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Ministers have been “frustratingly unclear” about Universal Credit

5 Medi 2013

Citizens Advice today warns that a lack of planning and clear direction from ministers about Universal Credit is causing anxiety and making the implementation of the Government’s flagship programme harder.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Even as Universal Credit is being rolled-out, we still do not know what support will be put in place to help people to move onto the new system.  

“The NAO is right to highlight a lack of planning by Government. Ministers have been frustratingly unclear about what support will be made available to ensure there is a strong safety net to help people make the transition to Universal Credit. Clearer direction from Government would ensure taxpayers get value for money and give people facing hard times the support they need.

“Even though only a tiny number of people have so far moved onto Universal Credit, many people across the country are already going to our bureaux because they don’t know what’s happening.  Constant uncertainty adds to the anxiety people are feeling about the new system. More than 23,000 people went to our website for advice on Universal Credit between April and July this year.

“A staggering nine out of ten Citizens Advice Bureaux clients told us they will need some support with budgeting or getting online as they move onto the new system.

“Government must allow people to choose whether they get monthly or fortnightly payments for the first twelve months to help them budget, and banks must make basic accounts available to ensure claimants can actually get their money.

“Implementing Universal Credit has the potential to make or break millions of families. The new benefit must be introduced slowly and correctly, not quickly and badly.”

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 You can also get advice online at
  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.