Universal credit set to go ahead despite heavy criticisms
- 18 Sep
Achieving the new Universal Credit scheme is appearing more complicated than it first seemed, but Downing Street dismiss calls to delay it.
The universal credit will replace job seeker's allowance, tax credits, income support, employment and support allowance, and housing benefits, and is intended to simplify benefits with one simple payment allowing claimants to keep more of their benefits when taking paid work. The process will be internet based, where most claimants apply and report changes to their circumstances online.
However, recent debate suggests that achieving this simplicity is proving ferociously complex.
Seventy organisations representing councils, charities, trades unions, businesses and housing groups have submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, with concerns about the effect of changing the payments to monthly, concerns with the IT system, and whether the expected start date of October 2013 could not be pushed back.
The Downing Street spokesman said "it's on track to be implemented in that timetable." Iain Duncan Smith told members of the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee he was confident that the target of 50% of benefit claims being made online by 2013 could be met.
Three key problems facing the Universal Credit scheme were addressed yesterday:
1. Regarding the problem about change from weekly payments to monthly, he insisted that paying benefits weekly or fortnightly made it harder for people who find jobs to adjust to the world at work now that the majority of employers pay monthly.
2. When speaking about the worry of the IT system not being ready, IDS said he has sought advice from major internet retailers such as Amazon about how to keep his Universal Credit systems running, despite electronic sabotage and fraud, which he believes will be one of the biggest challenges for the system, and Lord Freud, the welfare reform minister said that the getting the security system working properly will be one of the biggest challenge; however the pilot has been tested and runs smoothly. Private security companies will be commissioned to develop a system of "identity assurance" to check that only real claimants can get benefits.
3. Another common query is that the need to get claimants to go online will disadvantage and exclude any who cannot or do not want to use the internet, and those who cannot access the internet easily. The Government's target is that 50 per cent of claims will be made online by 2013. However, Duncan Smith has insisted that 30% of claimants are already "willing and able" to use the web, and another 33% are "willing" but "require some support". That left over a third who are either "not literate" in the use of computers or "resistant" but trust relatives, or social services staff to access the system for them.
A spokesman said the project, being pushed through by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, was a vital part of the welfare reform and maintained that it is still on track to go ahead as planned, piloting in April 2013 and set to come into effect gradually from October 2013.
- 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...
Revenue Optimisation "I am really impressed with Support Solutions and how small organisations are supported with information and training" Susan Harrison (Tenant Support Services)