Often said that Universal Credit is fine in theory, by which I think is meant making judgements outside of the total impartibility of the scheme which is years late and relies on too many things to be got right. And of course a reminder that it is not “Universal” cos it doesn’t include Council Tax Support which people will lose if they don’t claim early enough.
The scheme is thought good in principle cos it combines 6 payments so ought to mean less money lost on administration. But it relies on employers being able to report quickly and effectively, relies on clients having IT access and skills, and presumes there wasn’t an agenda to reduce the amount of money issued. It is also vulnerable to pratfalls associated with some firms paying out money early for Christmas.
Trying to help clients make claims and appeals too has become trickier with the loss of printed letters to work with.
The roll-out has now happened in Nottingham and new claimants & claimants with new circumstances are now being transferred to Universal Credit – although not for claims involving 3 children or more.
Meanwhile cuts are significantly affecting people with disabilities or disabled children.
Then there’s the gap that comes with moving from payment as is needed yo payment a month later.
The responsibility falling upon tenants to pay rent rather than money being paid directly to the landlord has also caused challenges and unwelcome changes. Nottingham City Homes are working very hard and getting rent paid first. But social housing agencies elsewhere are deciding. not to take people who are not run employment which given some of them used to be council house providers is just shocking, especially since we’ve just celebrated the end of World war 1 and homes for heroes. Some private landlords have also given up offering homes, whilst the rent being demanded has gone up generally. Since 2015, the benefit available for renting – local housing allowance – has been frozen, such that only 1 house within 5 miles of The Meadows, advertised by Right Move is available for within £50 more than the allowance.
Meanwhile, if a claim for support in one of the six aspects goes wrong, it is the whole lump that is affected, not just one part.
So yeah, fine in principle, but in practice, a lot of people are going to get hurt.
Universal Credit has been condemned by Michael Heseltine and John Major.
We rehearsed the matter again at Nottingham City Council recently.
I’m not surprised the Labour Party has said they’ll abolish it.
TO BE RE-REVIEWED.