The UK’s welfare system is currently undergoing fundamental reform in the transition to Universal Credit alongside other major and largely untested policies including the benefit cap, benefit sanctions and the two child limit. The Minister will be questioned on her vision for the direction of the welfare state, and on the impact and effectiveness of these policies and their interaction with each other. The UN Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty’s recent investigation of poverty in the UK concluded that “the overall social safety net is being systematically dismantled” and called on the Government to “prioritise the reversal of particularly regressive measures, including the benefit freeze, the two-child limit, the benefit cap”.

The Committee is today publishing correspondence with the Office for Budget Responsibility ( PDF 178 KB) and DWP ( PDF 132 KB)on “extremely serious and deserving of urgent attention” concerns about the paucity of data on the impact and effectiveness of Universal Credit.

Chair’s comments  

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“What does not get measured does not get fixed. Time and time again we, the OBR, and many others have raised the alarm about the gaping holes in what the DWP knows about the impact of Universal Credit. DWP cannot, and must not, proceed with the next phases of Universal Credit until it can prove that it knows where the problems are and has measures in place to fix them. That is impossible as long as it continues to stumble forward in the dark.”

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