London Councils supports the principles of simplifying the welfare system and making work pay. However, London’s higher costs of housing, childcare and transport have the potential to dampen the incentive to work that UC is intended to bring.
Research carried out by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion on behalf of London Councils found that when Universal Credit is introduced, all household types in London will have lower gains from working compared to those elsewhere in the country who move into paid work.
The research also found that Londoners with two or more children are considerably worse off under Universal Credit compared to the rest of the country.
Universal Credit is delivered through Jobcentre Plus. The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) sees local authorities playing a key role in supporting those claimants who need assistance.
Roll out of live service began in London in March 2015 and will progressively extend to all boroughs by March 2016. Live service is currently limited to new, single claimants who would otherwise receive Jobseekers Allowance.
London Councils' work
London Councils is working with boroughs, DWP and Jobcentre Plus to ensure that Universal Support - Delivered Locally (USDL) – the framework that will underpin the support that boroughs will deliver for Universal Credit – is properly funded and covers those services that boroughs know claimants will need.
London Councils believes that Universal Credit offers an opportunity to radically alter the way in which welfare to work schemes have previously operated, particularly for those facing multiple barriers to employment. Devolving responsibility for commissioning employment support alongside a properly funded USDL function will allow local welfare-to-work programmes to develop that maximise local knowledge and partnerships.