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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19: Welfare benefit issues  →  Thread

Notifications in UC journals of £20 uplift withdrawal

jaz
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Hi everyone, has anyone actually seen the notification that is being sent to customers please?

Jo_Smith
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Have a look at the attachment.
Not very helpful- does not explain to clients that it will be taken away soon.

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Daphne
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I’ll query why there is no date on it via stakeholders…

shawn mach
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Looks like the 23 July communication was just to -

‘... notify them of how much of their standard allowance is a result of the temporary uplift that has been provided in response to the Covid-19 pandemic ...’

And that -

We will do further communications with claimants over the Summer ... making it clear that it will no longer be included in their standard allowance.

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/government-outlines-how-it-is-intends-to-advise-universal-credit-claimants-about-the-end-of-the-20-uplift

Ianb
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Two months to go - as usual advance notification at very short notice.

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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And what about claimants with no online account (i.e. phone claim)? Are they being sent paper letters?

Jo_Smith
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DWP comms to people who have telephone claims have been really poor so far, so this is something to keep an eye on.

shawn mach
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bristol_1 - 04 August 2021 09:30 AM

And what about claimants with no online account (i.e. phone claim)? Are they being sent paper letters?

Will Quince says -

“As the Secretary of State made clear at the Select Committee we are not writing letters to claimants.”

Andrew Dutton
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No dates or other useful information. DWP in yet another big bid for the ‘Clear As Mud’ Award.

Ruth_T
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A recent letter sent to a client with a telephone claim, regarding an overpayment of UC,  included a breakdown showing how it had been calculated, and exactly the same statement as shown in response #1.

jaz
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thank you everyone for your help.  N

Rosie W
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Welfare rights service - Northumberland County Council

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We’re starting to see the attached on online accounts, which at least give dates. Don’t know about telephone accounts though.

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shawn mach
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Rosie W
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shawn mach - 13 August 2021 01:07 PM

Thanks for the update Rosie ... really useful.

Hope it’s okay, we’ve also shared via rightsnet news and Twitter:

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/claimants-now-being-notified-via-their-online-accounts-of-the-date-of-the-last-payment-of-their-universal-credit-uplift
https://twitter.com/rightsnet/status/1426131522050985987

Cheers ... Shawn

Thanks Shawn - no problem at all to share. Glad it’s useful.

Mkfiftyeight
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Back in May 2021 there was an article about permission for a JR saying it would be heard by end of July 2021.

I can’t find anything about the outcome of the JR, does anyone know if it went ahead or is public yet?

Bit more of a clue the article ‘s headline/summary (about ESA) was

Permission has been granted for a judicial review challenging the government’s decision not to apply the same £20 per week increase to employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants that universal credit claimants have received since the start of the Covid-19 pan

shawn mach
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Just dug out our story from April and in doing so checked the Osborne’s Law website where they say that the final hearing will be held on 28 and 29 September 2021 .. have added an updated to our story:

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/permission-granted-for-judicial-review-challenging-government-decision-not-to-apply-20-per-week-uplift-to-esa-claimants

Andrew Dutton
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CA estimates 2.3 million may be pushed into debt. DWP’s answer is work, work, more work. 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/aug/26/planned-cut-to-universal-credit-could-push-more-than-2m-people-into-debt

I still haven’t heard what DWP is doing to tell ‘telephone’ claimants - does anyone know?

Va1der
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I think the DWP rep at yesterday’s advice agency forum in Edinburgh said notifications are going out by journal, post and phone.

I still haven’t seen any of these. I’ve been advising my clients to expect the decrease, and none have been aware of it so far.

Wendy Stanyon
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I’ve had one of my very vulnerable clients who is already having a number of deductions taken out and should be getting the LCWRA element but no UC50 sent out as yet (should have been sent in March) WhatsApp me today in a panic as she’s had the notification in her journal - had no idea it was about to happen.

MPetek
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The removal of the UC uplift depends on the sunset provisions in the Regulations that provide for it. The sole power to deploy a sunset provision in Regulations is statutory and is conferred by s14A of the Interpretation Act 1978.

This was inserted by s59 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 in Part V of that Act.

The heading of Part V refers to the removal of legislative burdens. So Parliament intended to confer a power to deploy a sunset provision for this purpose only. No power exists in law to deploy one for the removal of a benefit.

The removal of the uplift may give rise to a claim under Protocol 1 Article 1 of the Convention (Human Rights Act 1998): the removal of a possession without authorisation of law.

Charles
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The uplift is not being ended by a sunset provision. The rate of the Standard Allowance was simply changed for Assessment Period’s ending prior to 6 October 2021. The legislation itself never actually ceases to have effect.

EDIT: I’m not sure you’re correct anyway that a sunset provision couldn’t be used in such a case just based on a heading in the 2013 Act. I’ll leave that to the lawyers!

[ Edited: 27 Aug 2021 at 11:56 am by Charles ]
MPetek
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The relevant legislation authorising the UC uplift is below. The sunset provisions in Regulations is in [brackets]. The purpose of s14A, in so far as it is inserted by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, is to make provision for the reduction of legislatuve burdens - this appears in the long title of the 2013 Act. The case law leaves no doubt that the purpose of an enactment can be identified from the long title of an Act in which it appears.


