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Evidence has emerged that the DWP believes that universal credit (UC) is dead. Officially the department insists that ‘the vast majority’ of around 7 million recipients will move onto the benefit during 2016-17. Privately, however, the department is no longer predicting that there will be any universal credit appeals between now and 2019.

The revelation was made in the April edition of the Judicial Information Bulletin –which goes out to all tribunal members - by Judge Robert Martin, the outgoing president of the social entitlement chamber which deals with benefits tribunals.

Several times a year the DWP provides the tribunals service with estimates of how many appeals are likely to be generated in the next five years. This is vital for the tribunals service, who need to be able to plan how many staff to recruit and how many venues to provide for hearings. The DWP give estimates for each different type of benefit, as tribunals may be constituted differently depending on the benefit involved.

The Judge reveals that in its April 2013 forecast the DWP estimated that there would be 1,355 UC appeals in 2013-14 and 77,926 UC appeals in 2014-15. In fact, by the end of March 2014, due to the tiny number of claimants who have been able to claim UC, there had been just three appeals.

The DWP made further forecasts in December 2013 and most recently in April 2014. In the last of these the DWP estimated that there would be:

393,000 appeals in 2014-15

456,000 appeals in 2015-16

622,000 appeals in 2016-17

553,000 appeals in 2017-18

340,000 appeals in 2018-19

However, Judge Martin reveals that none of these appeals are now predicted by the DWP to be for universal credit.

It is not credible that the DWP now imagines that no claimant of UC will appeal in the next five years. The only reasonable explanation, therefore, is that the DWP now expect there to be so few people receiving the benefit that the number of appeals generated will be too small to make provision for.

In other words, when planning for the future in the real world rather than the world of departmental spin and propaganda, the DWP are making no provision whatsoever for UC.

The DWP seem unlikely to be grateful to Judge Martin for his disclosure, one of several in the article ‘Dark matter’ which can be downloaded from the Rightsnet discussion forum


+1 #5 velvet 2014-06-18 12:14
OK shoot me down and hate me but this for me is terrible news - I have been dreaming of UC and demanding my jobcentre give me a date for it. My condition is variable - I have patches where I am OK and patches where I am not, and I desperately want to work. Under the current system employers do not look well at me and I cannot take temporary work because it means stopping and starting claims and we all know what that means. UC was offering the hope that I could work when able and not worry about benefits when too ill. I have never understood the total objection to it - yes I know parts of it were awful but what was wrong with condemning the awful parts and getting them changed and keeping the whole?
+3 #4 suziq 2014-06-12 06:08
The decent thing would be for IDS to admit the cock up and take responsibility. Of course this won't happen and Labour will be left to inherit a massive and toxic PR issue when they take office in 2015. Every aspect of the flagship Welfare Reform Act has, or is, being shown to be unfit for purpose, from UC to bedroom tax and the benefit cap and PIP; the whole rancid edifice was a misguided and arrogant mission that has destroyed lives, cost millions, and should never have been passed by Parliament. God help the next Government as things can only get worse until someone competent takes charge and scraps the whole lot.
+4 #3 jima1 2014-06-10 18:27
This is very good news that HH Judge Martin has had the balls to speak out in his position as retiring President of the Social Chamber of the Tribunals Service which deals with all Social Security and Child Support
about Universal Credit.

I have had the pleasure of meeting HH Judge Martin when I sat on DLA Tribunals.

I also had the pleasure of meeting his predecessor HH Judge Michael Harris, who severely criticised the quality of Decision Makers decisions in sickness and disability benefits and that was before Universal Credit, ESA and PIP were thought of.

It is good for democracy that Judges will criticise in public, when the DWP get things wrong.
+4 #2 Eliza1091 2014-06-09 19:32
Oh fantastc work by you guys at B&W. What a mighty series of news scoops. Still can't believe I lived to see some of this coming through. Remain gutted for the souls that never made it due to this apocalyptic mess.
+4 #1 stuart52 2014-06-09 19:17
UC is dead?..or is it UC is dead!!!, does this mean or could it mean that it will never happen? what about the wasted money? and most important what about the imbecile IDS? is this is correct and I have read the story right at the very least he should lose his job.

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