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Crawley MP welcomes budget boost for universal credit



The Chancellor, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, announced that the Government would reduce by seven days the time a claimant must wait before their first full benefit payment.

The period that the interest-free benefit advance can be recovered was extended from six months to one year. It was also confirmed that the amount of an advance would go from 50 per cent of the monthly entitlement to 100 per cent, meaning that a claimant could receive the equivalent of their first benefit payment up front.

 Henry said; 

“Universal Credit has been transforming lives by enabling more people get into jobs and earning more through work. I’m glad to see the Government has acted to cut down the initial waiting time and allow individuals who need it to get the equivalent of a full benefit payment right up front. 

“Combined with other measures to provide an extra two week payment of Housing Benefit, worth an average £233, and the option to continue having rent paid directly to landlords in the private rented sector, the Budget will provide a real boost to people going onto Universal Credit.”

Universal Credit sees six existing benefits, for people on low incomes or out of work, replaced by a single Universal Credit payment. The programme is being rolled out across the UK in stages and is designed to help jobseekers with particular challenges to receive tailored help in order to secure one of the over 780,000 vacancies which exist in the jobs market.

The Crawley MP also welcomed other Budget announcements. On the Personal Allowance increasing to £11,850, Henry said;

“More than 56,000 Crawley residents have already benefited from increases in the Personal Allowance, and I welcome confirmation that the amount people earn before paying income tax will rise to £11,850 from next April.” 

On the April 2018 increase in the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage, Henry said;

“There’ll be an increase in the National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over from £7.50 per hour to £7.83 per hour. This will start in April 2018 and more than 2 million people are expected to benefit. 

“For a full-time worker, this will represent a pay rise of some £600 a year.

“There will also be increases in the National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds, 18 to 20 year olds, 16 and 17 year olds, and Apprentices.”

On measures to abolish stamp duty land tax on homes under £300,000 for first-time buyers, Henry said;

“95 per cent of first-time buyers who pay stamp duty will benefit from these changes, and first-time buyers of homes worth between £300,000 and £500,000 will not pay stamp duty on the first £300,000. This will save £1,660‎ on the average first-time buyer property.

“Around 80 per cent of people buying their first home will pay no stamp duty at all.”

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Council have plans in place for ‘Beast from the East’

Salting operations are to continue throughout the period; snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.



Yellow warnings for snow in Crawley have been issued by the Met Office until Wednesday. Photo: MetOffice

Snowfall will be effecting most of the country over the forthcoming week and the Met Office have issued yellow weather warnings for snow as well as amber warnings for some areas.

Following these warnings, West Sussex County Council have said they have plans in place to keep main roads open.

A West Sussex Highways spokesman said:

“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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“We are therefore advising Town and Parish Councils to be prepared to enact their Winter Management Plans IF and when we issue an instruction to do so.”

A further update will be issued later today.

The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’ please click here.

If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.

WSCC have offered some general advice including:

• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.
• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.
• Check bedroom night-time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.
• Keep warm and active and, if you have to go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.
• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – details: emergency services.

Keep up to date with all the latest news.

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