Universal Credit – Timetable revealed

Iain Duncan Smith has unveiled the timetable for the new Universal Credit that will  come into effect from October 2013.

Twelve million claimants could be claiming the Universal Credit  by 2017 the DWP stated.

Iain Duncan   Smith said:

“Universal   Credit is the most radical redesign of the benefits system this country has   ever seen. From October 2013 it will replace the current costly, outdated   process with a digital system, which will be simpler to use and make work pay   for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

“The programme is on track and on time for implementing from   2013. We are already testing out the process on single and couple claimants,   with stage one and two now complete. Stage 3 is starting ahead of time – to see   how it works for families. And today we have set out our migration plans which   will see nearly twelve million working age benefit claimants migrate onto the   new benefits system by 2017.”

The transition   from the old benefit system to Universal Credit will take place in three phases   over four years, ending in 2017 with around 7.7m households receiving more   support to find more work and be more self-sufficient.

Between   October 2013 and April 2014 – 500,000 new claimants will receive Universal   Credit in place of Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Housing   Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

At the same   time a further 500,000 existing claimants (and their partners and dependants)   will also move on to Universal Credit as and when their circumstances change   significantly, such as when they find work or when a child is born.

From April   2014 the second phase will give priority to households who will benefit most   from the transition such as those Working Tax Credit claimants who currently   work a small number of hours a week but could work more hours with the support   that Universal Credit brings. Overall 3.5 million existing claimants (and their   partners and dependents) will be transferred onto Universal Credit during this   second Phase.

The last and final phase, which   begins at the end of 2015 and runs through to the end of 2017, will see around   3 million households being transferred to Universal Credit by local authority   boundary with a focus on safeguarding financial support, such as Housing   Benefit payments to claimants as the old benefit system winds down.

Updating the House of Lords in a   Written Ministerial Statement, Lord Freud the Minister for Welfare Reform said:

“We recognise   that the move from one welfare system to another needs to be carefully managed   to ensure social outcomes are maximised and no-one is left without support,   which is why we taking a phased approach to Universal Credit both in terms of   moving people onto the benefit and ensuring that the systems are in place to   deliver it.”

Many of the technology building   blocks needed to deliver Universal Credit already exist with the programme   reusing existing, proven IT, which represents about sixty per cent of what is   needed. Although there will be elements that need to be updated and parts which   need to be built from scratch – Ministers are clear that Universal Credit does   not require a major new IT system.

3 Comments

  1. Michael Wolf says:

    Considering all of the billions spent by various government departments over the last 10 years where we were told they would improve efficiency, save huge amounts and benefit the whole of government and the people – but were either never implimented or so far over their due date that they were already outdated by the time that they were finally finished, a government official, of any stature, making wide ranging statements about IT does not instill confidence. In business our stature is based on success not on retoric and failures. Before a government can effectively manage a country they have to first listen to the people and those who know from practical, not educational, experience or only listening to their own voice, and most of all they need to put two words back into their use – common sense!

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  2. Len Taylor says:

    I anticipate the Universal Credit System being a disaster. Unfortunately Government throws vast sums of money at these IT systems, and I can’t think of one that has worked properly, with many being abandoned. This hugely complex system is being rushed in, and I expect there will be numerous problems with it. The worst thing is that when it does all go down the toilet, millions of people who depend on these benefits are going to be left high and dry. Iain Duncan Smith has announced the time scale for the transition, but I expect this will slip by months or years. Frankly, I hope it does fail, because any benefits system that excludes people with more than £6k in savings is a joke. Many have saved hard for their futures, and the futures of their children. Now, they will be forced to spend those savings or lose all their benefits. Disgraceful from a government that claims it wants to encourage people to save for their retirement, and their children’s further education.

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  3. Real Life says:

    This assumption that if you’re self-employed you must be earning money is interesting. In reality this is often not the case – so people will have no incentive to set up businesses that have a long lead in to profitability, or are vocational, or susceptible to disaster. Take farms or market gardens – with the appalling weather and growing supermarket abuse of monopoly purchasing power (over milk, for example) people have had to work thousands of hours this year without earning anything at all – just to keep their businesses alive. Many depend on tax credits (they still have to pay fuel duty, VAT, council tax etc.) to keep afloat and this gives some sectors of the economy a lifeline to continuing productive activity. Under universal credit they will be forced out of business, and that productive activity will cease.

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