MPs ‘left with no option but to vote down’ unscrutinised new Universal Credit regulations

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Over recent months, MPs on both sides of the House of Commons have pleaded with the Government not to go ahead with transferring claimants from existing benefits to the much troubled Universal Credit until it can guarantee that every claimant would be migrated safely onto the new benefit and none would be left without money. 

Today (4 November) the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee is publishing correspondence with Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Employment (see below), about the Government’s plans for moving people claiming existing benefits onto Universal Credit, ahead of new rules on so-called “managed migration” being laid in Parliament. The Government announced in October that “managed migration” of claimants on to Universal Credit, originally intended to begin in early 2019, would be pushed back.   

The Government’s original plans have been widely criticised by front-line charities and others, with predictions that vulnerable people could be plunged deeper into poverty and even that some people entitled to benefits could be left with no income whatsoever. The rules have been subject to a review by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), who presented their report to DWP earlier in the autumn.

Minister refuses request to share new rules on Managed Migration

In a hearing on 18 October, the Committee asked the Minister to commit to sharing the new version of the rules with the Committee before it was formally given to Parliament, to allow the Committee to determine whether the serious concerns already raised about the plans, including in evidence to the SSAC, have been addressed. In the response being published today the Minister refuses that request. 

The Chair has urgently written again to the Minister (also attached), saying: “Given the strength of the concern about the draft regulations published in June… we can only hope that the revised version has changed beyond recognition […] if the Government has accepted the SSAC’s advice, and has fully addressed the very serious concerns expressed to the SSAC during its consultation, then our scrutiny could be very quick and need not cause any significant delay. Might I therefore ask please whether you could urgently reconsider this decision?”

Chair’s Comment

Comment from Work and Pensions Committee Chair Frank Field MP:

“Having got it so disastrously wrong with its first attempt, you’d think that the Government would want to make sure its plans to move vulnerable people onto Universal Credit stood up to robust scrutiny. Instead, it is choosing to push these regulations through Parliament with no chance for MPs to make amendments. 

That hardly inspires confidence that it has really made the changes needed to ensure that its actions won’t plunge people deeper into poverty. If its new plans don’t have enough safeguards to protect the vulnerable, then MPs will be left with no option but to vote them down.”


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21 thoughts on “MPs ‘left with no option but to vote down’ unscrutinised new Universal Credit regulations

  1. The DUP recently threatened to vote down Universal Credit, but said that they would back the Budget. In my opinion, Tory MPs would be reluctant to defeat the Government unless they strongly believed that the DWP’s flagship policy would cost them the next general election.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I really hope that there isn’t any life after death, because the hugely tramatic life I have had since being born 47 years ago, I Do Not want another life Ever!!!
      My life has been like torture in a civilised country, I use the word civilised very very loosely, I am Not exaggerating at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. 84MPs have a smaller majority than constituents to be migrated.thats enough for an election landslide but the way john macdonald was slapped down by the party for saying labour would scrap it was telling and shows thay just dont get it an thayv got a lot of guilty humble pie avoidance going on . That would involve labour admitting they have been complicit usefull idiots and have failed to carry out the basic job description of the opposition,to OPPOSE. had the 160 cowards who abstained on the welfare vote done the job UC would have been killed off then. so they should apolagise to there core voters for failing them and macdonald whos bang on right,get there heads out of there arses, stop supporting an enabling UC and this time all do the opposition job and all vote the migration down. The tresury never bugeted to run 2 systems that long and will be forced to pull the plug. UC is only 14% rolled out. The poll tax was killed off after a 100% rollout for those like me who remember doing it, before social media Too! so weve been here before folks, time for ordenary people to do it again.cos for years all MPs from all parties were sheep asleep on the job when UC went through parliament. i wont vote for my labour MP who strongly and activly supported UC.I will vote for whoever will scrap it.nothing less.iv spent 4 years campaigning against UC,no interest from labour back then, so im a dissapointed old socialist now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. To be fair to the MPs who abstained on the welfare reform bill (who were wrong) two points need to be made.
        1. Opposing the bill would not have defeated it. The Conservatives would not have had a large majority but they would have won.
        2 . The details of UC had not been announced, and the benefit was at that time UC mark one – in which the benefit was more generous and everyone had work allowances.
        It had not, at that point, been announced that only the first two children in a family would get benefits – third and subsequent children could beg or starve, that people would wait 6 weeks or much more to receive payments, that every claim had to be made and managed online, by the claimant, without exceptions, even if for the illiterate, homeless and terminally ill.
        I like to think that if thsee details had been announced more Labour MPs would have opposed.
        Which brings us to pause and fix versus scrap.
        Labour rightly wants to retain both options at this stage. UC does address the “benefit traps” which did exist in the old system, many people are comfortable using the “online journal” and much of what is wrong with it could be better addressed by changing the UC rules than by returning to the legacy benefits.
        Whether Labour scraps or retains UC the point is to keep the baby and throw out the bathwater. The “baby” is a simpler to administer system which can handle changes to people’s income or circumstances easily, and without leaving them penniless for lengthy periods. The bathwater is heartless rules and a “computer says no” response to people being left without money, and benefit cuts.


