What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit the government's flagship scheme for reforming the welfare system and attempting to ensure that people are always better off in work than on benefits.

The scheme is designed to make welfare simpler by combining the following benefits into a single monthly payment:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Work Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith has said the scheme will save the government £38 billion by 2023, although it has also come in for criticism from MPs and campaigners.

Read a longer definition here

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'£34m wasted' on welfare reform

Government attempts to set up its flagship Universal Credit scheme have not achieved "value for money" and have already wasted £34 million, according to a damning report by the National Audit Office.