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Government accused of ‘dismissing’ difficulties caused by universal credit-related payment problems.

Chair of the House of Commons Work and Pension Committee, Frank Field, has issued a stinging indictment on the Government’s failure to take problems caused by the introduction of Universal Credit seriously.

In a follow up to it’s report issued in 2018 the Committee refers to its disappointment to the ‘curt and dismissive response’ it received from its initial recommendations.

The report calls on the Government to ‘review its response and provide a response which matches the consideration the Committee employed in an attempt to help parents to move into work’,

It asks for the Government to either explain why the solutions recommended are not practicable or ‘take the opportunity to explain and to set out alternative means of addressing the problems’.

In particular, the report calls upon the Government to explain:

(a) How it intends to address the serious difficulties that both parents and childcare providers are experiencing with the current system;

(b) Details of the pilots it is running to trial a more flexible approach to the provision of receipts for childcare costs, including where these pilots are being run, what options for providing evidence of childcare costs are being trialled, when the pilots started, how long they will run for and how they will be monitored;

(c) Why it is so difficult to publish information about the use of the Flexible Support Fund, what analysis it has done of the additional administrative work that would be created, and if it will be published in full;

(d) its view on the recommendation that it should divert funding from the schemes aimed at wealthier parents (Tax Free Childcare and the 30 hours free childcare) towards Universal Credit childcare to help more people into work.

‘Witnesses—including parents, charities and support organisations’, the report states, ‘gave up their time to contribute to our inquiry. They deserve much better treatment than this.’

The full report can be found here