Ministers to press ahead with Universal Credit rollout
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke expected to address concerns over welfare claimants missing out on cash as a result of the plans
Image credit: PA
Ministers intend to press ahead with the roll-out of Universal Credit despite protests from backbench MPs.
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke is expected to address concerns, raised by a group of 12 Tory MPs, over welfare claimants missing out on cash as a result of the plans.
The backbenchers have warned the six-week delay between some claimants switching from the old system to Universal Credit can leave them facing serious financial problems.
- Citizens Advice warns Universal Credit roll-out could be ‘catastrophic’
- Universal Credit rollout could leave claimants penniless over Christmas, MPs warn
But the Telegraph reports that Gauke will announce the accelerated roll-out of the all-in-one payment, from five to 50 job centres a month, later today.
Speaking at a Conservative conference fringe in Manchester yesterday, Gauke insisted a system of advance payments was already in place as a safety net for claimants.
He said: “The reality with advance payments is that if you want one you can get it practically straight away so there is no limit that you have to wait two weeks before you get an advance payment.”
He added: “In the most extreme cases if someone says ‘I am literally down to my last few pounds’ it is possible to do a same day bank transfer so they get it on the day.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post he insisted the continued roll-out was not a “reckless or risky approach”.
“If I looked at it and thought this is a mistake I would be agitating to do something to stop it. But I don’t,” he added.
Meanwhile, Theresa May yesterday signalled there would be no pause in the plans when she told the Andrew Marr show: “We need to roll out Universal Credit.”
Cross-Party Group on Consumer Protection for Home Energy Efficiency established after go-ahead from Scottish Parliament’s Standards Committee
Parliamentary sketch: A debate on immigration sees Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw forced to deny being a complicated type of pudding
Scottish Parliament faces calls to recognise sentience of animals after EU protections rejected by Commons
Joe Connolly, CEO of Ypeople, on the particular challenges facing the homeless population in prison