The Resolution Foundation has called on the government to make far-reaching changes to Universal Credit (UC) to address its current flaws.
The report states that the new Parliament provides a "perfect opportunity to reflect" on the design of the flagship project. "Failure to revisit and revise policies now... would represent a missed window of opportunity that may not present itself again once the system becomes fully bedded in," it says. The report recommends:
- adding a new "work allowance" to allow second earners to keep more of their benefits, increasing disposable income in this case to £7,000 a year;
- bigger "work allowances" for single parents who rent their homes;
- paying 95% of the childcare costs of working parents with children under three; and
- that greater efforts be made to ensure the system ismore user-friendly and less bureaucratic.
Responding to the report, Stephen, who is currently Labour’s Acting Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “Labour backs Universal Credit because we want to ensure work always pays within in a simpler and more efficient benefit system. But the Resolution Foundation’s report makes clear the government is in real danger of missing those aims.
“Four years after its launch, the government still hasn’t worked out how basic features of Universal Credit will work, from which families will get free school meals to who will receive cold weather payments.
“It's time for the government to resolve the many unanswered questions within Universal Credit. Ministers should start by asking the National Audit Office to publish a quarterly report on Universal Credit to lift the veil of secrecy over value for money and management of this £12.8 billion programme.”