Committee recommends overhaul of Universal Support

The Work and Pensions Committee has published its review of Universal Support, the programme of support available to claimants of Universal Credit.

It says the Government "must not proceed" with moving existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit until "a new, flexible, discretionary approach to debt management, drawing on best practice in the retail sector" is in place - and working. The Department is currently planning to start moving claimants over from mid-2019. 

The committee states that the five-week wait built into Universal Credit risks causing or compounding debt problems, and the Advance Payments introduced to tide claimants over are themselves a further debt. Persistent debt can prevent claimants from finding and staying in work, and the extra costs and pressures of debt can quickly spiral out of control.  DWP's aggressive approach to collecting debts owed by claimants to Government and third parties can compound matters further, leaving claimants "swimming against a tide of unmanageable repayments" which "pile debt upon debt, trapping people in a downward spiral of debt and hardship".  DWP "must not proceed with managed migration until it has assessed the contribution that the five week wait makes to claimant debt" and reformed its own debt collection practices.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-sel...