"The Government needs to use this delay to work closely with the LGA, councils and stakeholders so that we can provide the best for vulnerable claimants and ensure no-one loses out on transitional protection. "
Responding to the delay to the roll-out of Universal Credit announced today, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said:
“We are pleased that the Government has listened to the concerns of councils and slowed the implementation of Universal Credit (UC) managed migration.
“Real concerns remain about the lack of engagement with local government and local partners about the next phase of implementation.
“The Government needs to use this delay to work closely with the LGA, councils and stakeholders so that we can provide the best for vulnerable claimants and ensure no-one loses out on transitional protection. This is also vital to integrate benefits with work on housing, employment, health and financial inclusion so that our welfare system provides a genuine safety net and supports social mobility.
“Any extra money must also be used to ensure that people are better off on UC, and to fund councils properly for the vital support they provide. This includes restoring funding to councils for local welfare assistance so that they can provide the local safety net to help those struggling to cope with welfare reforms, including the roll out of UC
“The delay to UC means councils will remain responsible for delivering Housing Benefit to a significant majority of claimants while only receiving around half of what it costs to pay for this work. With councils facing a funding gap that will reach almost £8 billion by 2025, they cannot be left to prop up further delays to the UC roll-out without being properly funded.”
Notes to editors
- Read the LGA’s latest briefing on Universal Credit ahead of an Opposition Day Debate tomorrow.