Labour to replace Department for Work and Pensions as part of moves to scrap Universal Credit

Written by Kevin Schofield on 30 September 2019 in News

Corbyn announces policy in constituency of former DWP secretary Iain Duncan Smith

Photo: PA

A Labour government would scrap Universal Credit and replace the Department for Work and Pensions with a new department for social security, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.

The Labour leader announced his proposed changes this weekend, saying that Universal Credit – which has been hit by a succession of delays and cost over-runs throughout its near decade-long development – as an "unmitigated disaster".

The Labour reforms would include scrapping the benefit cap that limits how much people can receive every year, and ending the two-child limit for child benefit claimants, as well introducing immediate payments for instead of the current five-week wait under the Universal Credit reforms.


In a speech in the constituency of former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who led the development of UC, Corbyn said the reform had been an “unmitigated disaster”.

“As well as being behind schedule and over budget it is inhumane and cruel, driving people into poverty and hardship,” he said.

"Social security is supposed to give people dignity and respect, not punish and police them, make them wait five weeks for the first payment or fill out a four-page form to prove their child was born as a result of rape.”

It is understood Corbyn had originally planned to announce the new policy in his Labour conference speech but changed his plans after parliament was recalled in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on prorogation.

He added that the plans to replace the DWP with a department for social security would “provide real security”. The predecessor department to the DWP was called the Department of Social Security from 1988 to 2001.

"When a Labour government takes office we will introduce an emergency package of reforms to end the worst aspects of Universal Credit.

"And we will introduce a new system that will be based on the principles of dignity and respect and it will alleviate and end poverty, not drive people into it."

Labour had previously pledged to end the national rollout of Universal Credit if it wins the next election.

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Kevin Schofield
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Kevin Schofield is editor of CSW's sister site PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

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