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Change requests to Universal Credit

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Universal Credit will commence from October 2013 and after a transitional period will incorporate tax credits as well as most state benefits. The NFU has made a number of representations to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the design of Universal Credit in relation to self- employed claimants. They have expressed particular concern over how the entitlement to Universal Credit for the self-employed will be assessed using a crude cash flow method to calculate monthly profit with no allowance for months where expenditure exceeds income. This will impact on many farmers as cash flow fluctuates throughout the year. The NFU have also called for a more limited use of the regulation which will impose a minimum income floor in assessing entitlement to Universal Credit where profits fall below the National Minimum Wage for a 35 hour week. The NFU have met with the Minister for Welfare Reform and his officials, who are now modelling potential amendments to the regulations which would allow businesses to carry forward excess expenditure from month to month. The NFU will continue to work with DWP officials on this issue and on the use of a deemed level of income where actual profits drop or losses are incurred.

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