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Universal Credit

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 22 March 2018

The implementation of universal credit continues to make good progress. The full service is now operating in 250 jobcentres and we expect to complete national coverage and be in all jobcentres as planned by December 2018. Within this timetable, I am announcing today some modifications to reflect local considerations and discussions.

We continue to make progress in delivering a Welsh language capability within the full service. While it has always been possible to speak to DWP in Welsh, either in jobcentres or on the telephone, and to have dialogue in Welsh on online journals, we want to be able to offer full Welsh functionality as soon as we can for those areas of Wales with the highest density of Welsh speakers. In order to increase the chances that functionality will be in place in time with local roll-out, we are moving the 13 jobcentres with the highest density of Welsh speakers to December 2018.

In addition, Barrow Council has asked if its roll-out date could be changed to December to reflect the fact that it is bringing its housing benefit administration back in-house and it would like to sequence that change before universal credit rolls out. This is sensible planning and we have agreed to meet that request.

Finally, in order to balance resources more effectively within DWP we are making several other modifications to the roll-out timetable, as set out in the table available as an online attachment. We will modify the master schedule on to reflect these changes. District managers are contacting local stakeholders about these changes and writing to their local MPs with details.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament. uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-03-22/HCWS577/.