Universal Credit could be scrapped with all adults getting £163 a week instead

New plans which could see Universal Credit in the UK replaced by another scheme have been drawn up.

The Guaranteed Decent Income plan, which has been proposed by the Commission on Social Security group, has been described as a “streamlined” way of keeping millions of Brits out of poverty.

From April 2022, the minimum Universal Credit rate will be around £75 a week for over-25s, with top-ups for those with housing needs, children and disabilities.

However, the Commission – whose leaders say they have "lived experience of the benefits system" – are calling for the Universal Credit system to scrapped completely, and instead replaced by a new system.

Here’s what you need to know about the new benefit scheme, which will offer all adults at least £160 a week.

What is the Guaranteed Decent Income system?

The Guaranteed Decent Income will see all adults receive a minimum of £163.50 a week, including multiple adults in the same household.

The proposed weekly sum – which is half the minimum wage – would target those who earn below the £163.50 threshold or who don’t earn at all, rather than being paid to all adults regardless of earnings.

Under the plan, child benefit would be set at £50 a week, more than double the £21.15 for the eldest child now, and Personal Independence Payment for the disabled would range from £83.70 to £230.77.

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These plans have been drawn up by the commission, a government advisory organisation set up in 2019 that looks at radical reform of the benefit system and is funded by inequality campaign group Trust for London.

The plans are not costed, however, commission secretary Michael Orton claimed they would be a “post-war”-style investment that pays for itself through savings in other areas and a more healthy and prosperous society.

Dr Orton, from the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University, said: "The pandemic showed that when times were tough it was unpaid carers, supermarket workers and others on low incomes who kept our society going. It also showed that if we choose to, we can provide social security for everyone."

He added that the recent changes to Universal Credit could mean the government is "headed in the wrong direction", especially with a cost of living crisis on the horizon in 2022.

What are the tougher sanctions set to be imposed on Universal Credit?

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) unveiled a new initiative to get more people off benefits and into jobs by the end of June 2022.

Under Universal Credits rules, claimants have always been at risk of sanctions if they don't do what's required under the 'claimant commitment' they agreed when first applying for payments.

Sanctions have always meant that some or even all of a person's benefits can be cut as a penalty for failure to comply with the requirements.

Previously claimants used to have three months after making a claim to find a job in their preferred sector before facing the prospect of sanctions.

However, now the DWP is imposing even stricter sanctions which will begin four weeks after their initial UC claim, if an individual is not making reasonable efforts to find and secure a job in any sector or if they turn down a job offer.

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