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Universal Credit (Passported Benefits)

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2012

In May 2011, the Department for Work and Pensions commissioned the Social Security Advisory Committee to undertake an independent review of passported benefits and their interaction with universal credit.

The Committee has completed the review. Later today I will publish its final report which includes the Government’s response. I will place a copy in the House Library.

The Committee’s report does not make specific recommendations on the future design of passported benefits but suggests a number of high level principles that may help guide the direction of travel in future. These principles are focused on simplification and making work pay.

We recognise that the immediate priority is to determine how passported benefits will operate when universal credit is introduced in 2013. The Government’s response to the Committee’s report therefore sets out how various organisations are considering new eligibility criteria for individual passported benefits.

In the longer term, our aim is to explore a generic approach for the current suite of passported benefits. This approach could enable people to claim universal credit, but with added components for a range of other benefits and public services. The total award, including the additional components would then be withdrawn gradually as income rises. We will consider this alongside other priorities for the next spending review.