Universal Credit may undermine its own reforms
- 30 Oct
Universal Credit: without urgent changes the Government risks undermining its own reforms
The Government's arguments for welfare reform are well rehearsed. There is a fiscal case but also an economic and social one: too many people are only marginally better off in work, while the design of the system has trapped people in poverty and worklessness.
Universal Credit, we are told, will fix these economic and social problems. However research published today, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tells us that without urgent changes the Government risks undermining its own reforms.
Universal Credit has the potential to address systemic problems in the benefit system that we have identified in previous research: complex claims processes, duplication of information, involvement of multiple agencies, a lack of transparency in what you get, and increased fraud and error.
And yet, research shows, the detail of the changes with Universal Credit could undermine all of this:
- It will be harder, for many people to claim than currently - with claimants required to apply online even though just 20% currently do so and just 40% of are ready and able.
- Payment will be less frequent than now - with payments made monthly, even though we know that people on low incomes budget weekly and even daily. For new claims, the first payment will be delayed to 37 or 38 days after the claim is submitted.
- The payment will be made all at once, to a nominated head of household - rather than as now, allowing elements to be paid separately All of these changes will lead to increased risks of budgeting problems, debt, arrears and ultimately financial exclusion.
All of these changes will lead to increased risks of budgeting problems, debt, arrears and ultimately financial exclusion. In turn, they will make it less likely that some claimants will be ready to move back in to work.
The Government is taking steps now to mitigate many of these risks and we welcome that work. It is testing new approaches to providing local support, it is exploring how families can be supported to budget and is developing a bureaucratic ‘exceptions' process which will allow those most at risk to get paid differently.
But the one thing that the Government will not do is what seems the most straightforward: that is, pay Universal Credit fortnightly as now, allow people to claim it by telephone as now, and allow payments to be split within the family as now.
If this doesn't happen though, then our report makes a number of recommendations for how we can reduce the risks for those most likely to become more excluded under Universal Credit. In particular we want to see simple, efficient and accessible support for those who cannot manage their claims online; better financial support for claimants in managing the move to monthly payments; and more personalised and flexible face-to-face support to help people move back into work.
Successive governments have had chequered histories in delivering major benefit reforms. In less than a year, we will start the biggest yet - affecting more than 10 million families nationwide. It's not too late to get it right.
Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
- 03 May
MANY MAY STRUGGLE AS A RESULT OF CHANGES TO THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM
The study envisages the following issues from the move which is expected to save the taxman £1billion a year by 2021:Chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham said:"This cut...
- 13 Mar
CIH SCOTLAND POINTS OUT ISSUES WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW SINGLE PAYMENT ON UNIVERSAL CREDIT
Following recent warnings from the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee about problems with the new Universal Credit system, CIH Scotland has pointed out some issues with the...
- 23 Nov
THE LHA CAP WILL APPLY TO ALL TENANTS THAT RECEIVE UNIVERSAL CREDIT
These details were stated by the government:Lord Freud announced in a ministerial statement that this would "ensure simplicity and a streamlined process". He also said tenants who are moved from...
- 17 Oct
UNIVERSAL CREDIT SET TO EXPAND IN AREAS SERVED BY KIRKINTILLOCH JOBCENTRE
The beneficiaries of this would have to live within one of these postcodes: G64 4, G66 1, G66 2, G66 3, G66 4, G66 5, G66 7 and G66 8.This entitlement means working age people in these postcodes...
- 25 Aug
AFTERMATH OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT DELAYS
The labour MP also said "the minimum six-week payment period faced by new Universal Credit claimants led to reliance on emergency food parcels, triggered debt and rent arrears, and caused health...
- 25 May
FIRST ERROR AND FRAUD FINDINGS FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT
The department's findings show that underpayments due to official errors were considerably higher than for the older Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) Programme, however, the rate of overpayments was...
- 09 Sep
Universal credit targets defended by Iain Duncan Smith
When asked about the effectiveness of the roll-out of universal credit Mr Duncan Smith said: “Universal credit is now available in more than half of jobcentres across Great Britain and will be...
- 18 Aug
Scottish carers are worse off due to universal credit
Child Poverty Action Group has sent a report to Scottish and UK ministers urging them to amend the universal credit regime to pay closer heed to Scotland’s systems and use devolved power to protect...
- 13 Aug
Universal Credit claimants rise to almost 90,000
Figures by the Department for Work and Pensions have found that 89,357 people were claiming universal credit by 9th July which was a rise of 18% compared to 75,426 on 11th June, reports Inside...
- 13 Aug
Scottish government to revamp universal credit
The Scottish Government has decided it wants to give claimants the choice of having their payments made twice a month rather than just once a month on universal credit, reports Scottish Housing...
Exempt Accommodation, Welfare Reform and Vulnerable Tenants Everything was extremely useful. I like to hear about the updated case law and how things are changing. Also like to hear other delegates examples and the responses to their difficulties. Support solutions are excellent. K.B- Jephson Housing Association