Universal credit roll-out slowed and impact assessed
The roll-out of the government’s flagship welfare programme is to be overhauled amid dire warnings about its impact on the vulnerable.
Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, is said to be set to scrap plans for an imminent parliamentary vote allowing 3 million existing welfare claimants to be transferred to the controversial universal credit system.
Rudd, who took up the post in November, will now seek approval from MPs only for a pilot scheme that transfers just 10,000 people from the old to the new system. Only after the pilot has been assessed will MPs be asked to approve the full roll-out.
The shift comes after a stream of concerns from charities, MPs and campaigners about the impact universal credit has had on claimants new to the benefits system, with claims that it has fuelled debt, homelessness and the use of food banks.