The Autumn Budget contained a damning admission about the DWP

Philip Hammond and the DWP logo
Steve Topple

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.

Universal chaos?

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.

It said:

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.

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.

Budget revelations

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.

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Featured image via Steve Topple – YouTube and UK government – Wikimedia 

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