MP blasts government over plans for next phase of Universal Credit roll-out
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30 Jul 2019
West MP Margaret Greenwood has demanded that the government allows time for MPs
to properly debate and vote on regulations for a pilot of the next phase of the
roll out of Universal Credit.
MP Margaret Greenwood, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Work and
Pensions, criticised the government after it introduced the regulations to
Parliament the day before a new Prime Minister was announced, and three days
before the start of the summer recess.
regulations allow for the government to create a so-called ‘managed migration’
pilot whereby up to 10,000 claimants of legacy benefits such as Tax Credits and
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be moved over to Universal Credit.
Under these regulations the government has the ability to
stop people’s benefits if they don’t apply for Universal Credit by a specific
powers put the onus on the claimant to successfully claim Universal Credit,
rather than on the government to maintain essential social security.
government had previously committed to allowing a
debate and a vote in the House of Commons prior to the pilot of managed
migration commencing, but has now seemingly gone back on this.
The government intends on carrying out the
pilot in Harrogate and may extend it to other areas – although it hasn’t
specified where the other areas might be yet.
regulations also provide for payments to people who received Severe Disability
Premium (which doesn’t exist in Universal Credit) as part of their legacy
benefit claim and lost out financially when they moved to Universal Credit.
Greenwood MP is extremely concerned that the Government has taken over a year
to make good on a pledge made in June 2018 to make those payments which even
now do not appear to reflect that loss in full.
13,000 severely disabled people have been affected according to the latest
Government figures available. The Disability Benefits Consortium, a group of 80
voluntary organisations working with disabled people, estimates that the most
severely disabled people have typically lost out on around £180 a month of much
needed support, but the rate that the Government has set for the payments to
them in the regulations is £120 a month.
government has brought forward these regulations for a pilot of 10,000 people
who are on existing benefits to be transferred to Universal Credit without
allowing a debate and a vote in Parliament, despite committing to this
government has given itself the power under the pilot to stop people’s benefits if they don’t apply for Universal Credit by a
“This is unacceptable, and I am particularly concerned
about how this will impact the most vulnerable, particularly given the well-documented
problems that many people have in making a claim.
“Labour is calling on the government to make provision
for these regulations to be debated - and voted on - in the House of Commons at
the earliest possible opportunity.
is immense public interest in Universal Credit because of the
real hardship that many people claiming it are suffering. Universal Credit is
deeply flawed and the government should stop the roll-out of it rather than
beginning the next phase with this pilot.
regulations also provide for payments to severely disabled people. It is
shocking that the government has only just brought forward regulations to make
these payments. Over 13,000 severely disabled people have been affected by the
delay and some people have waited over a year.
severely disabled people affected deserve an apology. Instead, the government
chose to make its announcement just before the appointment of the new Prime
Minister when attention was elsewhere.”