Interpretation Act 14A Power to include sunset and review provisions in subordinate legislation

(1) This section applies where an Act confers a power or a duty on a person to make subordinate legislation except to the extent that—

(a) the power or duty is exercisable by the Scottish Ministers, or

(b) the power or duty is exercisable by any other person within devolved competence (within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998).

(2) The subordinate legislation may include—

(a) provision requiring the person to review the effectiveness of the legislation within a specified period or at the end of a specified period;

(b) provision for the legislation to cease to have effect at the end of a specified day or a specified period;

(c) if the power or duty is being exercised to amend other subordinate legislation, provision of the kind mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) in relation to that other legislation.

(3) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (2)(a) includes provision requiring the person to consider whether the objectives which it was the purpose of the legislation to achieve remain appropriate and, if so, whether they could be achieved in another way.

(4) Subordinate legislation including provision of a kind mentioned in subsection (2) may make such provision generally or only in relation to specified provisions of the legislation or specified cases or circumstances.

(5) Subordinate legislation including provision of a kind mentioned in subsection (2) may make transitional, consequential, incidental or supplementary provision or savings in connection with such provision.

(6) In this section, “specified” means specified in the subordinate legislation.


The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 - Si 371

(1) Regulation 36 (table showing amounts of elements) of the Universal Credit Regulations, as amended by article 33 of, and Schedule 13 to, the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2020 F1 (“the 2020 up-rating order”) is to be read as if the following amounts were substituted for the amounts of the standard allowance—

(a)£342.72 for a single claimant aged under 25;

(b)£409.89 for a single claimant aged 25 or over;

(c)£488.59 for joint claimants both aged under 25;

(d)£594.04 for joint claimants where either is aged 25 or over.

(2) This regulation takes effect in relation to each award of universal credit in the first assessment period that ends on or after 6th April 2020 and continues to have effect [only for the remainder of the tax year beginning with 6th April 2020.]

(3) For the purposes of any calculation under regulation 54 (transitional element - indicative UC amount) and 55 (transitional element – initial amount and adjustment where other elements increase) of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 the amount of the standard allowance is to be the amount specified in regulation 36 of the Universal Credit Regulations, as amended by the 2020 up-rating order, and paragraph (1) is to be disregarded.


The Universal Credit (Extension of Coronavirus Measures) Regulations 2021 - SI 313

Standard Allowance modification

2.—(1) For any assessment period in relation to an award of universal credit, where that assessment period ends on or after 6th April 2021 [and before 6th October 2021] regulation 36 (table showing amounts of elements) of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013, as amended by the current up-rating order, is to be read as if the amounts of the standard allowance were each increased by £86.67.

(2) For the purposes of any calculation under regulation 54 (transitional element – indicative UC amount) and 55 (transitional element – initial amount and adjustment where other elements increase) of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 the amount of the standard allowance is to be the amount specified in regulation 36 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013, as amended by the current up-rating order, with paragraph (1) being disregarded.

(3) In this regulation “the current up-rating order” means the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2020 or the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2021.

Charles
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As I said I’m not a lawyer, so take everything I write with a pinch of salt!

1) I’m not convinced that the stated purpose of the amending act (i.e., the 2013 Act) would limit the use of the provisions once inserted in the Interpretation Act 1978.
That is, the long title of the 2013 Act only limits what that Act can do, and that Act simply amends the 1978 Act in a manner consistent with the long title. I don’t think it’s a problem that the 1978 Act can now also be used to do something not included in the long title of the 2013 Act.

2) I’m pretty sure the extension to the uplift in 2021 does not involve a sunset provision. There is simply a condition that only APs ending prior to 6th October 2021 should have the increased Standard Allowance. From a legal perspective that is no different to a condition, say, that a claimant be over 25 to have an increased Standard Allowance.
Even the original uplift was legislated with reference to the 2020 uprating Regs. Those Regs were then superseded by the 2021 uprating Regs. So even if you consider the original uplift to contain a sunset provision, that wouldn’t help you.

[ Edited: 27 Aug 2021 at 07:54 pm by Charles ]
Elliot Kent
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I’m afraid its a rather confused analysis. As noted, SI 2020/371 is no longer relevant as it only impacts the 2020 up-lift. SI 2021/313 would need to be the target of any sort of argument.

If SI 2021/313 contains a sunset clause (as opposed to making the inclusion of the additional £86.67 subject to the condition precedent that you are looking at an AP which ends between 06/04/21 to 05/10/21 which seems the more persuasive analysis), I don’t understand how it follows that the inclusion of that sunset clause is somehow inconsistent with or contrary to the purposes of s14A and therefore ultra vires. I am not really sure that you can meaningfully argue about the purposes of s14A because its a procedural rule rather than a substantive one. But if you can, the point of s14A is the “reduction of legislative burdens” - enabling the minister to create one instrument which creates a rule but also provides for that rule to lapse rather than creating two instruments, one to create the rule and another to destroy it - therefore reducing the burden on the legislator, draftspeople and statute book. Isn’t our “sunset clause” exactly consistent with that goal as it has been framed in terms which make it unnecessary to create a further SI ending the uplift?

I don’t doubt that removing the uplift will be a source of misery for many and if there are legitimate legal challenges, they ought to be brought but I do not think this issue is something with legs.