Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister for Communities what legislative provision is being developed to compensate previous Tax Credit recipients who are financially worse off after making a claim to Universal Credit due to change of circumstances resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.
Minister for Communities: I can assure you that my officials have been engaging with senior officials in both the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC to consider possible measures to assist people who are worse off after making a claim to Universal Credit.
To ensure people are fully informed, a message was added to the Universal Credit telephony call plan advising those on Tax Credits to visit http://www.gov.uk/working-tax-credit/further-information before making a claim to Universal Credit as they may be better off remaining on Tax Credits. This message has also been added to NIDirect and communicated via the Department’s social media accounts. This message will continue to be highlighted to ensure people are fully informed before making any claim to Universal Credit.
In the New Decade, New Approach Deal, the Executive committed to a review of the welfare mitigation measures. This review has been delayed by the current public health crisis but details will be announced once agreed by the Executive. You will appreciate that any new mitigation measures would require legislation or changes to the existing legislation. The costs of any new mitigations would have to be funded locally and agreed by the Assembly.
The Department continues to review the situation to ensure that services and support are available to those in need.