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ARCH and the NFA meet DWP Minister 09/11/2018 Labelled as Development, Regulation, Tenants

ARCH Chair Councillor, Kim Caddy led a delegation from ARCH and the National Federation of AlMOs (NFA) to meet Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister with responsibility for family support, housing and child maintenance at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to discuss the findings of the latest ARCH/NFA  welfare reform survey.

The meeting took place at DWP headquarters in London on 31 October, shortly after the Government made a number of significant announcements in the Budget 2018 on changes to Universal Credit including:


  • A fixed cash increase of £1,000 to Universal Credit work allowances (the amount that can be earned before the Universal Credit taper rate applies) effective from April 2019.
  • Extra help in the amount of £1bn over the current and next 5 years for households moving onto Universal Credit 
  • A revised implementation schedule for "managed migration" of existing claimants to Universal Credit which will start in January 2020 and will end in June 2024.


The Secretary of State, Esther McVey subsequently made a further statement to Parliament on the 5 November on the changes announced to Universal Credit in the Budget.

The Minister recognised the valuable work undertaken by ARCH and the NFA and credited us with providing the evidence for some of those changes already agreed and said that his aim was to provide all vulnerable tenants with the support needed to get them onto Universal Credit without major problems.


In a useful discussion we raised issues relating to the switch from live to full service, where improvements in the system are being lost and the impact of a sudden increase in numbers in some areas when migrating to the full service and the need for more resource from DWP to administer claims as the time taken to agree 1st payments was creeping up again after an improvement previously. 


We also raised the issue of zero hours contracts and seasonal work and the difficulties in not really fitting in with the Universal Credit model overall, with a request that DWP looks further to see what could be done to ease those issues. 


We agreed we would keep in touch and continue to work together on both roll out and migration.


Further work will be undertaken with the NFA on the format of the next annual survey of ARCH/NFA members in light of the discussions with the Minister.


In the meantime, ARCH has been invited to become a member of the DWP "Social Rented Sector Universal Credit Strategic Landlord Group". We will provide periodic updates on discussions in the Group and will be happy to take up any issues raised by our member councils regarding implementation and administration of Universal Credit.


ARCH/NFA and Minister


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