Warning over ‘serious design flaws’ as Universal Credit rolled out
The controversial Universal Credit benefits system has started to be fully implemented today, despite warnings from the Resolution Foundation about flaws in its design.
Universal Credit is available to jobseekers with families as well as single job seekers in Bath, Newcastle, Bridgewater, Rugby and Lowestoft jobcentres from today.
Universal Credit involves combining jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, working tax credit, child tax credits and housing benefits into one payment, and is designed to encourage benefits claimants back into work and to allow them access to an online account about their benefits claim.
But David Finch, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Universal Credit is in many ways an improvement on the current system, and some families will be better off. But it also has serious design flaws that need to be addressed before it has been fully implemented.
“The weakened rewards for entering work and earning more are particularly worrying, especially for single parents and second earners who are normally sensitive to such incentives.”
The Resolution Foundation has previously warned that Universal Credit has “veered off-track” from its original goals and will leave the poorest families worst off, with 1.3 million losing all in-work support and 1.2 million suffering reductions in benefits.
Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, said: “Universal Credit is transforming lives and is central to our vision of a society where anyone, regardless of their background, can get on in life and reach their potential.”
The Public Accounts Committee and the Institute for Fiscal Studies have also published reports criticising the system.
(Image c. Kirsty Wigglesworth from PA Wire)
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