William Eichler 06 September 2018

Universal Credit entering ‘most difficult phase’, think tank warns

Universal Credit entering ‘most difficult phase’, think tank warns image

The Government should speed up Universal Credit payments if it wants its flagship welfare reform to be successful, think tank says.

This Autumn will see the final stage of the roll out of UC decided upon in Parliament - a phase which will involve moving 2.1 million families currently claiming benefits onto the new system.

A report from the think tank Resolution Foundation warns this will be the ‘most difficult phase’ because it involves people that have not chosen to apply for the new benefit.

Entitled The benefits of moving, the report notes the welfare reform enjoys cross-party support because of two key advantages: improved financial incentives and higher-take up for the simplified benefit.

However, it argued the first advantage has been undermined by cuts in the 2015 Summer Budget that reduced the generosity of the scheme.

It also warned the financial incentives for single parents and second earners to enter and progress in work are weak.

The think tank stressed that upholding the second advantage of UC - higher take-up - should be a top priority for the Government.

It argued that the potential gains from higher take-up are ‘significant’, with the OBR estimating that 700,000 families could gain around £2.9bn in total.

The benefits of moving argued that Whitehall needs to sort out the ‘design flaws’ in the new benefit system in order to encourage take-up.

This, it recommended, could be done by speeding up UC payments, reducing the financial risks to claimants that might come from the new system’s teething problems, and by boosting the financial incentives.

‘Universal Credit enjoyed almost universal support when it was first announced. But its reputation has been undermined in recent years by significant cuts and payment delays that have left too many claimants in difficult financial straits,’ David Finch, senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

‘But despite these problems, the rollout of Universal Credit is still going ahead and is in fact about to enter its most difficult phase as two million families already claiming benefits start to be moved onto the new system – including one million just about managing families.

‘Get this final phase of the rollout right and it could help to reboot Universal Credit’s reputation, but get things wrong and UC’s reputation risks taking another battering, and worryingly some families could be put off claiming UC altogether.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Catering Assistant x3 - Great Notley Country Park

Essex County Council
Up to £8.72 per hour
Please note that these roles are being offer as a permanent contract but on an as and when basis. We would expect you to be able to work 20 - 30 hours a week most weeks. England, Essex, Braintree
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Catering Assistant - Cook x2 - Great Notley Country Park

Essex County Council
£17500 - £19329 per annum + Plus Benefits Package
We hope to be able to have these position start for mid July 2020. England, Essex, Braintree
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director of Governance and Compliance

Cheshire East Council
Six-figure salary negotiable on experience
Looking for a talented leader who is comfortable working at a strategic level as well as someone with a track record of sound operational management. Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Director of Corporate Property

Westminster City Council
Competitive Salary
This is a senior role within the Council and so the key to the success will be leadership, engagement and... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Property Manager Temporary Accommodation

Hackney London Borough Council
£55,233 - £56,289
We’re looking for someone who is energetic, focused and committed to managing and improving our buildings in a fast paced team. Hackney, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hackney London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue