Universal Credit still needs ‘fundamental reform’ in spite of Budget announcements

Universal Credit still needs 'fundamental reform' in spite of Budget announcements

The embattled Universal Credit system still needs “fundamental reform” in spite of funding concessions by Chancellor Philip Hammond in yesterday’s Budget, charities have said.

Mr Hammond yesterday announced “additional measures worth £1 billion over five years” to support the transition to Universal Credit.

He also announced an increase in work allowances in Universal Credit by £1,000 per annum, which he said would benefit 2.4 million working families with children and disabled people by £630 per year.

Mr Hammond told MPs: “Universal Credit is here to stay, and we are putting in the funding it needs to make it a success.”

Responding to the announcement, Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “The Chancellor’s statement makes clear that the government acknowledges there are major problems with Universal Credit.

“Any additional funding is of course welcome, but without more detail we are not convinced the amounts he has announced today will be sufficient to mitigate the very real hardships people are experiencing. We continue to believe that the system needs fundamental reform.”

UK homelessness charity Crisis said the announcements were “a step in the right direction”, but called for additional measures to “help prevent people from becoming homeless”.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: “Our call for dedicated housing and homelessness specialists in Britain’s Jobcentres would provide vital support for people applying for Universal Credit. At the moment, delays and errors in Universal Credit payments are putting some people at a serious risk of becoming homeless. This simply can’t go on.

“The Chancellor’s announcements on Universal Credit today were a step in the right direction, but the government must ensure these specialists are part of the package announced today. If Philip Hammond and the government are serious about their pledge to end rough sleeping, the most visible form of homelessness, by 2027, then they must match their bold promises with equally bold measures to get the job done.”

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