Universal Credit Question

On Tuesday 25th November, Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, made a statement to the House on Universal Credit. As many of you will already know, I serve on the Work and Pensions Select Committee which examines the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Work and Pensions and its associated public bodies.

As some of you may already be aware, Universal Credit is a new single payment being introduced by this Government for people who are looking for work or on a low income. Universal Credit promises to help claimants and their families to become more independent and will reform and simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. I am committed to making sure it delivers this for my constituents.

Universal Credit will replace income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.

I assist a number of my constituents with any problems they encounter when claiming welfare and my membership of the work and pensions select committee means I have a very good understanding of all things Work and Pensions.

I have been contacted by constituents in the past about Universal Credit with concerns about the future of Universal Credit and what it will mean for them. I believe Universal Credit will deliver real improvements to the way benefits are paid to claimants and I welcome this.

I asked the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith to confirm whether the Treasury has signed off on the business case and he laid to rest fears that this might not happen. Universal Credit has already faced some delays in its roll-out and I am eager to see progress made, any delay from the Treasury would set the project back further. In his response, the Secretary of State assured me that this has happened. This is welcome news, I want to see Universal Credit introduced to streamline benefits and help my constituents with this simplified benefits system.

You can read my question to the Secretary of State and his response below:

Nigel Mills MP: I welcome the progress announced in the Secretary of State’s statement. Will he confirm that the Treasury has now signed off the whole business case and laid to rest the fear that it was not going to do so?

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: That is exactly what was being asked before the summer break, and the answer is that the Treasury has done that. The MPA has also signed off the roll-out process in saying that it de-risks the nature of the roll-out and approves it exactly as it stands at the moment.

You can read the Secretary of State’s full statement on Universal Credit here.