On the 25th February 2019 the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question about Universal Credit, the two-child limit and the cost of childcare.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report by the Social Metrics Commission ‘A new measure for poverty for the UK’, published in September 2018, what steps they are taking to ensure working parents with more than two children and who are claiming Universal Credit are not being pushed further into poverty due to the cost of childcare. [HL13861]
Baroness Buscombe: The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work, and as part of this we have increased the level of support for childcare costs from 70% in legacy benefits to up to 85% in Universal Credit.
This means that working families claiming Universal Credit can reclaim up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs each month up to £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children.
The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.
Where upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, jobcentres have been instructed to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.