Committee launches inquiry into progress towards implementation of Universal Credit

Work and Pensions Committee: Select Committee Press Notice: 17 July 2102

For immediate release: NEW INQUIRY

Committee launches inquiry into progress towards implementation of Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age which will be introduced over a four year period from 2013 to 2017. It will replace existing means-tested benefits and tax credits (including income-based Jobseekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; Child Tax Credits; Working Tax Credits; and Housing Benefit). It is the Government’s key reform to simplify the benefits systems and to promote work and personal responsibility.

The Government’s  aims for Universal Credit are to:

  • Improve work incentives
  • Smooth the transitions into and out of work
  • Simplify the benefits system
  • Reduce in-work poverty
  • Reduce fraud and error.

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 which provides the underpinning legislation for Universal Credit received Royal Assent in March 2012. The implementation of the Act will require the passage of several sets of detailed Regulations, many of which were published in draft in June (and are being scrutinised by the Social Security Advisory Committee).

The Work and Pensions Committee is launching an inquiry to review the progress being made towards implementation of Universal Credit and to examine the implementation process, the proposed entitlement conditions and the future operation of the benefit.

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals on any aspect of implementation of Universal Credit.

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 17 August 2012.

The Committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence on the following specific areas:

  • The proposed arrangements for claims and payments and the provision of support and advice for claimants, including the presumption of a predominantly online, self-service claims process; monthly payment to one person in the household; and arrangements for providing telephone and face-to-face support and independent advice for claimants who need it.
  • Progress with developing the necessary IT systems to administer Universal Credit, including the real-time information (RTI) system for PAYE taxation being developed by HM Revenue & Customs.
  • The proposed arrangements for the “claimant commitment”, sanctions and hardship payments.
  • Changes in the income entitlement of disabled people under Universal Credit, including those who may receive less income under Universal Credit than at present.
  • The impact of the changes on local authorities, including budgets, staff and support for claimants. The changes include those to Housing Benefit; the introduction of the benefit cap; and localisation of council tax support.
  • The level of the earnings disregards.
  • Eligibility for and operation of passported benefits.
  • Impact monitoring: what the DWP’s priorities should be for monitoring the impact of the transition to Universal Credit.

How to submit your evidence

  • Contributors should feel no obligation to comment on all the issues raised above, but should focus on those areas in which they have particular expertise or interest.
  • Submissions should be in Word or rich text format, not PDF format, and sent by email to  The body of the email must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The email should also make clear who the submission is from. Hard copy submissions should be sent to: The Work and Pensions Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.
  • Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained piece of written evidence. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include a summary. For further guidance on the submission of evidence see
  • Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Material already published elsewhere may be referred to within a proposed piece of written evidence, in which case a link to the published work should be included.
  • Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee. It is the Committee’s decision whether or not to accept a submission as formal written evidence.
  • Please bear in mind that the Committee cannot investigate individual cases.
  • The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet (where it will be accessible by search engines) or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


Further information

Committee membership:

Dame Anne Begg MP (Chair) (Lab, Aberdeen South), Mrs Debbie Abrahams MP (Oldham East and Saddleworth), Harriett Baldwin MP (Con, West Worcestershire), Andrew Bingham MP (Con, High Peak), Karen Bradley MP (Con, Staffordshire Moorlands), Sheila Gilmore (Lab, Edinburgh East),  Mr Oliver Heald MP (Con, North East Hertfordshire), Glenda Jackson MP (Lab, Hampstead and Highgate), Brandon Lewis MP, (Con, Great Yarmouth), Stephen Lloyd MP (Lib Dem, Eastbourne), Teresa Pearce MP (Lab, Erith and Thamesmead)

Specific Committee Information: 020 7219 2839
Media Information: 020 7219 2003
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