Government to delay Universal Credit roll out to Amber Valley

Citizens Advice says that people receiving welfare benefits can expect Universal Credit to arrive in June 2018.
Citizens Advice says that people receiving welfare benefits can expect Universal Credit to arrive in June 2018.

A financial advice charity has welcomed the Government’s decision to delay the roll out of the troubled Universal Credit system to Amber Valley.

Citizens Advice bosses say the full service is now expected to arrive in June, 2018, three months later than originally scheduled.

The move was quietly revealed in documents accompanying Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget on Wednesday, November 22, and follows mounting criticism of the single benefit system’s introduction.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts’ spokesman Katy Stead said: “Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts has been calling for urgent change, so we welcome the slowed down timetable.

“The chancellor’s announcements in the budget and this delay are important steps towards fixing the problems with Universal Credit, and show the Government is acting on our evidence about the impact it’s having on people’s lives.”

The introduction of the new system has seen many claimants pushed into hardship as they were transferred from other benefits.

To address those problems, the Government has now set aside £1.5billion to prevent Housing Benefit claimants falling into rent arrears, and offer advance payments to get people through their first month, repayable over a year.

The Budget also removed the seven-day waiting period at the start of any new claims.

Katy said: “We’re continuing to support our clients during this time and will keep a close eye on the roll-out to ensure people aren’t pushed into debt and hardship when it does come.

“However it’s too late for our clients in Erewash already facing hardship.”

She added: “The next step will be to make changes to work incentives, so that no one is left worse off under Universal Credit than they would be under previous benefits.”