On the 7th July 2015 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their assessment of the experience of those claiming Universal Credit”. The Bishop of Chester the Rt Revd Peter Forster asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, in his Answer the Minister referred to universal credit as incentivising people to work. Can he give a bit more detail on just what that incentivisation involves? What is the typical marginal effective tax rate for someone who is on universal credit, given that I read recently that it can be more than 70%?
Lord Freud: The marginal rate—the rate at which one withdraws benefit—is 65%. In practice, among the incentive effects are that all the constraints about taking temporary jobs or trying part-time jobs have disappeared, as have some of the constraints against people who may be disabled with fluctuating conditions. They would not normally dare take on a job because if their condition came back, they would have to restart the process of getting on benefits. Because universal credit is both an out-of-work and in-work benefit, it means that there is no risk element to being in work.