Writing for LabourList, Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Rachel Reeves has stated that a Labour Government would pause Universal Credit for three months to allow for a review of value for money, management and delivery of the policy, as well as calling for quarterly appraisals by the National Audit Office on the scheme’s progress. Reeves also outlined plans to reverse the Government’s decision of not giving payments to the main carer of children in a household, which the Party believes is disproportionately affecting women, and to simplify the system for the self-employed, which face increased bureaucratic demands under the current regime. Reeves stressed that these changes would be funded by the existing budget and added that Labour support the principle of Universal Credit but will not accept “waste and delays”.
Elsewhere, Universal Credit has been rolled out in 90 Jobcentres in the North West this week, although only for singles. After the introduction to the whole of the North West, the scheme will be progressively expanded to include couples and families, with DWP Secretary Iain Duncan Smith flatly denying rumours that the programme might be abandoned altogether.