Harrogate is the unlucky town selected by the DWP to host the pilot of managed migration, the movement of claimants off income-related ESA and other legacy benefits and onto universal credit, probably starting in July.
The DWP says that Harrogate was chosen because of a range of factors, including the local jobcentre’s significant experience of Universal Credit.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd said:
“Moving people from the old and outdated benefits system to Universal Credit is a positive and important moment.
“But the switch needs to be done carefully which is why we are taking a step-by-step approach to this, starting in Harrogate.
“I want to be sure that the switch to Universal Credit is a hassle free process for claimants and everyone receives the personalised service they deserve.”
According to the DWP, ‘additional support will be put in place at Harrogate Jobcentre Plus, including bespoke support that will also be on hand for vulnerable claimants, including home visits.’
Indeed, the probability is that claimants in the pilot areas will receive a level of support that will be far above what claimants in other areas can expect, when the full rollout takes place.
Because the main purpose of the pilot is to persuade increasingly sceptical Tory MPs that the rollout can be managed without it causing a huge loss of votes.
So claimants in Harrogate may get the best experience of managed migration, but they will still have the misfortune to be the first to be forced to move.