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.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Children With Disabilities (CWD) - Chelmsford

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum + Free Parking & Great Benefits
Please note that this opportunity is NOT OPEN to Newly Qualified Social Workers. In line with the newly created Skills and Capability Framework for England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Economic Data Analyst - SELEP - South East LEP Area

Essex County Council
£30906.0 - £34017 per annum + + Great Benefits Package
Please note that while listed with Chelmsford as the primary location, existing members of the SELEP team reside across Essex, Kent, East Sussex and b England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Sector Engagement Lead - SELEP - South East LEP Area

Essex County Council
£39168.0 - £43299 per annum + + Benefits Package
Please note that while listed with Chelmsford as the primary location, existing members of the SELEP team reside across Essex, Kent, East Sussex and b England, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director for Adult Health & Social Care

Nottingham City Council
circa £103,000
We are really excited to offer a unique opportunity to join our Leadership Team as our new Director for Adult Health and Social Care Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Nottingham City Council

Finance Assistant (P2P & Income)

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Job Purpose Purchase to Pay (P2P) and Income aims to provide a comprehensive financial transactional and support service, maximising new and innovat England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County 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