Minister refuses request to share new rules on Universal Credit managed migration

By agency reporter
November 5, 2018

The Work and Pensions Select Committe has published correspondence with Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Employment, 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.   

In a hearing on 18 October 2018, 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 Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), have been addressed. In the response now published, the Minister refuses that request. 

The Chair of the Work and Pensions Committe, Frank Field, has urgently written again to the Minister 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?”

Commenting on the situation, Frank Field said: “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.”

* Read the letter from Alok Sharma MP to Frank Field MP regarding managed migration dated 1 November 2018 here

* Read the response from Frank Field MP to Alok Sharma MP regarding managed migration dated 2 November 2018 here

* Work and Pensions Committee https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/

[Ekk/6]

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