A new report published today by the Work and Pensions Committee has posited that the government must test if claimants are “ready” to be transferred over to Universal Credit before their migration, and commit to tests that will help to prevent unnecessary suffering in the lives of claimants.

In the Committee’s report, they call on the government to halt the vote on new regulations that will set the procedure for moving claimants from their current benefits system to Universal Credit under the managed migrations procedures until they have been examined and assessed by MPs, Peers, and SSAC. They also call on the government to extend the “run on” payment, which is currently only available for those claiming housing benefit, JSA and ESA, to all benefits which will exist under the blanket benefit of Universal Credit, and eliminate the five-week period of waiting for their first Universal Credit payment which claimants are forced to endure under managed migration.

Criticising the government’s current managed migration policy, the Committee highlights the issue that the programme’s pilot will not begin until a year after the next phase of transfers over to Universal Credit is “simply not good enough,” adding that it “is simply not good enough: it must commit to setting the tests it will meet before the pilot begins. The tests, and an analysis of whether they have been met, should be published before managed migration moves to scale in 2020.”

Committee chair Frank Field MP said: “The Committee’s main proposals seek to ensure that the risk of moving claimants from the old system of benefits onto Universal Credit lies with the Government and not on the shoulders of poorer people.

“The Government is thankfully making and then remaking its policy on how best to transfer existing claimants onto Universal Credit. It would be a pity if the Government undermined this new way of thinking by not giving Parliament and SSAC enough time to comment on its latest changes before it pushes Parliament into a vote.”

Read the full report here.

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Image: Flickr/Siva Dayalan


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