What are policy influencers saying? | Mantis Public Relations

What are policy influencers saying?

“I know there is some concern that the switch may cause a ‘mass’ of claimants to fall into arrears at the onset. But that’s not going to be the case. The fact is that claimant transition will be gradual over a four-year period. There will be no big bang effect and we do not expect landlords to suffer sudden losses of income.” Lord Freud, February 2013

“Universal credit is now in real danger of arriving in universal chaos. This scheme is supposed to launch this year, but the RTI [real-time information] system is getting more than a quarter of transactions wrong. This scheme is now in danger of an IT meltdown. If ministers don’t urgently act to fix this soon millions of families’ tax credits will be put at risk.” Labour MP and deputy shadow work and pensions secretary Stephen Timms, via The Guardian, January 2013

“From the tenant’s point of view, it [universal credit] is a massive change from budgeting fortnightly to monthly in arrears. This brings its own problems because he [the tenant] will go a month before he has any money, so he will have to have subs from the Government. Therefore, straight away, he will be in financial difficulties, making it even harder for him to meet his commitments.” Chris Town, Vice Chairman RLA, February 2013

“Some claimants – such as those with mental health problems or drug addiction – may meet the central planner’s definition of vulnerable. But many won’t. For instance, many low income families deal in cash deliberately because they have been stung previously by high charges from banks or because they like the flexibility cash gives them. Some rely on frequent payments to help them ration their expenditure and depend on them to provide structure to their household finances.” Nigel Keohane, Deputy Director, Social Market Foundation, February 2013 (Via Public Finance)

“Our report recognised that the new Universal Credit system is likely to be accessible to the majority of claimants but we expressed serious concerns about how more vulnerable people would cope with the changes….It is essential that claimants have certainty from the outset about how this benefit, which brings together many existing payments, including housing costs, will affect them.” Dame Anne Begg, the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and Labour MP for Aberdeen South, February 2013

“Ministers risk a ‘told you so’ moment in the future if they ignore this constructive warning that the tight timetable and sheer scale of implementation are threatening to get in the way of universal credit delivering on its promises to simplify benefits, make work pay and protect the vulnerable.” Child Poverty Action Group, December 2012

“The Universal Credit delivery team believes, with hindsight, that it put too many technical, organisational and commercial constraints at the beginning of the programme, which has affected its ability to deliver,” NAO report, September 2012 (via Computer Weekly)

“The IT is already mostly built. It is not a single IT system, but is being built part-by-part on an agile basis as well as bringing in existing systems. It is built and tested, on-time and on-budget.” DWP spokesperson, September 2012 (via Computer Weekly)

“The design of Universal Credit should result in improved work incentives and boosts in income for many working families but lack of funding threatens to weaken its impact on child poverty and supporting women into work. New research compiled for Save the Children shows that single parents working longer hours (16 hours or more) on low pay and some second earners will be substantially worse off under the new system. This has serious consequences for children in these families. The impact on single parents alone could push 250,000 children deeper into poverty.” Save The Children report, March 2012

“Universal Credit will provide very clear incentives for claimants to move into work – it’s a far simpler system that will ensure people are better off in work than on benefits. Over 1 million households moving into work will keep more of their pay under Universal Credit and more than 3 million households will be better off.” DWP spokesperson, December 2012

“If Universal Credit is to be successful in helping people out of poverty, it needs to ensure work is truly worthwhile and does not punish people who do the right thing.” Chris Goulden, Head of Poverty, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, December 2012