‘National roll out’ of universal credit

The so-called 'national roll out' phase of the new universal credit system from October 2013 will consist of adding just a further six Jobcentres to the scheme, the coalition government has announced. That brings the total to ten, or 1.5 per cent of the total. Universal credit will be introduced in six 'hub jobcentres' – Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Harrogate, Bath and Shotton – alongside the existing four 'pathfinders'.

The only group of claimants included will be single people claiming jobseeker's allowance – one of the simplest groups in casework terms. All new claimants of out-of-work benefits were originally supposed to be included from this October.

The PCS union, representing DWP staff, described the announcement as 'an admission of abject failure'. It also warned of the danger that the limited pilots will be used to justify sweeping cuts in-work benefits, as well as those received by people who are out of work.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, insisted that the 2017 deadline for full implementation of universal credit will still be met.


Source: Written Ministerial Statement 10 July 2013, column 22WS, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
LinksHansard | DWP press release | Speech | PCS press release | BBC report | New Statesman report

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