Just a fraction of the people the government wants to move to Universal Credit have been moved across to the new payment system, according to new statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions.
Just a fraction of the people the government wants to move to Universal Credit have been put on the new payment system, according to new statistics from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
13,260 people have been moved onto universal credit since it began in April 2013. Of these, 11,070 were still claiming by the end of August 2014.
This means that work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is 986,740 short of his original target of one million people to be moved to universal credit by April 2014. IDS is also far short of his revised target of 184,000.
The latest statistics show a large disparity in the number of claimants across the country. Oldham, which was one of the original pathfinder sites, had a caseload of 2,240 claimants at the end of August. Meanwhile Birmingham and Rochdale had 10 (see chart). The low number for Rochdale is probably explained by the fact that the system only went live there recently.
The male to female ratio of claimants is roughly 7:3, while the majority of new claims were from unemployed people aged under 25.
A report from the Work and Pensions committee of MPs warned in April of this year that it was still not clear whether the universal credit roll-out would actually work.
“Whilst it is right to ensure that the system works properly before extending it, there is a difference between cautious progress and a snail’s pace,” said committee chair Anne Begg MP.
“Given the excruciatingly slow pace of roll-out to date, it is hard to see how the most recent implementation timetable can be met,” she added.
Given today’s figures from the DWP, the roll-out of universal credit doesn’t appear to have significantly picked up the pace.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.