Yesterday there was much coverage in the media of Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd’s announcement that the next process in the roll-out of Universal Credit would be halted. What they all failed to mention is that Esther McVey had announced the same thing months ago. The media literally did the Tories a favour by giving the impression that they are listening.
My twitter timeline was full of people celebrating Amber Rudd’s apparent back tracking on the “managed migration” process of Universal Credit.
“Managed migration” is the process of moving claimants on existing legacy benefits such as Tax Credits, onto Universal Credit. This stage has been repeatedly delayed as The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are struggling with the workload they currently have.
All the big media outlets such as the BBC and the Guardian were hailing Rudd’s announcement as a dramatic backtrack or as proof that she had been listening to claimants concerns. Rudd had announced that she would only ask MP’s to approve a 10,000 claimant pilot scheme rather than the moving of all legacy benefit claimants.
Now is this a victory? No and here’s why.
The DWP may have tried to dress this up as a new policy but it’s not, Esther McVey had already delayed the next stage when she was Work and Pensions Secretary. She too said that the would have a “pilot scheme” of 10,000 claimants first so as the DWP could ensure that they got it right.
This was due to begin in mid 2019 with the remaining claimants all moved by 2023, some 5 years later than originally planned. This date brings me onto my next point.
The end date for having everyone on Universal Credit hasn’t changed, it is still 2023. If Rudd’s policy was new surely this end date would have too change?
Media Helping the Tories
Tory MPs were ultra keen on sharing yesterdays news. Many saying how it showed that they had been listening to claimants issues and wanted to improve the system.
But it is all just lies. MPs are required to approve the next stage and it is thought that a sufficient number of MPs would block the full scale process. All this is doing is exactly what Esther McVey had proposed in 2018. It just means that they’ll vote on the full process of managed migration at another date, which is exactly what was going to happen anyway.
My initial thought on this is that the Tories have done this in-case there’s a general election. It delays putting more people on Universal Credit which could cause more embarrassment. With the up-coming Brexit vote likely to lead to a no confidence vote anything could happen so this is nothing more than damage limitation.
Overall the media just did the Conservatives a huge favour by publishing old news. They Tories are already using it as justification they are listening and are likely to continue doing so.
What I ask of you is simple; Please share this article far and wide so that people can see that Universal Credit is still coming at the same pace it was before. There’s no reprieve and we must double down to have the system not only stopped, but scrapped entirely.
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