Universal Credit and State Pension payments are set to rise for millions of people across the UK - however benefit claimants will also see stricter rules over finding jobs.

The changes were announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as he delivered his autumn statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday. He confirmed that Universal Credit and other benefits will increase by 6.7%, in line with September's inflation figure.

Mr Hunt said the rise would amount to an average increase of £470 for 5.5 million households when it takes effect in April 2024. He told Parliament: "We will continue to support families in difficulty.

"I know there's been some speculation that we would increase benefits next year by the lower October figure for inflation, but cost-of-living pressures remain at their most acute for the poorest families. So instead, the Government has decided to increase Universal Credit and other benefits from next April by 6.7%, in line with September's inflation figure. An average increase of £470 for five-and-a-half million households next year - vital support to those on the very lowest incomes from a compassionate Conservative government."

However, the Chancellor also confirmed plans for a tougher welfare regime, saying it was "wrong economically and wrong morally" that every year more than 100,000 people were signed onto benefits with no requirement to look for work". Under the new rules, welfare recipients who do not find a job within 18 months will be forced to undertake work experience under plans to get more people into employment. Those who do not comply with the rules will have their benefits stopped.

Mr Hunt said: "If after 18 months of intensive support jobseekers have not found a job, we will roll out a programme requiring them to take part in a mandatory work placement to increase their skills and improve their employability. And if they choose not to engage with the work search process for six months, we will close their case and stop their benefits."

Meanwhile, Mr Hunt also announced that the triple-lock formula for State Pension rises would be implemented as usual, meaning the State Pension will rise by 8.5% to £221 a week from April. Elsewhere, employee national insurance will be cut by two percentage points, from 12% to 10%, from January 6.

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