Government celebrates high universal credit take-up by under-25s
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Universal Credit and also in Central Government
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The government is celebrating new figures that show nearly 3,000 people started claiming its new welfare system, universal credit (UC), in the middle of last year.
Between April and October 2013, 2,960 people in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire areas began accessing UC, the vast majority of whom were aged under 25.
The government says that UC gives greater incentives for young people to move into work because, for the first time, it gives under-25s in-work support, "ensuring they are better off taking a job than remaining on benefits".
With seven in 10 of last year's new UC claimants aged under 25, the figures seem to reflect UK's high levels of current youth unemployment.
Released yesterday, estimated figures from the Office of National Statistics show that there were 920,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds (31% of whom were in full-time education) between September and November 2013, down 39,000 from June to August 2013.
Currently single young people under 25 are not generally eligible for in-work support from working tax credit and can face a severe withdrawal of benefits when they go into work.
According to the government, a single person under 25 working 35 hours a week on the national minimum wage could be around £15-£20 a week better off under UC.
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said: "UC is a modern welfare system that ensures being in work pays, so taking a job is a more attractive option than remaining on benefits. Our commitment to build a stronger and more competitive Britain needs young people in jobs where they can progress.
"Alongside our £1 billion youth contract, work programme and apprenticeships scheme, universal credit will help young people get on."