Many parents finding it hard to meet UC conditionality rules

Parents are struggling to meet the new conditionality requirements for Universal Credit, a snap workingmums.co.uk poll shows.

Woman holding a bill and calculator, looking worried

 

Many mums can’t meet the new conditionality requirements for Universal Credit for parents of children over three, according to a workingmums.co.uk snap poll.

The new work requirements, introduced by the Government last October, require lead carers of three to 12 year olds to be available for work for up to 30 hours a week, up from 16 hours a week for parents of three to four year olds and up from 25 hours for parents of five to 12 year olds.

The snap poll of more than 160 parents found over half – 52% – said they couldn’t meet the new requirements, with only a quarter saying they could. The rest said they were not sure.  

The main reason given for not being able to work 30 hours a week was lack of access to flexible work [cited by 29%], followed by childcare access [27%], childcare costs [24%] and mental health issues [11%].

The Government says that, under Universal Credit, parents can claim up to 85% of Ofsted-registered childcare costs up to a monthly limit of £951 for one child and £1,630 for two or more children as well as upfront costs. 

Childcare availability is becoming a bigger issue as the number of nurseries facing closure rises. Coram Family and Childcare’s 23rd annual Childcare Survey shows only a third (34%) of English councils report sufficient childcare for parents working full-time, a fall of 14% on 2023, and just over one in three (35%) report enough childcare for children under two, down by 14% on last year. 

Nearly half of those taking part in the poll claim Universal Credit and of those who do, 49% are in work. More parents said UC childcare support had not helped them to work longer hours than those who said it had [31% versus 25%].



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