Bishop of Durham asks Government about childcare costs and Universal Credit

On 17th May 2018 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to three questions he had tabled on Universal Credit:

Lord Bishop of Durham:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many families claiming Universal  Credit incur childcare costs above £760.42 per month for one child or £1303.57 for two or more children.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that the maximum amount of childcare costs supported through Universal Credit reflects the cost of full-time childcare for children under three.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on childcare providers of payment in arrears of Universal Credit.

Baroness Buscombe: The information on childcare costs incurred by families claiming Universal Credit is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

DWP has not carried out an assessment of the effect on childcare providers of payment in arrears of Universal Credit.

Where claimants start work or increase their working hours, we offer extra support to enable them to pay upfront childcare costs: for example, claimants may be eligible to receive an advance of their future Universal Credit entitlement, which is interest free and can be repaid over a period of 12 months. Work coaches work with our claimants to ensure that where this is taken up, that repayments are manageable.

For claimants ineligible to receive a budgeting advance, the Flexible Support Fund may also offer assistance. This fund allows us to provide flexible and discretionary non-repayable support to claimants in financial need to move into work and can be used to help claimants to meet upfront childcare costs so that they can accept offers of work.