Trussell Trust: govt failing to ‘manage’ migration to Universal Credit in any sense

Esther McVey

On Monday, DWP Secretary Esther McVey created outrage with a ‘full Trump‘ series of claims about the supposed endorsement by charities of the government’s changes to the Universal Credit system that has blighted the lives of millions and is set to create even further hardship as its roll-out continues.

All the charities involved either put out social media posts distancing themselves from her claim or had already made highly-critical statements about the plans.


But foodbank charity The Trussell Trust went a step further, publishing a whole article specifically to respond to McVey’s claims.

On Monday afternoon the Government published an update to its plans for the next stage of Universal Credit, ‘managed migration’.

While the article welcomes the small improvements made to the system, the charity insists that:

  • the government was evading its responsibilities by expecting claimants to shoulder the burden of the transfer process from existing benefits
  • Universal Credit was forcing ever-increasing numbers of people to rely on Foodbanks
  • that charities cannot continue to fill the huge gaps left by government policies and
  • that the government’s abdication of its responsibilities is so complete that it cannot not claim that migration to Universal Credit is managed in any sense:

The government is still pushing the responsibility of this next stage onto claimants. People will need to make a new claim and therefore still risk losing their income. Without attempting to automate any part of the transfer process, the Government cannot claim this next stage of migration to the new system is ‘managed’ at all.

The charity also points out the failure of the government to provide information or transparency on the state of its plans – and that the DWP’s failures now are only likely to get worse as demand increases:

There’s also no information about whether the right support will be in place – this will be vital to ensure people aren’t left without money…

And finally, we must not forget that before the next stage of Universal Credit begins, thousands of people will be making new Universal Credit claims.

Most pressingly, the Trust observes that the long timescale of the planned improvements means that hard-pressed claimants will face a bleak winter with no improvement or help at all:

None of the changes announced in the last two weeks will be in place for people this winter – most won’t be seen for at least 18 months. Monday’s announcement won’t help people like Ruth, who spoke to the BBC this week about being forced to turn to a foodbank during the wait for a first Universal Credit payment. She needed our benefits system to anchor her from being swept into poverty after she was made redundant, but the gap in income left her struggling to cover the costs of essentials for her young family and she had to use a foodbank.

As a priority, we’re worried about  the problems people at foodbanks are experiencing with moving onto Universal Credit. If the wait isn’t reduced for all people making new claims, the only way to stop even more people like Ruth being forced to foodbanks this winter will be to pause all new claims to Universal Credit, until the necessary funding is in place. Reducing the five-week wait won’t fix everything, but it would make a real difference in protecting people from crisis.

Foodbanks cannot continue to pick up the pieces. We have to make sure our benefits system can protect people from hunger. Recent announcements are welcome, but only a start. Much more must still be done to ensure Universal Credit is preventing people from needing a foodbank, not pushing them to one.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Esther McVey’s evil-Mitty Commons performance on Monday had already been exposed by this blog for its Trumpian levels of denial and dishonesty – but the Trussell Trust’s considered response highlights the reckless damage the Tories are doing, not only by their insistence on rolling out Universal Credit but also by their cowardly failure to acknowledge the harm they are doing, let alone accept responsibility for ending it.


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  1. I’m currently watching this it’s an absolute outrage I’ve just heard the health minister say that Work keeps you well if you’d seen the government’s NHS/DWP 5yr Mental health plan which among things like IAPT counsellors in GP surgeries that for several years they’ve had jobcentres in mental health units to get the Severely mentally ill into work while they’re in treatment. IAPT is a chocolate teapot 8 weeks of work focused (It’s your attitude that’s keeping you out of work) counselling which has been widely discredited and many wait many months for an appointment I’ve seen people wait a year or more for an appointment many of those people are in crisis and only agree to this ‘Therapy’ because they’re unable to get an appointment with the contractor – My local IAPT has only 3 practitioners and a 9 month waiting list.

    They are proposing many more big brother type control of those who are sick and disabled. MIND have a contract with them as part of the plan I don’t know exactly what they will be doing. The fact that every single policy they’ve brought in and are bringing in is 100% aimed at work regardless of the fact there are no jobs other than zero hour contracts for the many. That they’re pushing AI and technology to take away even more jobs the contradictions are endless, that they want more disabled people to work then remove their electric wheelchairs and adapted vehicles of disabled people who are in work meaning many have to leave their jobs and return to benefits. https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2c86b5d7-ebf6-4492-b63d-8edf7b0a007f

    1. …and help them onto Skid Row or, even better, an early grave.

      The population needs thinning anyway and each death means money saved!

  2. The DWP is a monstrous department led by one of the most monstrous minister I have ever had the displeasure to see. We wish the Tory party were just the “Nasty party”, because what they have allowed themselves to become is far, far worst than that. Even John Major says that “their polices look cruel and vindictive”…

    1. John McDonnell’s remark along the lines of “stringing her up from a lamp-post is too good for her” was remarkably restrained!

  3. Thats absolutely correct. No management at all. What is ‘managed’ about being told to make a fresh claim because your existing benefits are being stopped? I said this ages ago. ‘Managed’ implies that the DWP are controlling the process. They are not.
    Mark my words, this is just an excuse to find yet more sick people ‘fit for work’.

    Expect homelessness to go through the roof and people to die on a scale not seen since the Nazis.

  4. When in 1979 the newly Tory benefits system began the fraudulent drive to blame the unemployed for unemployment I was appalled at the eagerness with which some sections of society accepted that abhorrent notion.

    Now her Tory heirs try to out-Thatcher Thatcher, bullying the disabled as if they were scroungers in a sick and despicable attempt to justify taking away the benefits and vehicles upon which so many depend for the most basic quality of life.

    The Conservative party, as any other leadership structure, forfeits its right to exist when it tries to blame its stakeholders for its own failures.
    We are the customers of government and its investors.
    We should demand – and TAKE – the right to hold its ‘directors’ to account financially and by loss of liberty when they cheat us out of our prosperity, our health and our lives, all the while claiming it’s our own fault we’re poor, sick or dead.
    Entities unfit for purpose are supposed to fail.
    That’s always been claimed as capitalism’s great strength.

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