      2. At the same time, some of us are meeting regularly with Labour ministers and many in that roundtable group are pressuring labour to scrap Universal Credit. But if that happened, the replacement system would need a lot of work, potentially disrupting people’s income yet again. That needs careful planning in advance if it is the option the party decides on. But if not, the party should ensure that people have enough to live on within the existing system and are not worse off than they were on legacy benefits.

        The party are currently conducting a major review of the welfare system, and our previous work has been about the WCA and sanctions. So far, however, there has been little indication as to what will replace the WCA when it is scrapped – Labour have committed to that. Debbie Abrahams had, off the record, favoured GPs and/or people’s consultants doing the work.

        The sanctions regime seems to be set to revert to the Tory pre-reform system. So not completely scrapped, as there were sanctions imposed before 2010. Just not as frequently, and some groups were exempt from sanctioning. John McDonnell is currently chairing the roundtable meetings, and Marsha de Cordova, Margaret Greenwood, among other ministers are participating.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Last time they did it because of #SocialistSunday I got out of my pram sharing people then after two weeks of crazy hoops they eventually let me in and apologised saying I’d been caught in a spam algorithm – They’re saying it’s ‘Unusual behaviour’ but you know they never actually tell you why – I hammered support but you just get the usual guff – I’m still waiting for the activation code ‘drums fingers’

        Liked by 1 person

    1. no its good SDP protects them from moving to UC after the court ruling its descrimination to totaly remove SDP after a UC claim but the real problem is £80 compensation a month is still over £100 a month short so the transitional protection in full claim by DWP is demonstrably a lie and will need another court outing. some working disabled people are loosing £400 a month so £80 is cynical clearcut descrimination that all MPs should vote against when the migration regs appear,… but thay wont.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Debi, I have a client who’s moved to a UC area, has SDP, and can’t claim housing benefit without moving to the dreaded UC. Some councils are accepting HB claims from people with SDP in UC areas, but some definitely aren’t, even armed with the commons statement, MP support, the draft regs… For people on the legacy ESA the most common trigger is a move into a new area that’s full UC. a
        Remember that UC with LCWRA is £21 a week more (x12/52) than under ESA income related Support Group.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kitty
    I can’t tell you how grateful people are for your voice – I’m just pushing out this for you and this on Unum/DWP I’m sure you have blogged on this it needs to be aired again

    It’s also important to show that we don’t have to take this lying down I know you know Keith I’m pushing this out too to show we can do something

    Liked by 1 person

    1. read the insurance industry report to DWP ”welfare for those unable to work” from the building resiliant households Aii group which includes unum scottish widows and craven traitor ‘charities’ if you want to be terrified this industry manifesto recomends privitising national insurance,replacing contribution benefits with auto enroled income insurance (nudge unit input, that), building resiliant households (BRHG) have practicaly moved it to downing street. its advanced work thats kept a very inexplicably low profile….

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I cannot believe that this govt haven’t been taken to the UN or EuropeanCourt of Human Rights TheresaMay has employed Nazi ideology particularly in treatment of mental health is mind compulsion.


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