April 2017

Bereavement Support Payment

The current bereavement benefit system will be replaced with a single system of Bereavement Support Payments (BSP). This will be introduced for new claims from April 2017.


Tax Credits Support for children reduced

Government proposed in the summer budget 2015 that support for children through Tax Credits and Universal Credit will be limited to two children from April 2017. Equivalent changes will be made to the Housing Benefit rules.


Tax Credit Family Element removed

Tax Credit Family element proposed change: People starting a family after April 2017 will no longer be eligible for the Family Element in tax credits. The equivalent in Universal Credit, known as the first child premium, will also not be available for new claims after April 2017.

Universal Credit requirements for parents to look for work

Parents with a youngest child aged 3, including lone parents are expected to look for work if they want to claim Universal Credit.

Reduction in payment for ESA Work-Related Activity Group Claimants

From 1 April 2017, new ESA claimants who are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group will receive the same rate of payment as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and the equivalent in Universal Credit.


Universal Credit Youth Obligation

18-21 year olds who are on Universal Credit will have to either apply for training/ apprenticeships or attend a work placements from six month after the start of their claim. Apart from certain exempt groups ( those considered to be vulnerable) – proposed introduction from April 2017 . 

Universal Credit Housing Support removed for young people

Reform to housing and housing support proposed- including removing the entitlement to housing support in Universal Credit for those aged 21 or under from April 2017.

Change in Hardship Payments for mentally ill and homeless

Hardship Payment proposed change: Hardship payments (of 40% of the benefit amount) to be automatically payable to jobseekers who are mentally ill and homeless when they are sanctioned. These claimants currently have to apply for hardship payments when they've been sanctioned and may be refused. The proposal means to add them to the group of vulnerable people who can receive hardship payments whilst under sanction without applying for them first (such as claimants with children or long-term health problems).

Universal Credit taper to be reduced from 65 per cent to 63 per cent

From April 2017 the taper rate that applies in Universal Credit will be reduced from 65 per cent to 63 per cent. This means that claimants will be able to keep 37p for every £1 earned in work above work allowances rather than 35p for every £1 earned. 


Autumn /End of 2017

Free Childcare Extended

Free childcare entitlement will be doubled from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2017.

Higher Income Social Tenants to Pay Higher Rents

The Summer Budget 2015 put forward plans to require social tenants on higher incomes (over £40,000 in London and over £30,000 outside London) to pay higher (market rate or near market rate) rents. The government will consult and set out the detail of this reform in due course.


Universal Credit Roll out

The Government expected that the roll out of Universal Credit would be complete by the end of 2017. Iain Duncan Smith has since admitted that at least 700,000 claimants will not be on UC by the end of 2017.


April 2018

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments

The government announced in the summer budget 2015 that from April 2018, new SMI payments will be paid as a loan. Loans will be repaid upon sale of a claimant's house, or when claimants return to work.