Accelerated Universal Credit rollout after north west success
Posted by APM on 27th Oct 2014
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith announced that Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and local authorities across the country from early next year.
This marks a significant acceleration in one of the governments biggest reforms and is a sign of the success of the policy following a number of delays and concerns about the project. This expansion will be for new claims from single jobseekers.
Universal Credit brings together six benefits and tax credits into one. The new service is already available in over 50 Jobcentres in England, Wales and Scotland, and will be available in nearly 100 Jobcentres by Christmas.
Iain Duncan Smith said: We are going to accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit from the New Year, bringing forward the national rollout through 2015/16 to every single community across Great Britain.
It is bringing up to 35 billion in economic benefits to Britain over the next decade, helping people to get into work quicker and stay in it longer, making a lasting difference to peoples lives now and for generations to come. Universal Credit is going nationwide. I promise you we are going to finish what we started.
Universal Credit is a key part of the Governments long-term economic plan and is transforming the welfare state in Britain by tackling poverty and welfare dependency.
The Universal Credit Test and Learn approach is designed to drive continuous improvement of the service ensuring it is built on experience and evidence.
This plan will ensure Universal Credit is established across Great Britain with new claims to legacy benefits closed from 2016 with migration to follow thereafter.
The Secretary of State also said: I would like to record here my thanks to Howard Shiplee, who has led the programme since 2013. Drawing on his significant experience of managing risk in major complex programmes, his initial plan announced in December 2013, is being delivered on time and on budget.
The plan announced today on his recommendation, starts national roll out in 2015 as part of a longer term plan which has been assured by the Major Projects Authority and approved by HM Treasury.
Howard has always been clear that, as the programme moves into national delivery, the programme must be led by someone with strong operational experience. So I am pleased to announce that, on his recommendation and with the approval of the Major Projects Authority, the new senior responsible officer for Universal Credit will be Neil Couling.
To date 26,000 people have applied for Universal Credit with the national expansion starting in February 2015.