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Rudd Rushes Regulations

Secretary of State Amber Rudd announced to the House of Commons on 22 July that the regulations needed for the start of the managed migration pilot will come into force just two days later, on 24 July. The Work and Pensions Select Committee has published its report on natural migration, stating that Universal Credit should come with a “health warning”.

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Secretary of State, Amber Rudd, announced to the House of Commons on 22 July that the regulations needed for the start of the managed migration pilot will come into force just two days later, on 24 July. The statement came just hours before the publication of a report on natural migration by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, which concluded that Universal Credit should come with a “health warning”.

The regulations cover three main areas:

·They enable the start of managed migration pilot, planned to take place initially in Harrogate;

·Claimants who were in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium and were moved over to Universal Credit prior to the creation of a gateway in January 2019 will receive support to compensate for their financial loss

·Claimants still receiving Severe Disability Premium, who are currently protected from moving over to Universal Credit by the gateway will be able to move to Universal Credit from January 2021 with transitional protection.

Normally, there is a period of at least 21 days between the laying of regulations before the House and coming into force, but the implementation has been foreshortened to allow the pilot to commence and to allow those who had been entitled to Severe Disability Premium but were moved over to Universal Credit, prior to the gateway being put in place in January 2019. It is estimated that there are some 10,000 or more such claimants across the UK.

A few hours after the statement, the Work and Pensions Select Committee published its report on natural migration, which is highly critical of the way many claimants have suffered financial loss as a consequence of moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit. Chair of the Committee, Frank Filed MP, said:

“In the history of humankind, has there ever been an example of a Government introducing a fundamental welfare reform and none of its employees being able to tell if it will leave people better or worse off?” 

The report makes a series of recommendations and urges the Department of Work and Pensions to produce clear and comprehensive guidance on the circumstances which will lead an existing benefit claimant to be forced to reapply for their entire benefit entitlement, in the form of Universal Credit.