Sadiq Khan: Universal Credit rollout must be paused
The London mayor warned that the policy poises ‘significant threat of harm’ to society's most vulnerable.
As part of the official submission to the DWP's consultation, Sadiq Khan called on the government to halt its plans to migrate two-million welfare claimants over to the new system by mid 2019.
The Universal Credit system has been plagued with problems, with IT issues, lack of funding and delayed payments causing many recipients to fall into poverty and homelessness after being unable to pay rent.
“We all want a simpler, fairer benefits system that improves the incentive for people to work, but universal credit in its current form falls well short of that,” said Khan.
He added: “If the government does not change tack, the chaotic implementation of this system risks causing considerable disruption to the lives of thousands of Londoners.”
The Mayor's submission said that while Universal Credit had the possibility to deliver needed reforms to the welfare system, in it's current state it had caused "significant hardship" to many in the capital.
“Until now, these problems have only affected new claimants or those who have undergone a change of circumstance that has resulted in ‘natural migration’ to universal credit. The government’s proposed ‘managed migration’ of all remaining working-age benefit claimants next year poses a significant threat of harm being caused on a much larger scale if these issues are left unresolved.”
It adds: “The most serious consequence of managed migration is that it will be the vulnerable who suffer the most.”
Back in June the National Audit Office warned that the current implementation of the system might never achieve on Universal Credit's aims and objectives.
Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, said: “We think the larger claims for universal credit, such as boosted employment, are unlikely to be demonstrable at any point in future. Nor for that matter will value for money.”
A DWP spokesperson said “Previous administrations poured billions into an outdated system with a complex myriad of benefits, which locked some people into cycles of welfare dependency. We are building a benefit system fit for the 21st century, providing flexible, person-centred support, with evidence showing universal credit claimants getting into work faster and staying in work longer."