William Eichler 23 July 2019

Universal Credit should come with ‘health warning’, MPs say

Universal Credit should come with ‘health warning’, MPs say image

The Department for Work and Pensions should develop ‘clear and comprehensive guidance’ on when a benefit claimant is to be moved onto Universal Credit, MPs have said.

A new report into the Government’s flagship welfare reform from the Work and Pensions Committee has criticised the ‘six-in-one’ benefit and said it should ‘come with a health warning’.

The DWP’s policy of ‘natural migration’, where a claimant is moved from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit, can leave claimants worse off and without the option of returning to their previous benefits – what the department calls the ‘lobster pot’.

The Work and Pensions Committee found that disabled adults and children are among the groups most likely to see their income fall when they move to UC via natural migration. Bereaved people are also likely to be hit hard.

The committee, which is chaired by Frank Field, warned that the circumstances under which someone is moved onto UC are ‘so complex, it baffles even experienced benefit advisers.’

The DWP should work with stakeholders, Mr Field said, to formulate clear guidance on the circumstances under which a claimant will be moved onto Universal Credit.

‘In the history of humankind, has there ever been an example of a Government introducing a fundamental welfare reform and none of its employees being able to tell if it will leave people better or worse off?’ he said.

‘Hardly surprising that baffled and anxious claimants are finding themselves trapped in what the Department chillingly calls the “lobster pot” of Universal Credit, and with much less to live on as a result.

‘The UC application page needs to come with a health warning, and anyone who gets inadvertently caught in DWP’s lobster pot should be compensated.’

A DWP spokesperson said: 'Universal Credit helps people into work faster than the old system and provides targeted support.

'Around one million disabled households will gain an average of £100 more a month, and changes to work allowances mean 2.4 million households will be up to £630 per year better off.'

Best practice in resident ballots image

Best practice in resident ballots

Residents on the South Kilburn Estate overwhelmingly voted in favour of council plans to regenerate their neighbourhood in October 2019. Brent’s strategic director for regeneration and environment Amar Dave shares the lessons learned for other landlords holding resident ballots.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Head of the Gloucestershire Pension Fund

Gloucestershire County Council
up to £71,376
Give your time and talent for the people who gave us theirs. Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Head of Quality, Performance and Systems

Norfolk County Council
£65,817 - £73,638 per annum
Children’s Services in Norfolk are on a rapid upward trajectory. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Social Worker - Youth Offending Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
This post is based in Epping Please ensure you provide a supporting statement when applying for this role. We cannot accept any applications without England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

SEND 16-25 Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
An exciting opportunity has become available in a busy Special Educational Needs team. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine