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Pushing back Universal Credit is right if it means getting it right first time

5 December 2013

Responding to Iain Duncan Smith’s announcement that he will not meet the 2017 deadline to transfer people onto Universal Credit, Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, said:

“Pushing back the deadline for Universal Credit is the right thing to do if it means getting it right. This project has solid aims but causes serious upheaval for many people making the shift to the new benefit.

“Research shows that 9 in 10 Citizens Advice clients aren’t ready for Universal Credit.  Support must be in place to help these clients.


"In the latest roll-out areas, half of our clients say they will struggle with online forms and 1 in 5 doesn't have access to basic banking.


"Poor design means ministers' flagship policies of making work pay and support for childcare will work against each other to leave some low-income families worse off. Ministers must work out how lower childcare support for many low income families under Universal Credit doesn't undo the positive gains from raising the income tax threshold. Giving all families on Universal Credit 85% support towards childcare costs would help ease the confusion ministers have created."

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Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.