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
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
- 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
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
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