Naomi Larsson 07 January 2019

Rudd delays Universal Credit rollout

Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd has delayed the next phase of the Universal Credit (UC) rollout amid ongoing concerns over the controversial system.

Ms Rudd confirmed the overhaul today, announcing Parliament will vote in the coming weeks to transfer 10,000 people from the old system to UC - instead of three million as originally planned.

She said: ‘UC is a vital reform so I want to roll it out carefully.

‘It means UC can proceed on time and be fit-for-purpose: helping people work and getting support to people quickly.’

The 10,000 will act as a pilot scheme to be assessed before the other existing welfare claimants are moved to the new system. 

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, prime minister Theresa May confirmed UC would be fully implemented by 2023, which is years behind its original schedule.

She said: ‘The reason why it’s important to get it right and why we’ve been taking our time, why we’ve been ensuring that we have made changes as we’ve been learning through this process, is because this is a much better system than the system it replaced.’

The Government’s flagship welfare scheme has been shrouded in controversy, with MPs, campaigners and charities expressing concerns the system has forced claimants into destitution.

Chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, Frank Field, welcomed the Government’s rethink on the rollout.

He said: ‘The Government seems finally to have woken up to the human catastrophe that was waiting to happen under its ill-formed plans for moving people on to UC.’

More than one million people are currently claiming UC.

The Government plans to extend this to almost seven million people by 2023.

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