DWP’s Universal Credit announcement welcomed

This Summer, the Department for Work and Pensions were due to begin the process of “managed migration,” moving legacy benefit claimants across to the replacement Universal Credit system. Prior to Christmas, MPs were to be asked to vote and approve the legislation necessary to commence the migration process. The legislation would have covered not only the initial 10,000 people involved in a year long pilot to Summer 2020, but also the remaining 3 million people required to fully complete the migration process.

Both in direct conversations with the Secretary of State, Amber Rudd MP and through her work as a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Heidi Allen convinced Amber of the need for a different approach. Having worked with numerous charities and organisations such as The Trussell Trust, Citizens Advice and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Heidi shared their concerns about the scale of the transfer and fears that the migration design process lacked sufficient detail to ensure the most vulnerable would be seamlessly transitioned onto the new system.

Heidi was therefore delighted when on the 6th January 2019, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced a delay to parliamentary authorisation for the migration process, signalling a change in culture at the department.

The Secretary of State’s announcement means MPs will now only authorise migration of the initial 10,000 people in the pilot phase between July 2019 and July 2020. The Secretary of State will then be required to return to the House of Commons to seek further authorisation to continue with the migration process, once MPs are content that the most complex and vulnerable cases can be transitioned seamlessly.

Commenting Heidi said, “This is a real sign that the DWP under Amber Rudd’s leadership will work in partnership with third sector organisations, listening to their concerns and using their expertise. I am so pleased Amber is listening so actively and now feel confident that the perception of Universal Credit will begin to improve, we will fix its remaining problems and demonstrate that it is a significant improvement on legacy benefit systems.”