Bishop welcomes U-turn on Universal Credit

THE BISHOP of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, has welcomed Amber Rudd’s announcement that the government will not extend the two-child limit on Universal Credit for children born before April 2017.

New changes also include pressing ahead with a pilot to support 10,000 people from ‘legacy benefits’ on to Universal Credit in a test and learn approach.

Bishop Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said: “As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.

“So I very much welcome the announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017.

“I also welcome the Government’s more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.”

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced that a pilot of the scheme will take place before a vote on the full migration of existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit.

From July 2019, up to 10,000 people in the pilot will be carefully supported onto the new benefit. When that is complete the Department for Work and Pensions will return to Parliament to seek permission for future migration.

However this will have no impact on the roll-out of Universal Credit, which will be fully rolled out by the end of 2023, as previously set out.

However Labour MP Frank Field said that not enough has been done.

“The appalling incompetence in the design and delivery of Universal Credit has been laid bare, but still common sense seems to be in desperately short supply.

“It feels like we have all had to fight tooth and nail for every obvious change needed to begin to better the lot of the thousands of families on low incomes grossly let down by these failings,” he added.

Ms Rudd announced that the government will not extend the two-child limit on Universal Credit for children born before April 2017 – which was due to come into place from February 2019. This change means that all children born before that date will continue to be supported by Universal Credit. This move will benefit around 15,000 families.

Bishop Butler said: “I look forward to working with Ministers to continue reviewing these policies as part of a broader, coherent strategy to reduce child poverty, helping parents to give their children the best possible start in life.”

 

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