Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

MP presents universal credit report to MPs

Labour MP Dame Anne Begg presented to MPs a report by the Work and Pensions Committee on the implementation of universal credit on 22 November 2012.

Dame Anne is the chair of the Commons select committee. These short 20-minute slots are designed to give the select committees a chance to air their reports.

The Universal Credit (UC) is the coalition's flagship welfare reform proposal intended to simplify the benefits system and make it less costly to administer.

The UC is intended to ensure that benefit payments are reduced at a consistent rate as income and earnings increase.

It will be a single, integrated benefit for people of working-age and will replace a variety of existing benefits including income support, jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and child tax credit.

Dame Anne told MPs that a single payment paid to claimants could pose problems because if a person makes a mistake in their claim it will affect their whole income.

"That's why there's a real challenge for the government to get this right because it could mean that for some individuals and some households they won't get their benefit at all," she said.

She said a key recommendation of the committee was about the speed at which individuals in this position are identified and helped by the government.

The committee has warned that the changes could leave the most vulnerable struggling to cope.

The government says the introduction of the new credit represents the biggest shakeup in the welfare system for 60 years, that will incentivise work.


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