The challenges of rolling out Universal Credit continue…

The challenges of rolling out Universal Credit (UC) continue with…

Alarm in the government about the impact of UC rollout

The Times of 6 October 2018 has a front-page news story that government ministers are becoming increasingly alarmed about the roll out of UC after the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, confirmed privately to colleagues that millions of families would lose £200 a month under the new system.1

Ms McVey is reported as telling cabinet colleagues that “half of lone parents and about two thirds of working-age couples with children would lose the equivalent of £2,400 a year.”

The Times also reports that the Treasury is expected to publish a consultation in the next few weeks about giving “breathing space” to people on low income who are in debt, partly as a result of universal credit.

Three million people facing the prospect of change to UC

The implementation of UC from 2019 is a huge challenge as it involves millions of people.  Until now only people making an application have gone on to UC.  The next phase of UC affects the three million people already receiving tax credits or benefits payments.  Their money will stop and they will need to reapply under the new system.2

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set out proposals about this next stage and by the end of October 2018 it is expected that they will be finalised.3

Citizens Advice to support existing benefits claimants to transition to UC

Given the chaos of the roll-out of UC to date the announcement of 1 October 2018 from the DWP that Citizens Advice will be able to deliver a full Universal Support service to people making claims under UC from April 2019 is very good news.4

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey said: “This brand new partnership with Citizens Advice will ensure everyone, and in particular the most vulnerable claimants, get the best possible support with their claim that is consistently administered across the country.” 4

Trussell Trust voices concerns over the transition of three million to UC

The Trussell Trust has welcomed the announcement that Citizens Advice will be able  to offer more help to more people2 but is “seriously concerned, however, that the plans for the next stage of Universal Credit – known as managed migration – and the ease with which transitional protections can be lost will lead to more people needing the support of foodbanks.” 3

The three million claimants will be moved manually over to UC and the whole process is scheduled to finish in 2021.3 “Even if everything goes according to plan, every single person will be waiting at least five weeks for a first payment.”2

The Trussell Trust believes that “The Government must ensure Transitional Protection applies to all who need it, particularly disabled people and larger families who stand to lose the most from Universal Credit” and that the protection must apply for as long as possible and at least for a year.3

Jean Kilshaw, on behalf of Feeding Camden

 

1https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/families-lose-200-a-month-in-universal-credit-switch-5ktwmrwr8

2https://www.trusselltrust.org/2018/10/01/trussell-responds-universal-support/

3https://www.trusselltrust.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/The-Trussell-Trust-UC-Managed-Migration-Parliamentary-Briefing.pdf

4https://www.gov.uk/government/news/citizens-advice-to-provide-support-to-universal-credit-claimants

The challenges of rolling out Universal Credit continue…