The Department for Work & Pensions (the Department) is introducing Universal Credit to replace six means-tested benefits. The Department started work on Universal Credit in 2010 with an original completion date of October 2017. However, the government ‘reset’ the programme in 2013, following a series of problems managing the programme and developing the necessary technology. The Department introduced a twin-track approach in November 2013. It started to develop its long-term digital solution, known as ‘full service’, alongside making use of the systems it had built before the reset for its ‘live service’ (available mainly to single unemployed claimants with straightforward claims).
Since the Department began rolling out full service in May 2016 there have been several further delays to the programme, which is now unlikely to complete before 2023. By the end of March 2018 the Department had spent £1.3 billion of the £2 billion it expects to invest in the programme by 2024–25, and by June 2018, 980,000 people (around 12% of the expected caseload) were claiming Universal Credit. A further 7.5 million people are still to come onto the new benefit before the programme completes.
Published: 26 October 2018