Friday, January 31, 2020

Universal Credit: Inquiry into economics of benefit launches - how to share your views

The Economic Affairs committee has launched its inquiry into the economics of Universal Credit, it has been announced this week. The investigative committee in the House of Lords, which is charged with considering economic affairs, is inviting written contributions to its investigations.

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The deadline for submissions is next month, on February 29, 2020.

Lord Forsyth, Chairman of the Committee, said: “Our Committee will consider if the original objectives of Universal Credit are still fit for purpose and able to provide adequate and fair social security.

“We will then make our recommendations to Government in due course.

“To inform our work we want to hear from as broad a range of people as possible.

“If you have a view on Universal Credit, look at our call for evidence and let us know what you think.”

The Committee will examine whether Universal Credit is meeting its original objectives, and whether the policy summations reflected in its design “are appropriate for different groups of claimants”.

The inquiry will also examine the extent to which the six-in-one benefits system meets the needs of claimants in the current labour market, and the “changing world of work”.

The Committee have said they are looking to form as “diverse a range of views as possible”.

They add that hearing from a range of different perspectives means that select committees are better informed and can “more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation”.

They are encouraging anyone with expertise or experience on the issue to share their views with the Committee.

The announcement, published on the Parliament website, adds that contributors should have the “full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome”.

The Parliament website states that people can email their submission via the email address economicaffairs@parliament.uk, and that they should include their name and contact details.

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The Committee says it is seeking answers to the following questions:

  • How well has Universal Credit met its original objectives?
  • Were the original objectives and assumptions the right ones? How should they change?
  • What have been the positive and negative economic effects of Universal Credit?
  • What effect has fiscal retrenchment had on the ability of Universal Credit to successfully deliver its objectives?
  • Which claimants have benefited most from the Universal Credit reforms and which have lost out?
  • How has the world of work changed since the introduction of Universal Credit? Does Universal Credit’s design adequately reflect the reality of low-paid work?
  • If Universal Credit does not adequately reflect the lived experiences of low-paid workers, how should it be reformed?

What is Universal Credit replacing?

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

A pilot scheme is currently taking place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, for the movement of legacy benefits recipients who have not had a change in circumstances onto Universal Credit.

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