Just 13 people have been moved during the first six months of the pilot for the managed migration of claimants of legacy benefit such as employment and support allowance (ESA) onto universal credit (UC), it was revealed this week. The timetable for the full roll-out of managed migration now looks under threat
The shock figures were revealed by Will Quince, parliamentary under-secretary for Work and Pensions, answering a commons question on the managed migration pilot.
The pilot was pushed through by the last government and began on 24 July 2019.
It is taking place in Harrogate and is intended to cover 10,000 households.
However, Quince admitted that hardly any claimants have so far been piloted:
“The numbers are relatively small at the moment: just under 80, with around 13 having moved on to universal credit. [Interruption.] I can see that she is shocked, but it has been rather deliberate. My clear instruction to officials was to take this slow and steady, and to go at the pace the claimant requires. I want us to ensure that we have the information necessary to roll out universal credit without leaving anybody behind. We have to get it right.”
Last year the government were planning for the full roll-out of managed migration to take place between November 2020 and late 2023.
However, with such an extraordinarily slow start for the pilot, it now seems possible that managed migration will be considerably delayed.
Whilst this may be a relief to many ESA claimants, the concern is that thousands more will lose out on transitional protection because they will be forced by changes of circumstances to naturally migrate to UC before managed migration affects them.