DWP: Touchbase – Fri 17 March

Roundup of recent DWP announcements 

In yesterday’s Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced a major set of reforms to remove barriers to work and support people into jobs, to increase their hours or progress.

Alongside the Budget, DWP published Transforming Support: the Health & Disability White Paper which sets out ambitious and extensive reforms so more disabled people and people with health conditions live the independent and fulfilling lives they deserve.

Key measures are set out below. For further information see:

Health and Disability White Paper factsheet

Labour market factsheet

HM Treasury press notice

Transforming Support: the Health & Disability White Paper and other measures

For disabled people and people with long-term health conditions we are:

  • Changing the emphasis from what people can’t do, to what they can, by removing the Work Capability Assessment so that in future there is only one health and disability assessment, the Personal Independent Payment assessment. This will mean there will be no need to be found to have limited capability for work or limited capability to prepare for work to get additional income-related support for a disability or health condition.
  • Introducing a Universal Support programme in England and Wales to match people with jobs and provide support and training to help them succeed; and providing Additional Work Coach Time to claimants of health-related income support benefits – targeted support to help them take active steps to move into work or increase their earnings.
  • Expanding Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care, which helps people to move quickly into an open labour market job and then provides support to sustain work, in advance of full delivery of Universal Support.
  • Embedding tailored employment support within mental health and musculoskeletal (MSK) services by expanding the Individual Placement and Support scheme that supports those with severe mental illnesses into employment, scaling up MSK hubs in the community and integrating Employment Advisers within these to ensure people can access the support they need, locally.
  • Introducing the WorkWell Partnerships Programme which will pilot a new model in England for delivering integrated work and health support in local areas, linking jobcentres, health services and other local organisations to provide wraparound health support for jobseekers, benefit claimants and those at risk of falling out of work because of their health condition.
  • Investing more in testing ways to boost Occupational Health coverage while consulting on ways to go even further on this, including through tax incentives.


Parents on Universal Credit (UC) looking to move into full-time work will no longer be prevented from doing so because of high childcare costs.

The UC childcare cost cap will rise in the summer meaning the Government will pay more of parents’ childcare costs. For those with one child it rises from £646.35 to £951 and for two children the cap is up from £1,108.04 to £1,630, then increasing in line with CPI each year until 2027-28.

Parents will now also be further supported with upfront childcare costs. This removes any gap in funds which would currently be claimed in arrears and eases parents into the childcare costs payment cycle.

More support for over-50s

We are increasing funding so more people can benefit from the skills provision to support over-50s to retrain and stay in or return to work including:

  • Expanding the Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) which offers pre-employment training, a work experience placement, and a guaranteed job interview to help people get back to work in a new sector. SWAPs will run in England and Scotland. 
  • Expanding Skills Bootcamps and introducing ‘returnerships’.
  • Extending Train and Progress (TaP), which extends the period of full-time training that UC claimants in the Intensive Work Search regime can take part in. DWP TaP is GB-wide. 

To help people understand what their employment choices now mean for the longer-term, we are digitising the Mid-Life MOT and increasing fivefold (to around 40,000) the number of UC claimants who access the tool each year in jobcentres.

Pensions (HM Treasury measures) 

The Lifetime Allowance will be removed before being abolished altogether, removing barriers to remaining in work and simplifying the tax system by taking thousands out of the complexity of pension tax.

The Annual Allowance will be increased from £40,000 to £60,000, incentivising highly-skilled workers to remain in the labour market. As a result of the pensions tax measures announced, an estimated 80% of NHS doctors will not receive a tax charge with respect to accruals under the 2015 NHS career average scheme.

Support for Cost of Living

The Chancellor set out plans to continue to support households with cost of living pressures including keeping the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for the next three months and ending the premium that over 4 million households pay on their pre-payment meter, bringing their charges into line with comparable customers who pay by direct debit.

Taken together with all the Government’s efforts to help households with higher costs, these measures bring the total support to an average of £3,300 per UK household over 2022-23 and 2023-24.

To help household budgets further, the planned 11p rise in fuel duty will be cancelled, maintaining last year’s 5p cut for another 12 months and saving a typical driver another £100 on top of the £100 saved so far.