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The roll-out of Universal Credit

Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017

There will be a debate in Westminster Hall on the roll-out of Universal Credit on 22 March 2017 at 2:30. The debate will be led by Catherine McKinnell MP.

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Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit which is to replace means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working-age individuals and families.  The aim is to simplify and streamline the benefits system, improve work incentives, tackle poverty among low income families, and reduce the scope for error and fraud. 

UC was first introduced for a small subset of new claimants in certain areas in 2013, and is gradually being rolled out to new claimant groups. The benefit is not expected to be fully introduced until 2022.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee re-launched its inquiry into Universal Credit in February 2017 following the receipt of “compelling evidence of the problems in the rollout of Universal Credit.” Landlords have been particularly concerned that UC is resulting in tenants’ accruing rent arrears.

The Employment Minister, Damian Hinds, wrote to the Committee on 1 March 2017 saying that “any arrears of rent associated with UC are likely to be of short duration, cleared relatively quickly and should not present an insurmountable obstacle to landlords over the lifetime of the tenancy.” The Committee Chair, Rt Hon Frank Field, said in response that “it is flabbergasting that the Government continues to keep its head in the sand.”

Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0093

Authors: Steven Kennedy; Wendy Wilson; Diana Perks

Topics: Benefits administration, Benefits policy, Housing benefits, Working age benefits

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