Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : ‘Back to work Budget’ supporting people to return to the labour market [March 2023]

The press release issued by the Department for Work and Pensions on 16 March 2023.

Millions of people will benefit from specific support to look for work, acquire new skills and progress into better-paid jobs.

  • Interventions focus on removing barriers to work for people at any age and career stage
  • Parents on Universal Credit will be further supported with upfront childcare costs
  • Boost to employment support for disabled people and those with health conditions building on reforms in landmark White Paper

Parents, over-50s, disabled people and those with long-term health conditions will have opportunities arising from changes announced in the Budget set to be delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Overall, DWP measures at Budget represent an investment of £3.5 billion over five years to boost workforce participation and grow the economy. That includes:

  • £2 billion investment in support for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.
  • £900 million investment in support for parents on Universal Credit.
  • £70 million investment in support for over-50s.
  • £485 million investment in support for unemployed people and people who are on Universal Credit and working fewer than full time hours.

Taken together, these measures tackle the challenges in the labour market, which are holding back the UK’s economic prospects, helping millions of people with specific support to look for work and progress into better-paid jobs.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride MP said:

We know many people want to work but there are very real barriers we need to break down to help them into employment.

This package of support helps people at any age and career stage to get into work, progress into better-paid jobs – growing the economy and filling the labour market with skilled employees.

These interventions are only the start of a long-term journey to drive down economic inactivity and mobilise more people into seeking employment, which I will continue to lead across Government.


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

The Universal Credit 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 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.

Disabled people and people with health conditions

The Health and Disability White Paper, included as part of the Budget, sets out plans to rewire the benefits system for disabled people, shifting the dial onto what people can achieve and removing barriers to work.

A major element of this will be through the removal of the Work Capability Assessment, giving people the confidence to move into work while reducing the burden of unnecessary assessments.

A new Universal Support programme will support disabled people and people with health conditions into sustained work, with those eligible able to opt in to receive up to 12 months of provision, with the government spending up to £4,000 per person and funding 50,000 places every year. This will help them to move quickly into suitable work and, with wraparound support, help them sustain that employment for the longer-term.

Pioneer areas are already mobilising services to provide greater support, and then the programme will ramp up over time, expanding to support thousands more people.

Older workers

A new digital Mid-life MOT check will be introduced to help older workers understand what their employment choices now mean for the longer-term – reaching 40,000 people a year.

They will also benefit from a boost to skills and better access to training through the Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP), Train and Progress and the new ‘Returnerships’ programme.

Jobcentre support

We are increasing jobcentre support for people on Universal Credit who could work more, helping them progress towards more paid work.

This includes around 80,000 more people, whose partners claim Universal Credit, being given access to full jobcentre support for the first time. They will be assigned their own work coach who will provide tailored support to help them find work quicker.

All those working less than half of a full-time week will also get full jobcentre support to look for more work as the Administrative Earnings Threshold increases to the equivalent of around 18 hours from 15.

And more young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit will be able see a work coach in a Youth Hub or benefit from the expertise of our Youth Employability Coaches.