10,000 working Universal Credit claimants in Doncaster will be able to keep more of the benefit

More than 10,000 working Universal Credit claimants in Doncaster will be able to keep more of the benefit as part of a major tax cut, figures suggest.

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 7:30 am
Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his latest Budget that the taper rate, the tax on a claimant's payment for every £1 that they earn above their work allowance, will be cut from 63 per cent to 55 per cent within weeks, to "reward work" of low-income families.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows 37 per cent of the 34,751 Universal Credit claimants across Doncaster were in work as of August 12 – the latest available figures.

It means the tax burden on 12,973 claimants in the area will be eased when the move comes into effect before December 1.

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Of the claimants in work as of mid-August, the largest number (2,476) were aged between 30 and 34.

Mr Sunak has faced criticism that the taper rate cut does not compensate for the £20-a-week blanket reduction in Universal Credit in early October, or help people not in work.

In Doncaster, roughly 21,800 Universal Credit claimants were not in work as of August 12.

Announcing the changes to the Commons, Mr Sunak said: “This is a £2 billion tax cut for the lowest paid workers in our country.

“It supports working families, it helps with the cost of living and it rewards work.”

Nearly 2 million families across the UK will keep on average an extra £1,000 a year, he said.

But responding to the Budget, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “After taking £6 billion out of the pockets of some of the poorest people in this country, he is expecting them to cheer at being given £2 billion to compensate.”

Thomas Lawson, chief executive of anti-poverty charity Turn2us, said the changes are "welcome steps".

However, he added: "For single parents and others with caring responsibilities the benefits will be smaller, and for people unable to work at all, this will do nothing to help with the rising cost of living.”

In March 2020, some 3 million people were on the means-tested benefit, but by August this year that figure was at 5.8 million – a 93 per cent increase.

In Doncaster, the number of claimants rose by 66 per cent, from 20,900 in March last year.