In his Autumn Budget on Monday 29 October, Philip Hammond made several announcements about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); specifically about Universal Credit. But he didn’t even mention one of the biggest ones. It was buried in the accompanying paperwork.
As the Mirror reported, Hammond made several announcements about the DWP’s contentious benefit. These included an extra £1.7bn for the Universal Credit rollout. And Hammond also said the “work allowance” would go up by £1,000. This is the amount people can earn before the DWP starts cutting their benefits.
But “welfare expert” Lee Healey tweeted the full policy document of the welfare section of Hammond’s budget. In it were the details of the full rollout of the benefit.
In response to feedback on Universal Credit, the implementation schedule has been updated: it will begin in July 2019, as planned, but will end in December 2023.
Here are the official #budget2018 welfare announcements
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Lee Healey (@leehealey_) October 29, 2018
This is significant, because so far rumours of a delay in the rollout have only been just that. The DWP had not confirmed its start date, either.
Currently, in what’s known as “live service”, Universal Credit has been rolled out in certain areas for new claims. Soon, the DWP will move everyone onto “full service“, including those on old benefits. This process was due to start in 2019. But on Tuesday 16 October, the DWP said that the rollout was being delayed.
As the Guardian reported, work and pension secretary Esther McVey had previously said:
Under the process of managed migration, the rollout will be slow and measured… It will start not in January 2019, but later in the year.
And as BBC News revealed, leaked documents showed the rollout would not finish until December 2023.
So we now know that these rumours were true; with Hammond saying the rollout will start next July. But this delay still won’t quieten the anger surrounding the benefit.
– Read more from The Canary on the Autumn Budget.
– Join us so we can keep holding the powerful to account.Support us and go ad-free
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.