With just four sitting days before the House of Commons rises for summer recess, the Work and Pensions Select Committee has today published a series of correspondence about plans for moving to the next phase of Universal Credit – so called ‘managed migration’.
This includes a pilot phase that Government was insisting as recently as two weeks ago would commence in July.
Before the pilot of managed migration could begin, however, Parliament would need to pass new regulations – themselves the source of grave concern from all sides of the House, Commons and Lords committees and the Social Security Advisory Committee.
With no sign that those regulations will be put to Parliament this week, it seems clear that the pilot will not be starting on time, or anytime soon.
Despite this, the latest letter from Secretary of State Amber Rudd, sent on 8 July, states that:
In a series of cases on the “disability premiums” that existed under legacy benefits, in recognition of the considerable extra costs of living for disabled people, the courts decided that compensation was owed to disabled claimants who had begun to be “naturally migrated” to Universal Credit with nothing to protect them from the sudden loss of income many disabled people, including disabled children, will experience under UC.
The Government has failed to either pass the new regulations so that it can pay the compensation owes to vulnerable, disabled claimants wrongly cut off from extra support they desperately need as they were moved to Universal Credit under “natural migration”, or separate those compensations payments out from the managed migration regulations entirely and just get on with paying tens of thousands of disabled claimants who’ve been waiting months for compensation the courts said they’re owed.
The Committee has repeatedly asked Government to do just that: in this chain of correspondence DWP refuses at some length to do so, but provides no evidence why it can’t.
Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “Last year the Government belatedly accepted that it had been wrong to push some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens onto Universal Credit, slashing their incomes in the process.
“But more than a year on, about 10,000 people are still waiting for compensation.
“Why won’t the Government stop fighting this all the way through the courts, and just get on with giving disabled people the money they’re owed?”
Tomorrow, Tuesday 23 July, the Committee will publish its report on ‘natural migration’ to Universal Credit.
On Wednesday morning at 10:30, Secretary of State Amber Rudd will give evidence before the House rises for summer on a range of topics likely to include aspects of Universal Credit, from the migration pathways to problems with fraud and error.