Universal Credit will continue to be rolled out as planned it has been confirmed, as Work and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke MP said the scheme IS working.
The Work and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke MP, yesterday delivered his key note speech to the Conservative Party Conference confirming the rollout, due to accelerate this month, will continue as planned.
He said: “I understand the concerns that have been raised that, when people first claim, they have to wait six weeks or more before they receive a penny.
“It is the case that what you get in Universal Credit depends on what you have earned over the previous month, so payments are made in arrears.
“But I am determined to ensure that those who need support earlier in the month will get it. It is already the case that if people need help before the first full benefit payment, they can quickly get an advance to help tide them over.
“Increasing numbers of people now claim this – since June, the majority of claimants did so. However, I can announce today that we are refreshing the guidance to DWP staff to ensure that anyone who needs an advance payment will be offered it up-front.
“Claimants who want an advance payment will not have to wait six weeks. They will receive this advance within five working days.
“And if someone is in immediate need, then we fast track the payment, meaning they will receive it on the same day.
“Universal Credit is working. So, I can confirm that the rollout will continue, and to the planned timetable.
“We’re not going to rush things – it is more important to get this right than to do this quickly, and this won’t be completed until 2022. But across the country, we will continue to transform our welfare system to further support those who aspire to work.”
Alongside the speech, the Department for Work and Pensions has published the commencement order confirming those plans to accelerate the roll out of Universal Credit.
The DWP has also published a guide for staff who deal with Housing Benefit overpayments for local authorities and housing authorities, available at:
The DWP has further published statistics on a number of elements of Universal Credit. This includes:
- Ad hoc statistics on payment timeliness for claims to Universal Credit for January to June 2017 which show that 96% of Universal Credit claims received some payment on time and 92% of claims received full payment on time. 85% of new claims to Universal Credit received some payment on time whilst 76% of new claims to Universal Credit received full payment on time.
- Ad hoc statistics on payment advances for claims to Universal Credit for May 2016 to June 2017, which show 71% of all Universal Credit advances were ‘New Claim’ or ‘Change of Circumstance’ advances; 23% of all Universal Credit advances were ‘budgeting advances’; Benefit Transfer advances are less frequently paid; For June ’17, around half of new claims to Universal Credit receive an advance; and between May ’16 and June ’17, the proportion of new claims to Universal Credit that were paid an advance has increased.
The RLA recently gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee asking for the rollout of Universal Credit to be paused – a call echoed by experts across the board.