Universal Credit pushed back to 2024

Caxton

More delays to the full roll-out of the controversial scheme 

4th February 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Campaigners have slammed yet more delays to the full roll-out of universal credit.

The system was meant to be fully live by April 2017, but the new delay will push it back to September 2024 adding £500m to its cost.

Will Quince, welfare delivery minister, said claimants would not lose money as a result of the change.

However campaigners say it is further proof the system is flawed and either needs scrapped or completely reworked.

Citizens Advice Scotland welcomed reports it is to be delayed but warned that the delay must be used to fix problems in the system.  

CAS spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “Our advisers across Scotland see cases every day of people who are on Universal Credit and struggling to make ends meet.

“We have identified a number of fundamental flaws in the design and delivery of the system which contributes to destitution and debt amongst the people who need support. 

“We want to see the long wait for the first payment fixed and the benefit improved so it is better at supporting people in low paid work.

“Delaying the rollout is sensible and we urge the government to use the time to make the important changes we and others have identified.”

The Department of Work and Pensions attributed the latest delay in part to the robustness of the labour market, which has meant that fewer people than expected experienced a change in circumstances, leaving 900,000 more people than expected claiming the old benefits. 

Quince said: "It is right that we revisit our forecasts and plan, and re-plan accordingly - ensuring that the process is working well for people on benefits.

"Claimants will not lose money due to this forecasting change."

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "This will result in transitional protection for a further 900,000 people, which will cost around £500 million over the next five years."