Martin Ford 23 September 2022

Mini-Budget: Universal Credit sanctions tightened

Mini-Budget: Universal Credit sanctions tightened image
Image: 1000 Words /

Tens of thousands of people on Universal Credit face sanctions and reductions if they do not show up at jobcentres, under plans unveiled by the chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.

The tightening of rules announced in his ‘mini-budget’ speech this morning are expected to affect 120,000 people and are designed to compel people to ‘take active steps to seek more work’.

This includes attending weekly or fortnightly appointments at jobcentres, applying for jobs and attending interviews.

The Government’s Growth Plan states: ‘Claimants who do not fulfil their job-search commitment without good reason could have their benefits reduced.’

The plans also include work coaches for new claimants and long-term unemployed people over the age of 50 to help them into work.

Mr Kwarteng also announced a simplification of off-payroll working rules by repealing the 2017 and 2021 IR35 reforms.

He told the Commons: ‘In practice, reforms to off payroll working have added unnecessary complexity and cost for many businesses.’

It means workers providing their services via an intermediary, such as a personal service company, will be responsible for determining their employment status and paying the correct tax.

The plan says the measure aims to ‘free up time and money for businesses that engage contractors’.

The chancellor has opted against following Wales and Scotland in moves toward introducing tourist taxes, instead offering VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors in the hope of attracting more tourists.

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