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TOPIC: Adviser is warning about a ‘backlash’ from universal credit

Adviser is warning about a ‘backlash’ from universal credit 10 Apr 2018 08:48 #6931

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Even the government’s own adviser is warning about a ‘backlash’ from universal credit
APRIL 9TH, 2018 Andrea Needham

A government adviser is warning of a “backlash” when millions of people transfer to universal credit.

According to thinktank Resolution Foundation, 3.2 million [pdf,p29] families will be worse off under universal credit, losing an average of £48 a week, or almost £2,500 a year. Single parents will suffer most, with many losing £57 a week, or almost £3,000 a year. Some families will lose as much as £100 a week.

Gradual rollout
The new benefit is being gradually rolled out [pdf] across the country, with the rollout expected to be complete by 2022. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, only 7% of claimants had been moved on to universal credit by January 2017. In 2015/16, over 4m [pdf,p16] families received working tax credits – the predecessor benefit to universal credit – and all of these will be moved onto universal credit over the next few years. Although only a small percentage of people have so far been transferred to universal credit, many stories have emerged of the misery it has caused.

Paul Gray, chair of the independent social security advisory committee has warned that there may be a ‘backlash‘ as significant numbers of people are moved onto universal credit. He said:

As part of the austerity programme, the last government decided it was going to take a substantial chunk out of the welfare budget. But this will now be seen as a problem with universal credit, not a more generic issue about reducing the cost of the welfare system. That poses a significant challenge once those receiving tax credits start to migrate in serious numbers over to universal credit.

“Postive impact”
Last October, Labour won a vote calling for the government to “pause and fix” universal credit. However, the vote was not binding and the government refused to pause the rollout. Secretary of state for work and pensions, Esther McVey, said recently:

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