In spite of pleas and warnings from politicians and charities, the massively speeded up roll-out of universal credit is going ahead. Legislation enabling the roll-out has now been published and David Gauke has confirmed there will be no turning back and no changes to the current system.
Last month we published stories detailing how much concern there was over government plans to roll out UC to 50 areas a month.
We pointed out that the chair of the work and pensions select committee, Frank Field, warned that the plan would lead to ‘a human and political catastrophe’.
We also highlighted Citizens Advice’s view that the expansion of Universal Credit is 'a disaster waiting to happen'.
However, Gauke has ignored all the urgent warning he has been given and given the green light to increasing the speed of the roll-out by a factor of 10, from five areas a month to 50.
The sole action Gauke is taking is:
“refreshing the guidance to DWP staff to ensure that anyone who needs an advance payment will be offered it up-front. Claimants who want an advance payment will not have to wait six weeks. They will receive this advance within 5 working days.”
Whether reminding DWP staff of the guidance they are supposed to follow will really make a dramatic difference to the levels of hardship suffered by UC claimants is something that will quickly become clear over the next few months.