On 20 July 2016 the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions made a Ministerial Statement on the future of Universal Credit.
The government is delaying some aspects of the rollout.
First, the pace of the rollout of the digital service – the software that enables everyone to go onto Universal Credit not just single people – has been slowed.
The digital service will now be rolled out at a rate of 5 jobcentres a month until June 2017. It will then rollout at 30 jobcentres a month from July 2017, rising to 55 jobcentres a month from October to December 2017, rising to 65 jobcentres a month from February 2018 and to the last 57 jobcentres in September 2018.
Second, the managed migration of the existing caseload will now not start until July 2019.
The government has decided that the managed migration of existing housing benefit claims will not start until July 2019 and will finish in March 2022. This means that local authorities will continue to administer the existing housing benefit caseload for working age applicants until at least July 2019.
An earlier Ministerial statement stated:
8. Phase three will consist of managed migrations where existing claimants whose circumstances have not changed will be transferred, starting in autumn 2014 to end 2017. The Department is working on the approach as to how this phase will be ordered; with the expectation to start with households with people that are in part time work or that are economically inactive.
It is remarkable that the managed migration will now not start until July 2019 – at least two years after it was originally planned to finish – at the end of 2017.
Third, the incorporation of housing benefit for pensioners into pension credit will not take place until after the completion of the Universal Credit rollout, i.e. after March 2022.
This means that local authorities will continue to administer the existing housing benefit caseload for pensioner applicants until at least March 2022.