policy as it is rolled out. Its members include:
- Ruth George MP (Chair)
- Debbie Abrahams MP
- Peter Aldous MP
- Dr Lisa Cameron MP
- Hugh Gaffney MP
- Stephen Lloyd MP
- Jim Shannon MP
- Alison Thewliss MP
- Lord Kerslake
- Baroness Lister of Burtersett
The Secretariat of the Universal Credit APPG is Turn2us, a national poverty charity.