The pattern of Univeral Credit is slowly taking shape, though there are still large gaps. A series of briefing notes have been published, with the latest batch on 10th October – getting on for a year after the scheme was announced. Recent announcements have told us, for example, that Carers Allowance will be paid separately, rather than being integrated into UC; that child care costs will continue to be paid, on something like the present basis (though reduced); and that there will be higher suppot for some long term claimants.
An important new departure, however, is that there will sanctions, for the first time, applied to people who are working but not earning at least the equivalent of a full time minimum wage. Those people will be encouraged to look for additional work, and may be required to accept it. This provision is likely to affect women in particular, who are more likely to be on low part time earnings. The details are in Briefing Note 13.