Posts Tagged ‘universal credit’

Universal Credit… the warning

According to the Shadow Employment minister Stephen Timms, the current tax credit system was better at supporting people who wanted to escape unemployment by setting up their own business.

However, Labour has claimed that the Government’s Universal Credit could hit small business start-ups, .

During Work and Pensions Questions in the Commons Stephen Timms said:

“The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group has said tax credits today support self-employment much better than the proposals for universal credit will in the future. This is because universal credit will assume people are earning at least the minimum wage which is completely unrealistic in the early years of self employment.

He asked the government to look again at this particular issue with universal credit, at least for the first year or two of self employment…

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:

We will be monitoring very carefully how decisions we take around Universal Credit work.


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Thank you and seasons greetings

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Welfare Reform: Where are we?

House of Lords that’s where


The 2011 Welfare Reform Bill is now in Grand Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

  • It will replace existing out-of-work benefits and tax credits with a single Universal Credit.
  • In-work conditionality (see Briefing note 11) will be defined by an earnings threshold: the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the national minimum wage (currently £212.80). Workers who fall below this threshold must increase their work.


  • The threshold for single parents with a child under 13 will be about 20 hours with gross pay of £120. With children over 12 they will be expected to work full time within 90 minutes of their home.


  • Conditionality will be Personalised (see Briefing note 12). Mothers and fathers will be treated as separate individuals rather than as a family. With a child under 13, one must be designated as the carer who will be under the same conditionality as a single parent. The other will be treated as a single worker. A couple with children over 12 will both be expected to work 35 hours.



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DWP contract awarded to Accenture

The Department for Work and Pensions has awarded Accenture a contract, worth £50m to £70m annually, to develop and deliver a computer application to assist in the delivery of Universal Credit. The contract is to last up to seven years and is said to help the DWP make substantial cost-savings in its delivery of the new streamlined benefit.

Mark Luons, Accenture’s UK and Ireland managing director for Health and Public Service said:

“This new contract builds on our longstanding relationship with DWP and the successful delivery of similar projects with other public-sector clients, based on the deep industry skills and insight from our global network.”

Accenture have announced that the main subcontractor in the delivery of the contract will be Atos based on its strong track record in delivering for DWP.

….Read more

… See our previous posts on Atos


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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Iain Duncan Smith sets out next steps for moving claimants onto Universal Credit

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has set out the Government’s timetable for moving 12 million benefit claimants onto the new Universal Credit benefit by 2017.

The Universal Credit IT programme has been reported to be progressing well with 30% of the new technology already complete and on budget.

Iain Duncan Smith said:

“Universal Credit is the most radical redesign of the benefits system this country has ever seen. From October 2013 it will replace the current costly, outdated process with a digital system, which will be simpler to use and make work pay for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.

“The programme is on track and on time for implementing from 2013. We are already testing out the process on single and couple claimants, with stage one and two now complete. Stage 3 is starting ahead of time – to see how it works for families. And today we have set out our migration plans which will see nearly twelve million working age benefit claimants migrate onto the new benefits system by 2017.”

Updating the House of Lords in a Written Ministerial Statement, Lord Freud the Minister for Welfare Reform said:

“We recognise that the move from one welfare system to another needs to be carefully managed to ensure social outcomes are maximised and no-one is left without support, which is why we taking a phased approach to Universal Credit both in terms of moving people onto the benefit and ensuring that the systems are in place to deliver it.”

The move from the old benefit system to Universal Credit will take place in three phases over 4 years, ending in 2017.

Read more about the three phases of the transition.

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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Benefit Apps

An app is being developed in order to enable households applying for the new benefit, Universal Credit, to do so online. The minister for welfare reform Lord Freud has said that 80% of claimants, -more than 6 million households, will claim universal credit online by 2017.

The aim is to have half of all claimants online by 2013-14, instead of less than 20% at present.

The new plans represent a big shift away from paper-based claims towards a form of digital welfare.

“This is the most radical redesign of the welfare system since its creation and we are taking an equally radical approach to the design and build of technology to deliver it,” Freud said.

Freud admitted:

“It is one thing to have policy, but delivery is equally important. The current welfare system is broken.”

Universal credit will change the current system by integrating both in-work tax credits and out-of-work benefits.

Click here for the full article

welfare to work

work programme

welfare reform

 Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support


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Childcare support to be paid to 80,000 more households under Universal Credit

Reaffirming their commitment to helping parents with the costs of childcare, Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith have announced that the Government will invest an additional £300 million into childcare support, on top of the £2bn already spent under the current system.

Currently, childcare support is only available if you work 16 hours or more, but the Government is removing the minimum hours rule so that all families receiving Universal Credit will be eligible for financial help. This means that families on low incomes will receive more support to keep them in work.

As now families will be able to recover childcare costs at 70 per cent – up to £175 for one child or £300 for two or more children per week. The money will be paid through Universal Credit from 2013 and will mean that around 80,000 more families with children will be able to work the hours they choose.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:

“Under Universal Credit more people will receive support for childcare than they do now. Parents will be able to work the hours to suit their families and receive the childcare support they deserve. We will target support at those making the first steps into work – support won’t just be available for those working more than 16 hours, it will also be there for those working fewer than 16 hours.”

Costs can vary, but for those paying average childcare costs, this would enable parents to buy up to around 40 hours of childcare a week.

Website: DWP


Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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