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19th June 2018

Statement from Jo Miller, Solace President, on NAO’s report “Rolling out Universal Credit”

This is a statement from Jo Miller, Solace President, in response to the publication of the National Audit Office’s report, Rolling out Universal Credit:

“Today’s National Audit Office report on the roll-out of Universal Credit is grim reading that regrettably does not come as a surprise to Solace members. From the start, councils have supported the objective of simplifying the benefits system and the principle of “making work pay”. But we have also repeatedly warned that the exercise would be so complex that it could have devastating impacts on vulnerable people if it did not draw on the insights of those affected and councils who understand the impacts of national policies on the ground. It gives us no satisfaction that our warnings have come to pass. We know that behind the data about late payments and difficulties in filing claims are stories of real human misery: people worried about keeping a roof over their heads, feeding their children and just having the basic necessities of life that we surely all have a right to expect. We are grateful to the NAO for delivering their characteristically rigorous analysis while there is still time for us to make a difference. It is not too late to act on their recommendation to work more closely with local partners to understand what is actually happening on the ground and address the issues. We at Solace certainly stand ready to assist.”