Universal credit ‘will miss 2017 deadline’ – IDS

The full nationwide roll-out of the coalition government’s new universal credit system is not now expected to meet the 2017 target, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said. The admission came at the end of a written statement slipped out on the same day as the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.
 Under the original timetable, one million people were to have been switched to universal credit by the end of 2014. But the plan has been hit by information technology problems, and the DWP now says it will delay the roll-out until testing of new systems is complete. Most existing benefit claimants will still have been moved over to universal credit during 2016 and 2017 – but it is expected that there will still be some claiming the old benefits into 2018.
 The announcement came as separate figures released by the DWP showed just 2,150 people in the pathfinder areas receiving universal credit, up to September 2013. That compares with the original April 2014 target of one million (since downgraded to 184,000, a target that will also not be met).
 Source: Written Ministerial Statement 5 December 2013, columns 65-66WS, House of Commons Hansard, TSO | Universal Credit Claimants in Pathfinder Areas – Experimental Official Statistics to September 2013, Department for Work and Pensions
 Links: Hansard | DWP press release | Pathfinder statistics | Citizens Advice press release | TUC press release | BBC report | Inside Housing report | New Statesman report | Public Finance report

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