Universal Credit full implementation delayed until 2022
The controversial Universal Credit benefits reforms have faced a further blow as the government announced that they will now not be fully implemented until 2022.
Universal Credit was initially due to be rolled out by 2021, but the programme has faced criticism, with the Resolution Foundation warning that it risks delivering unsustainable benefits cuts
In a statement to the House of Commons, Damian Green, the new work and pensions secretary, said: “The government has taken account of the comments by the NAO and PAC that the existing rollout plan contains no contingency, and the risks to delivery that brings.
“For the first time since Universal Credit was announced in 2010, we will put specific contingency into the plan from September 2018 until June 2019. The managed migration of existing benefit claims will start in July 2019 and complete in March 2022.”
Universal Credit was initially intended to incorporate all benefits, but Green said the incorporation of housing benefit for pensioners into pension credit will not now begin until after Universal Credit is introduced.
Green said that child tax credits and Universal Credit would still only apply to a family’s first two children. This policy has attracted controversy, particularly for an element which appears to suggest that women who have a child as a result of rape will have to provide proof to be eligible for an exemption.
However, Green said that new claims from families with more than two children would now be directed to tax credits until November 2018.
The policy to remove the higher rate of child element for the first child in Universal Credit will also only apply where the first child is born after 6 April 2017.
Green also announced that Universal Credit will next be implemented in Port Glasgow, Greenock and Kirkintilloch in Scotland in November 2016.
It will then be implemented in Corby, Southampton, Newcastle East, Warrington and Poplar in February 2017 and Hinckley, Dalkeith, Newcastle West, Penicuik and City Tower in March.
(Image c. Kirsty Wigglesworth from PA Wire)
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