Universal Credit is a vital reform. It overhauls a legacy system which trapped people out of work. The next stage, managed migration will move claimants of legacy benefits on to Universal Credit without a change of circumstances. As we have previously committed, the Department will pilot this approach, following the passing of an affirmative Statutory Instrument, from July 2019; starting with small numbers with no more than 10,000 claimants. This is expected to take around 12 months. We will report on our findings to Parliament and bring forward legislation for the wider roll out of managed migration. We will, as planned, complete full roll out of Universal Credit by the end of 2023.
I am updating Parliament to announce that we have selected Harrogate in North Yorkshire to be our initial site for the managed migration pilot.
Harrogate has a mix of benefit claimants with a varying range of needs, in both rural and urban areas. Harrogate has also had Universal Credit since 2016 which is earlier than many other places. In that respect it does very much reflect the situation we will face across the country as we begin the broader process of moving people from the old system to the new Universal Credit system. This means the lessons we learn here will be directly applicable to places that start moving claimants from the old system to the new system in 2020 and beyond who will have started with UC in 2017 and 2018.
We will take a careful approach to delivering managed migration. Claimants will be informed of their move in advance, receive full information and support from the department to move, including through home visits where appropriate.
We do not intend to stop anyone’s benefit during the pilot. In the pilot phase, our intention is to learn how to effectively assist people onto Universal Credit and to develop processes to deliver that help. This is particularly important for vulnerable and hard-to-reach claimants, who the department will help to move across to the new system.
Managed migration will open up the world of work for thousands and deliver financial support for those whose circumstances have not changed. The process will eventually provide over £3 billion total transitional protection for 1.1 million families. Transitional protection will be available and we will help people who need it access discretionary payments which could be used, for example, to pay the equivalent of the two-week run on. Eligible claimants who received the Severe Disability Premium under the legacy system will receive transitional payments as a result of the regulations bringing them into effect.
The department is working with stakeholders to develop our approach to managed migration, with support for the most vulnerable in at the forefront of our minds. We will continue to do this as we deliver.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords