Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 18th September 2018.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department retains the capacity to revert to the legacy benefit systems.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Reverting to legacy benefits would not only create massive disruption for claimants, but would leave them trapped in a complex and confusing system of multiple and overlapping benefits. The legacy benefits system consists of 6 different benefits, each with separate rules and criteria, interacting in complicated ways, creating perverse incentives and confusion, and additional administrative costs.

Our staff have been trained in the more flexible and tailored Universal Credit system, which the projections in our published Universal Credit Full Business Case expect to put 200,000 more people into work in the UK. Our new system, will for the first time benefit people in work looking to progress, and enables us to provide extra personalised support and stronger work incentives to help people out of poverty and into work faster.

As the National Audit Office noted in their recent report, as the changes have become increasingly embedded across the department, it would be both complex and expensive to revert to legacy benefits at this stage.

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