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DWP announces phased transition to universal credit

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Twelve million working-age benefit and tax credit claimants will be moved to universal credit in three phases over four years, Iain Duncan Smith announced.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions told MPs that between October 2013 and April 2014, 500,000 new claimants will receive universal credit in place of jobseekers allowance, employment support allowance, housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credit.

‘At the same time a further 500,000 existing claimants (and their partners and dependants) will also move on to universal credit as and when their circumstances change significantly,’ he said.

‘From April 2014 the second phase will give priority to households who will benefit most from the transition, such as those working tax credit claimants who currently work a small number of hours a week but could work more hours with the support that universal credit brings. Overall 3.5m existing claimants (and their partners and dependents) will be transferred on to universal credit during this second phase.

‘The last and final phase, which begins at the end of 2015 and runs through to the end of 2017, will see around 3m households being transferred to universal credit by local authority boundary. This phase will have the flexibility to respond to the circumstances of particular local authorities as they change and will focus on safeguarding financial support, such as housing benefit payments, to claimants as the old benefit system winds down.’